Characteristics of a Professional and Effective Counsellor

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1. Introduction The aim of this essay is to examine, discuss and analyse the characteristics and attributes of an effective and professional counsellor. This essay will examine the definition of counselling, determine the necessary skills needed in order to be effective, explore the counselling process and consider the ethics and values defined within the framework of professional therapy. There has been an increase in the focus on training of counsellors in South Africa, whilst encouraging them to be professionally accredited with the HPCSA. This accreditation requires the counsellor to be professional and effective in what they do and ensures that they can be monitored. 2.1 Counselling 2.1.1 Counselling definition Counselling can be defined as the process whereby the client and the counsellor interact within the confines of a safe and comfortable environment to identify, discuss and and work through the client’s problems. According to Cormier and Hackney (2014), the client is usually someone who is seeking help, as they are experiencing some type of difficulty if their life; while the counsellor is a professional who is willing to provide help as he or she can be seen as ethical, moral and capable of helping the client. The setting where the interaction between the counsellor and client takes place should be a warm environment as it should encourage the client to feel safe and open up to the counsellor. (Cormier & Hackney; 2) 2.1.2 The counselling setting The physical space in which the counselling process takes place is crucial to the development of the relationship. The room itself needs to be aesthetically pleasing and needs to be set out in such a way that the client feels comfortable enough to express him or herself... ... middle of paper ... being resilient and he or she does this by looking after him or herself. It is vital for the counsellor to possess the skill of objectivity, as this is the ability to look at the client from an objective point of view. The client should not feel judged by the counsellor. The counsellor should possess the characteristic of flexibility as the counselling process is bound to be accompanied by surprises. Lastly, it is essential for the counsellor to be trustworthy. If the client does not feel as though they can trust the counsellor then they are not going to open up to the counsellor to discuss sensitive issues (Grobler & Schenck;43). The above mentioned characteristics of an effective counsellor have to do with the virtue of the counsellor as he or she is committed to the client’s well-being because he or she must behave ethically and morally (Cormier & Hackney;9).

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