Counselling Skills: A Guide

The most important skills you need as a counsellor are empathy, active listening, good communication, a non-judgmental attitude and the ability to give comfort and support. Read on to discover more about each of these skills. 

What is empathy?

Empathy is the ability to share in the feelings or emotions of another person. Having empathy can help us understand other people's perspectives and provide insight into their behaviour. Empathy does not require an individual to agree with other peoples' views, but it does require open-mindedness and understanding. Empathy can help you to be more effective in your role as a counsellor. It reduces stress, enhances self-knowledge and results in better decision making. Although empathy is not taught as a specific skill as part of the qualification process, it can be learned. The most important thing to remember is that empathy is more about feeling than thinking!

What is active listening?

Active listening is a way to ensure that you are fully understanding the speaker. It is a means of observing the speaker and making an effort to understand them, without interrupting them. Active listening is important because it shows that you care about what the other person has to say.

What are effective communication skills?

Effective communication requires both the speaker and listener to be non-defensive and open. The listener should also be engaged intellectually, asking questions where appropriate. It is also important to consider the role of body language. For example, if the listener looks away or becomes distracted it can affect the message being received.

What is a non-judgemental attitude?

A non-judgemental attitude means that you do not judge other people when they express unpalatable views or act in negative ways. It is important for each person involved in a counselling situation to feel that they are being accepted for who they are, so it is important to develop this skill. In today's world, where we are constantly judged by society and even by ourselves, it can be hard to maintain a non-judgemental attitude.

How can a counsellor provide comfort and support?

When a client is going through difficult times, a counsellor can provide them with comfort and support. A counsellor will use techniques like listening, helping the client to explore their feelings and coping strategies, and empowering the client to take control of their life.

If you would like to find out more, you should get in touch with a local counselling service or training provider today.