1. Briefly describe in your own words what is meant by the term ‘counselling’. Counselling is a type of therapy offered to people who is experiencing any difficulties or troubles in life. Counselling gives them a chance to explore and address their problems and to figure out and decide how to deal with these problems emotionally and move on in their life.
2. What factors may make it difficult for a client to commit to counselling? What could you do to help overcome these barriers? Quite often, some people find it difficult or awkward talking to their family and friends about personal issues and are able when talking to a counsellor lay all their cards out on a table. However some people may find it daunting about telling a complete stranger what’s happening in their lives or perhaps worried about how they are going to be perceived by other people by seeking help. It might simply be because they are a closed person emotionally and is unable to open up. I would try to overcome these barriers by first establishing a lot of trust in my relationship as counsellor and client. When established the trust between my client I would then encourage them to talk openly about their issues and reassure them about the importance of confidentiality and absolutely no-one would have to know that they have been for counselling.
3. What are the ‘Core Counselling skills’? Briefly describe each one. 1. Genuineness – Being true, honest, authentic and completely non fake. 2. Acceptance – Completely accepting the client for who they are and not judging them in any way. Being impartial. 3. Empathy – Putting yourself in the client’s shoes, being able to identify with and understand their problems.
4. In your opinion, what are the most important skills required for effective counselling? Justify your answer. I believe the most important skills that are effective for counselling are Empathy, Acceptance, Compassion and genuineness. I think that if you cannot empathize with somebody then it is almost impossible to counsel them. If you cannot imagine what it is like to be their position then you cannot try to help them. I believe acceptance is important because if you allow your own personal views and opinions get in the way then this will affect how well your therapy sessions go and what the result will be in the end. I believe it is important to be impartial.
This is a principle that I use as a volunteer up the Citizens Advice Bureau. I believe compassion and genuineness are important skills because if the client thinks that you are not a compassionate, caring genuine person then they will not want you to counsel them. It will be almost impossible to gain any trust between the client and they will not open up and talk about their problems. Thus therapy will be a complete and utter waste of time for them. For example if somebody wants counselling for depression and are having suicidal thoughts, and you appear uncaring, then this might add to their own feelings of worthlessness and could potentially make the client worse.
5. Think about a time when you helped someone. Write a transcript of what happened and identify any particular counselling skills you employed. You should also make a reference to SOLER within your answer. I’m a big fan of the social networking site known as ‘Facebook’ and over time I noticed that someone who I’m friends with on there which I am only going to refer to as ‘M’ seemed very depressed and down in the dumps. Nearly everything she posted on Facebook was dark and depressing. At the time I didn’t know her that well and had only seen her around the area which I live. I eventually decided that I would Message M to see if she fancied a chat sometime and that I had noticed from the things that she had been saying that she seemed very unhappy. Over a period of time we started talking regularly, general chit chat mostly, and eventually she told me that she suffered from a mental illness called BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and that she is Bipolar.
I decided to research BPD and to try to find out more about it. I learnt that BPD sufferers can have extreme mood swings, going from feeling wonderful one minute to suicidal the next. During our chats online I told M that if she ever wanted someone to talk to then I would always be there to listen. She told me of her feelings of lack of self worth and that in her opinion nobody really cared about her, or wanted to listen, not even her friends would make that much of an effort. She assumed that because of her mental health condition, not many people would be willing to get to know her. I was very persistent with M, reassuring her that I wanted to listen to her problems. I established a lot of trust with M because otherwise she would not of told me these things. After a while I suggested to M about going for a coffee and a chat. I sat opposite her in the café, maintaining eye contact with her and leaning towards her slightly, interested in everything she had to say.
As we talked I noticed that there was deep slash marks on both of her wrists. I asked her about them and She told me that she had tried to kill herself many times and that it made her feel better by cutting herself. That was when I decided that my own personal goal was to try and inject some positivity into this girls life and maybe over time she would not cut herself anymore? This girl needed to know that people did care about her and she wasn’t the horrible person she thought she was. After that we met up several times and even to this day we talk online, she has often thanked me for listening to her and has made me feel very good about myself.
I think she is very appreciative to have someone who is genuinely interested in her thoughts and feelings. I can definitely empathize with M because in the past I have personally suffered from Anxiety and Paranoia, thus making me feel very down in the dumps and I also believed at the time nobody wanted to listen to me either. Iv accepted M for who she is, not letting her mental illness deter me whatsoever. I’ve learnt something new and find mental health very interesting. I think for some people that if they do not understand something then they treat it with ignorance. Hopefully over time I will help to build up her confidence but there is some very serious underlying problems as to why she cuts herself. This is an ongoing progress but I am determined to get there one day.