What are the skills needed by a counselor?
What are the basic skills a good counselor needs to have?
Here is a list of skills I use every session, and a short explanation of what they are:
- Reflecting: Paraphrasing what clients have said so that they know you understand them
- Validating: Helping clients to know that their point of view is valuable and rational
- Client-centered talk: Maintaining focus on the client in therapy sessions, rather than a therapist talking about themselves
- Attending: Nonverbal or verbal cues that indicate I am listening to a client (i.e., nodding, leaning in, affirmations)
- Reframing: Helping a client to see a problematic behavior or situation in a different way (usually only works well after they feel heard and understood)
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I think that the most important skill a good counselor has is the ability to empathize (whether that be natural empathy, or trained, empathy is essential.) A good counselor also knows the difference between identifying with their client, and empathizing with their client. An ability to not bring in our own baggage (we all have baggage and most are "wounded healers") into our work, as it's not about us. If it is brought in, it should be in only a way that can help a client.
And to listen...specifically to what the client is needing.
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To be non-judgemental, know who they themselves are, be able to step forward and ask questions with ease and grace into painful emotional areas.
Also to respect human difference in accomplishing basic life tasks and everyday living.
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