The purpose of the following paper is to make a profound account of evaluating varied aspects related to counselling skills. More precisely, the focus of the present essay is to understand and interpret the definition of counselling as well as identifying five relevant counselling skills, which should be possessed by every trained counsellor. The chief concern of identifying five relevant skills is to acquire a critical awareness regarding the thoughts of the trained counsellor who has applied them in time of counselling a student client. Finally, the essay would be concluded by elaborating five distinct limitations that the trained counsellor has faced in time of counselling the student client. The concern is here to understand whether the application of the relevant skills have been successful or not. The chief skill that a trained counsellor is required to know is the ability to understand the personal or physiological problems of the suffering individual and thereafter providing appropriate assistance accordingly to them (Almeida, 2016).
The predominant meaning of the term “counselling” is to give advice to a person’s social/professional and personal issues in a professional way. As per Bayne and Jangha (2016), fundamentally the word “counselling” refers to the act of providing support service to mentally troubled individuals. In other words, it can be also said that counselling a distinct procedure for assisting clients in order to resolve their personal, psychological as well as social issues with the help of a professional individual. According to D’Arcy Jr et al., (2016), counselling should be considered as a provision of guidance in a decision-making process that is particularly required in the emotional situation. According to the interpretation of the British Association for Counselling, the published definition of counselling says that counselling is a skilled use of relationship in order to facilitate self-knowledge, optimal advancement of the personal resources and emotional acceptance. Furthermore, the interpretation continues that the prime aim of counselling is to help the individuals to find the opportunities to live to live resourcefully as well as satisfyingly.
However, as argued by Fairclough (2016), the proper definition of counselling should be the interpretation specialized by the “dictionary of counselling”, which says that counselling is a distinct and principles relationship that is characterised by psychological theories, experiences and communication skills. Therefore, it is understandable that counselling is the way of advising or resolving a person’s metal issues generating from both personal and professional premises. Nevertheless, counselling is also elaborated as an application of human development principles by cognitive, systematic intervention, personal growth and pathology. Based on Goss. (2016), the main concern of the practice of counselling is to deal with the personal growth, pathological concerns and wellness of the troubled individuals.
As argued and defined by Kirwan (2016), counselling is the process that can be developmental as well as intervening. Most significantly, counselling includes both the changes and the choices. It has been identified that several times counselling is being defined as rehearsal for action. As discussed by Klonek et al., (2016), the definition of counselling should not be found similar with psychotherapy as per the fact that counselling is a particular process of helping a person in obtaining a clear concept regarding personal identity. In the context of defining the practice of counselling, it should be said that counselling is an art that relies on the skills and knowledge derived from science and psychological theories. However, it should be considered here that counselling does not comprise any entitative science.
However, it has been understood from the above discussion about numerous definitions of counselling that a trained counsellor needs to have some distinct skills and abilities, such as – genuineness, the ability to actively listen and interpretation, unconditional positive regards, concreteness, questioning and self-disclosing. It is to contribute in this context that each of the skills of a trained counsellor relies on the principles of helping relationships. Nevertheless, five most significant counselling skills, which every trained counselling expert should have, are – questioning and making interpretation, empathic responding, attending and active listening, self-disclosing and genuineness and unconditional positive regard. According to Lowe (2016), the ability of providing unconditional positive regard is one of the fundamental credibility of a trained counsellor. The ability to provide unconditional positive regard is considered as an expression of nurturance as well as caring. In terms of providing unconditional positive regard includes the capability of conveying warmth and acceptance through responding to the messages of the patient (McLeod, 2016). Most significantly, the way of conveying acceptance and warmth are required to be done with non-judgemental or noncritical reactions in both verbal and non-verbal way.
As pointed out by McMahon (2016), in order to appropriately accomplish the skill of providing unconditional positive regard to the patients, it is required for a trained counsellor to support the patient by showing respect and communicating the fact that the inner strength of the person is potential enough in making his/her life worth-living. On the other hand, it is one of the basic skills of a trained counsellor to attend and listen proper to the perspectives of the patients. It has been identified and underpinned by many scholars that, it is the ability of listening and attending a patient, which helps a counsellor to make fruitful decision regarding a patient. The skill of attending a person means showing respect through both verbal and non-verbal way and the ability to orient oneself physically to indicate that the client is having undivided attention from the counsellor (Meekums et al., 2016). On the other side, the skill of listening means appropriately understanding both verbal and non-verbal aspects communicated and expressed by the patient.
