Q11 Describe your own observations, thoughts, feelings and concerns when using counselling skills. (4.1)
? The power of silence in helping the client access their own deeper feelings and resources. Although it might not always feel comfortable for the client, it seems to work every time to open up greater understanding.
? How eye contact and open body language helps make the client feel more comfortable to share own concerns or perceived weaknesses.
? How remembering to use paraphrasing helps me as the counsellor to avoid making assumptions and pursuing unhelpful line of questioning
? Understanding how consciously using the range of counselling skills helps the client to achieve positive outcomes for themselves.
? The idea that the “organismic self” (from Carl Rogers’ person-centred counselling theory established in the 1940’s) is motivated to find it’s own solutions, helps me to realise the client’s responsibility in the helping relationship, allowing me to release my own sense of responsibility to solve their problems for them. Realising that concentrating on using the skills is often enough to enable the client to discover and decide how to help themselves.
? Noticing how through the Triad work, I and my fellow students have grown our confidence and experience in using the skills, through providing feedback to each other. It makes me think how important it is to seek feedback on an on-going basis in my life.
? Being inspired by fellow students, with our Tutor’s guidance, in establishing trust and the safety of sharing personal thoughts and motivations.
? The encouragement and empowerment I feel in being able to help others make a difference in their own lives, through my own use of counselling skills.
? Feeling grateful for having the opportunity to join the course, for the insights and confidence I have gained from it and for the help and support I have received from everyone involved.
? Whether I will be able, at age 50, to overcome some of my less helpful behaviour patterns which have become quite entrenched in myself (as outlined above).
? Whether I will continue to receive financial sponsorship to continue my studies in counselling and if not, how I would fund this.
? The future of counselling as a practise, given technological change and how I could contribute in the “new world” environment.
Q12 Outline the benefits of self-reflection for: (4.2)
a) Personal development
4 Know how self-reflection contributes to personal development
Reflective practice: meaning of personal development; meaning of self-reflection and reflective practice; benefits of personal development for self and for use of counselling skills; impact that a simulated ‘client’s’ disclosure may have on them; why some disclosures are particularly difficult to hear; issue of competences and limitations; exploring reflective practice; reflection on observations, feelings, thoughts and concerns that occur when using counselling skills.
A counsellor’s own personal development must be in a continual process of development, growth and expansion. They must demonstrate an interest in self-awareness, self-counselling, work/life balance, focus, goal setting and other complementary areas of self-knowledge. Through their own development a counsellor will also pick up additional understanding and knowledge, which they can effectively use to support a client during the counselling process.
b) The use of counselling skills
Explain the benefits of self-reflection on your own personal development and in your use of counselling skills.
From reflecting on myself, I have realised there is a limit to what I can discover on my own. I need others and need to reach out to them to receive encouragement, support and feedback to help me become more effective in helping others.
Self-reflecting on own development needs and use of the counselling skills is a key component in deciding in what direction to grow and develop. I believe life itself is a dynamic environment where there is always something to learn about ourselves, others and the process of helping relationships. Unless we make a commitment and effort to self–reflect, to attain greater self-awareness and understanding, we may limit the help we can bring to others.
Feedback from others helps me check and verify areas for improvement. In other words the feedback helps to fuel my own self-reflection to crystalise areas of development or self-change that I need to focus on. I have also found that maintaining the discipline of updating my own Personal Learning Journal has enabled a regular self-reflection of how I am developing, learning and growing.
In conclusion I feel that self-reflection is not (as many people I know may see as) a self-indulgent act. It is a key to unlock one’s own potential to become more conscious, more self-aware as a basis to grow; both for one’s own benefit and towards being better able to help others.
I have come to recognise that successfully counselling clients through difficult times requires a combination of interpersonal skills, sufficient knowledge about the issues involved and a host of personal attributes. Balancing and adapting all this information requires the counsellor or psychotherapist to maintain a level head, confidence in their abilities and a genuine interest in providing support.
A successful counsellor must be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the counselling process. There are a number of key personal qualities that counsellors and psychotherapists should also possess, and which will make the therapeutic relationships they have with their clients more effective.
Empathy – Without this quality a counsellor will be unable to comprehend the problems, experiences, thoughts and feelings of another person, and will not be able to offer clients the level of supportive understanding that they will require.
Congruence – This provides clients with a vision of a counsellor’s genuine understanding and supportive nature.
Positive Regard – Counsellors must be able to build counselling relationships on a foundation of warmth, understanding and genuine support. In order for this to work, and to encourage a client to self-disclose, counsellors must have a natural rapport with a client.
Respect – Counsellors must show respect for another person, and their welfare, at all times. They must also remain impartial and non-judgmental.
Challenging skills A client must experience challenging questioning if they are to make progress during the counselling relationship. Being able to detect contradictions and encourage positive thought is an important part of the counsellor’s role.
Active listening, good interpersonal skills and an ability to question, reflect and challenge attitudes and beliefs are all personal skills that can help a counsellor build a successful career. An interest in self-awareness and self-development will also ensure that the counsellor or psychotherapist continues to develop their counselling skills, whilst expanding their own knowledge of themselves.
A counsellor can also utilise many other important skills within a counselling relationship, and this could include good planning and motivational skills, problem solving, organisational ability and re-orientation skills. Each counsellor will bring their own unique abilities, qualities and skills into a counselling relationship, but must ultimately ensure that their client feels safe and supported.
Besides the counselling qualifications, and additional certificates, a counsellor should possess in order to provide a good counselling relationship, the counsellor must also be armed with sufficient personal knowledge and understanding of what counselling is all about. They must also be clear about the role of the counsellor and the problems, issues and expectations every client will present.
A counsellor must also be self-aware, and must be in control of their feelings, thoughts and emotions whilst working with clients.