Discuss why you want to become a counsellor. What qualities and characteristics do you feel you have that will assist you in role as a counsellor?

tarot counselling 1See this post: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/discuss-why-you-want-become-counsellor-what-qualities-tina-sawhney?trk=pulse_spock-articles

This is one of the questions I was asked on my final assessment for the Counselling Skills Diploma at Stonebridge Associated Colleges. I feel that the content of this post will help a lot of people understand what is required to become a counsellor. If you are impatient and cannot sit still long enough to listen to your friends problems then why should your friends listen to your problems? While listening to someone who is pouring their heart out to you means looking at that individual and showing full interest in what they are saying. It does not include looking at your mobile phone constantly or watching the television because something there looks more interesting.

Even worse it does not mean interrupting your friend pouring his or her heart out to you while you decide to make a quick phone call to someone or even answer a phone call. Tell me how many times have you done that? If this is true then you could not make a good counsellor nor a good friend. Caring and empathy is required when someone is down. I have had friends not prepared to listen and our friendship did not last. They showed that they did not care about me at all. Who needs friends like that? I think you will agree.

You may not have meant to ignore your friend when he or she needed you because you had so much on your mind and so many of your own problems but it is cruel to treat your friend when they most need you like that. Good friends are hard to come by. Don’t be selfish. Listen to them and put that phone down and stop looking at the television when they are upset. The time will come when you need them and they are no longer there.

I am a Psychic Tarot Cards Reader since 2003. My background is BSc Hons Psychology (1990) and I was also a practising Aromatherapist and Reflexologist (VAI Diploma – 1999). I hope to have a Counselling Skills Diploma (2016) after completing this course today. I have always been interested in Psychology which is why I did the degree when I was 19 years old. I enjoy helping people with their problems. I initially wanted to become a psychotherapist when I completed my degree but I did not have the money to pay for this so I worked as a Lettings Manager for 23 years. I sold that business 3 years ago. However 1.5 years later a tragedy happened where my house burnt down and I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I myself have had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and I felt that both these therapies have really helped me. I hope to use this basic counselling skills diploma in my tarot readings as some of my clients really need counselling also. All tarot readers are encouraged to have a background in counselling. I feel that I have learnt a lot on this course.

I am confident that I have all the below ten qualities and characteristics required to be a counsellor. I am older now and I believe that with age comes experience and wisdom which are both good qualities to have as a professional counsellor.

As a counsellor you need to have patience with your clients as they process the discussion. It may take them time to accept certain things and to move towards positive changes. Some people need to discuss something many times before they are prepared to make a move in any particular direction. Also, you are not likely to see large changes in an individual client; therefore, you must be okay with incremental progress in their lives and rejoice over small victories.

Good Listener
Counsellors spend a significant amount of time listening to their clients. You will do more listening than talking. You must be content to give the client time to express their story and their feelings. You will need to be intuitive in discerning what the client is really saying and “read between the lines”.

It is very important that your clients feel your compassion for their problems and that they sense you truly care about them. You may not be able to relate to every issue that is shared with you, but you need to be able to have compassion for how it feels to be in their shoes. Genuine concern yields positive results.

Counsellors hear all kinds of private information and encounter all types of people. You may hear dark secrets from someone’s past involving such things as sexual or criminal behaviour. You must do you best to refrain from judgment and instead communicate positive regard. There are times when it may be necessary to judge a particular behaviour, but the client must not feel that you are judging them. Likewise, you may encounter clients of different races and/or cultures. You must not push your cultural or religious views upon them. Multicultural competency is a necessary skill. The counselling environment needs to be a safe place for a client to share their most intimate concerns.

Being a counsellor involves a significant amount of time spent researching. You will need to stay current on the research in order to help your clients. This involves reading books and journal articles on a regular basis. You do not learn everything you need to know while in college. Much of your knowledge will come from personal research after you have begun to see clients.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. You need to be able to put yourself in the shoes of your client and understand the situation from their point of view. Even if you don’t agree with their perspective, you still need the ability to understand how it feels to them in order to address their issue effectively. However, it’s important that you are not too empathetic. Some people struggle as counsellors because they are unable to maintain objectivity and therefore carry home the emotional stress of the job. The level of empathy necessary can be a fine line between helpful to client and harmful to counsellor.

Confidentiality is of upmost importance when you are a counsellor. You must be able to maintain confidentiality so the client can trust you with their most intimate concerns.

The ability to encourage is important for a counsellor. Many clients are struggling to find hope in their situation. One of the primary jobs of a counsellor often involves instilling hope in a hopeless individual.

A counsellor who is aware of their own fears, insecurities, and weaknesses will be effective in the therapeutic relationship. It is important that you do not react defensively to what a client shares. You must be able to keep your own feelings out of the session. You will be better able to do this if you are self-aware. In addition, self-aware individuals are more intuitive with regards to solving their own problems and can use that knowledge to help clients through similar situations.

Authenticity is vital when working with clients. Clients will know if you are being fake or not showing genuine concern. They will not open up to you or trust your advice unless they feel you are genuine. This is even more critically important when working with teens.

I received this email today from Stonebridge Associated Colleges where I did my Counselling Skills Diploma:

Congratulations! You have successfully passed the final examination for your Basic Counselling Skills Level 2 course. On behalf of the college we have reviewed your performance throughout your course and in line with ABC Awards regulations, and have awarded your overall result for the course a “Distinction”. It is worth noting that this is the highest appraisal you can attain for this course. Well done on this excellent achievement.

Tina Sawhney BSc Hons Psychology (1990), Diploma Counselling Studies (2016)
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