In this context, it is to regard that a skilled counsellor is desired to be genuine towards the patient. The ability of genuineness means staying non-defensive, unpretentious and being humble to the patient. The skill is necessary for a skilled counsellor as per the reason that it supports the counsellor to make the counselling environment comfortable and soothing for further ensuring that the patient is not feeling shy or hesitated. Therefore, it is understandable that the accomplishment of the required skills of listening, attending, showing unconditional regard would be only possible when the counsellor would be able to create a comfortable atmosphere for the patient (Nadkarni et al., 2017). The brief evaluation of the ability of genuineness is understandably the basic of establishing a comfortable atmosphere. However, in the context of discussion the basic skills of a trained counsellor, it is required to mention that along with genuineness, a counsellor is required to share personal opinions, feelings and experiences with the clients in order to make them feel familiar and comfortable. However, it should be kept in mind that in case of making self-disclosure, a trained counsellor is expected to disclose only those contexts, which have some relevance with the issues conveyed by the patient (Olsen, 2016). In this regard, it is to mention that self-disclosure should not be made until there is any pressure of clinical need that is not being met in any other possible ways.
However, one of the essential skills that a trained counsellor needs to possess is empathetic response. It is to mention in this respect that there is a controversial opinion about the definition of self-disclosure and empathy as most of the time; both of the skills are regarded as a same aspect. Therefore, it is clear that the ability to provide empathetic response or showing empathy towards the patient is not a similar with pursuing self-disclosure as the fundamental principle of showing empathy means perceiving experiences of the patients and thereafter communicating the percept to the patient in order to amplify as well as clarify their experiences (Ratt? et al., 2016). Therefore, it is not similar with sharing any similar experiences with the person. Nevertheless, just like the skill of showing genuineness, the ability of being empathetic is required from a trained counsellor in order to make the patient comfortable, as well as to develop apt decisions.
Another basic skill that a trained counsellor needs to do is making open-ended questions to the patients and properly interpreting them thereafter. The process of making open-ended questions is the way of supporting the clients in exploring as well as clarifying thoughts. However, questioning and thereafter making interpretations of them do not mean that the counsellor is required to make questions about any specific information (Tolan & Cameron, 2016). Therefore, it is understandable that the fundamental purpose of questioning and interpreting the answers is to facilitate exploration. On the other hand, interpretation is an essential part of the ability of making appropriate questions as accurate summarization or interpretation of opinions, thought and feelings conveyed by the patient helps the counsellor in making a relevant solution or decision for the patient (Van Deurzen, & Adams, 2016).
However, as evident from the above transcription, it is understandable that the ability of listening, showing genuineness, asking relevant questions and taking notes on them have been applied in a proper manner. However, it has been found out that the ability to self-disclosing has not been applied frequently on comparison with the other abilities. From the transcript, it is understandable that I have shown efficiency in showing empathy towards the “student client” by understanding her way of conveying her issues and most importantly by understanding the significance of her issues. On the other hand, it is fortunate that I have applied one of the basic skills of making open-ended questions and summarizing them appropriately. It is due to the evidence that indicates how I have progressed gradually towards the need of making an appropriate decision for resolving the issue the individual was having. Most significantly, from the inaugural stage the person has been treated with respect and genuineness. It is because the transcription shows that the student felt relaxed after few minutes of starting the discussion and at the same time, felt comfortable enough to share her experiences and pains associated with them. Therefore, it is indicative of the fact that I have appropriately showed genuine behaviour and respect, as without these two aspects, it has been impossible for me to understand her issues. However, it is disappointing to denote the fact that the need to make self-disclosure has not been fulfilled by me. Furthermore, the transcript is indicative of the fact that there has been the need to make self-disclosure regarding the problem faced by the student. For example, I could have shared my school life experience and any particular incident regarding ragging. The final part of the transcription, where I have provided a solution for the student, could have worked more successfully if the entire counselling process had involved self-disclosures.
In this respect, it is required to mention that, in time of conducting the counselling, I have encountered several limitations on personal level. For example, initially I faced it difficult to make the student comfortable as per the fact that the student looked too stressed and terrified. Next, in the inaugural part of the counselling, I have been confused about whether to ask about any physical harassment in form of ragging as per the fact that the questions regarding the issue could have made the student feel uncomfortable. It is disappointing to denote that I have realized that due age gap, in time of making questions regarding physical harm, I could not made proper eye contact. Most significantly, due to the same reason, I could have properly applied his ability related to self-disclosure. Instead of these three limitations, I found that there is the need to consult with the student’s parent and teachers about the matter though the person could not decide whether it will be ethical decision or not. It is because, confidentiality of the clients’ information is considered as an ethical obligation.
Furthermore, according to me, it has been difficult to conclude with giving a proper solution to the student, as there has been possibility that the client might have felt that the counsellor’s decision is being imposed upon her. In this context, it is required to mention that imposing values is considered as an unethical act.
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