Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Qualities of good counselor

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Qualities of good counselor

The Counselor as a Therapeutic Person

shed stereotypes and be an authentic person

         If we hide behind the safety of our professional role, our clients will likely keep themselves hidden from us.

         If we become merely technical experts and leave our own reactions, values, and self out of our work, the result is likely to be sterile counseling 

        It is through our own genuineness and our aliveness that we can significantly touch our clients. If we make life-oriented choices, radiate a joy for life, and are real in our relationships with our clients, we can motivate them to develop these same life-enhancing qualities.



          In short, as Counselors we serve as models for our clients. If we model incongruent behavior, low-risk activity, and remain distant, we can expect our clients to imitate this behavior

          I do not expect any therapist to fully exemplify all the traits described here.

          Rather, for me the willingness to struggle to become a more therapeutic person is the crucial quality. This list is intended to stimulate you to examine your ideas of what kind of person can make a significant difference in the lives of others.




          Effective Counselors have an identity. They know who they are, what they are capable of becoming, what they want out of life, and what is essential.

          Effective Counselors respect and appreciate themselves. They can give and receive help and love out of their own sense of self-worth and strength. They feel adequate with others and allow others to feel powerful with them.

          Effective Counselors are open to change. They exhibit a willingness and courage to leave the security of the known if they are not satisfied with the way they are. They make decisions about how they would like to change, and they work toward becoming the person they want to become.



          Effective Counselors make choices that are life oriented. They are aware of early decisions they made about themselves, others, and the world. They are not the victims of these early decisions, and they are willing to revise them if necessary. They are committed to living fully rather than settling for mere existence.

          Effective Counselors are authentic, sincere, and honest. They do not hide behind masks, defenses, sterile roles, or facades.

          Effective therapists have a sense of humor. They are able to put the events of life in perspective. They have not forgotten how to laugh, especially at their own foibles and contradictions.

          Effective therapists make mistakes and are willing to admit them. They do not dismiss their errors lightly, yet they do not choose to dwell on misery.


          Effective therapists generally live in the present. They are not riveted to the past, nor are they fixated on the future. They are able to experience and be present with others in the “now.”

          Effective therapists appreciate the influence of culture. They are aware of the ways in which their own culture affects them, and they respect the diversity of values espoused by other cultures. They are also sensitive to the unique differences arising out of social class, race, sexual orientation, and gender.

          Effective therapists have a sincere interest in the welfare of others. This concern is based on respect, care, trust, and a real valuing of others.

          Effective therapists possess effective interpersonal skills. They are capable of entering the world of others without getting lost in this world, and they strive to create collaborative relationships with others. They do not present themselves as polished salespersons, yet they have the capacity to take another person’s position and work together toward consensual goals (Norcross, 2002b).


         Effective therapists become deeply involved in their work and derive meaning from it. They can accept the rewards fl owing from their work, yet they are not slaves to their work.

         Effective therapists are passionate. They have the courage to pursue their passions, and they are passionate about life and their work.

         Effective therapists are able to maintain healthy boundaries. Although they strive to be fully present for their clients, they don’t carry the problems of their clients around with them during leisure hours. They know how to say no, which enables them to maintain balance in their lives.


          Effective therapists are not value neutral but take critical distancing from biases:  Counseling is not a value-free exercise. But positive values can come in.

          Effective therapists are sensitive to multicultural and gender differences



Beginners need to

          Dealing With Our Anxieties

          Being Ourselves and Disclosing Our Experience: level of genuineness and presence that enables us to connect with our clients and to establish an effective therapeutic relationship with them.

          Avoiding Perfectionism

          Being Honest About Our Limitations

          Understanding Silence

          Dealing With Demands from Clients: One way of heading off these demands is to make your expectations and boundaries clear during the initial counseling sessions or in the disclosure statement.

Beginners need to

          Dealing With Clients Who Lack Commitment

          Tolerating Ambiguity

          Avoiding Losing Ourselves in Our Clients

          Developing a Sense of Humor

          Sharing Responsibility With the Client

          Declining to Give Advice

          Defi ning Your Role as a Counselor

          Learning to Use Techniques Appropriately

          Developing Your Own Counseling Style

          Staying Vital as a Person and as a Professional

ethical principles and issues

          Putting Clients’ Needs Before Your Own: ask yourself is this: “Whose needs are being met in this relationship, my client’s or my own?”. It is crucial that we avoid exploiting or harming clients for fulfilling our personal needs such as the need for control and power; the need to be nurturing and helpful; the need to change others in the direction of our own values; the need for feeling adequate, particularly when it becomes overly important that the client confirm our competence; and the need to be respected and appreciated.

          Ethical Decision Making

          The Right of Informed Consent

          Dimensions of Confidentiality, however, it can be broken in the event when

        the therapist believes a client under the age of 16 is the victim of incest, rape, child abuse, or some other crime.

        the therapist determines that the client needs hospitalization

        information is made an issue in a court action•

        clients request that their records be released to them or to a third party

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