It takes a strong and valiant individual in accepting flaws and in seeking help from others especially when dealing with private matters. These individuals might have arrived to this decision half-heartedly, or even by chance, but that does not really put any weight on the decision that has already been made. The tediousness of the circumstances that the individual has to go through before arriving at this decision must have been the darkest of all dark days. There has been several decision making family conferences, doubts about seeking counselling, questions about other treatments available and so forth. It is a life changing decision and is not something that can be decided upon with just a snap of a finger.
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This is why counsellors should have the highest respect and understanding for those who have decided to seek help. Counsellors should understand that it was not a walk in the park for both the family and the individual who needs help to come up with a decision like seeking counselling help. If the counsellor can keep this premise in mind every time he or she interacts with a client, especially for the first time, then proceeding with the treatment program will be a breeze.
The commitment to achieve becoming better and well is already a big step in wanting to recover from one’s illness. This says that the individual has accepted what his flaws are and is willing to commit himself into a treatment. This means that the person has an understanding of what his situation is and what are the means of dealing with this problem. However, it should not only be the client who is aware of him or herself, the counsellor should be too.
Dealing with clients and their dilemmas is never an easy task and it is very important for the counsellor to be able to have certain characteristic traits that he can carry on using even in his daily life. This can ascertain the famous saying, “Practice what you preach.” In addition, the counsellor can improve in his skills if he utilizes them everyday, even in the trifle things encountered in life. Most of the concepts and theories used in the counselling setting are actually used everyday by people; however, they are not always aware of using these concepts and theories. It is a known fact that theories are based on real life studies and researches and it would not be questionable vice versa.
Empathy is a character trait that is utilized by counsellors in dealing with their clients. Usually, empathy enables the counsellor to better understand the perspective of the client and feel his or her emotions, what sort of feelings are running through him or her. Empathy is more popularly known by professionals as putting oneself in the other’s shoes. By doing such, the counsellor or the professional might be able to get a bird’s eye view of the situation that the individual is experiencing.
In our daily lives, empathy can be seen in almost any everyday conversation especially with friends and family. For example, if a close friend or family member of yours seeks advice regarding a very important matter, you will be using empathy. If your brother, for example, is suffering from a dilemma involving choosing between a promotion or pursuing a different career path which is the one that he would really want to do, the only possible way to help him is to try to see these situations in his perspective. Sometimes, other people would not be able to relate to these kinds of situations simply because they have not experienced these yet. However, that should not always be the case.
By employing empathy, you, the counsellor or in this case the brother, will be able to try to see what the problem is through his eyes. A promotion seems to dazzling to pass up, especially the monetary raise involved for hi salary, but pursuing a career, which he would want to do right from the start, has its rewards and advantages too. If you have already seen yourself faced with the same dilemma, then you could give an advice, from your viewpoint only. It is also important that the person asking advice from you know this, because it is apparent that both of you have different ideals and visions.
Giving advice based on empathy in everyday life might be useful, especially when friends and family need your opinions. However, in counselling situations, empathy is used as a tool to understand further the client’s situation and in planning a treatment program, not readily giving advice solely based on empathy.
Another important tool utilized in counselling is getting the basic data from the client. In so many ways, this action might seem invasive for some people, most especially those who have a hard time trusting others. It is a duty of the counsellor to be able to get some, if not all, basic data from the client. This information will help a lot in the counsellor’s assessment and treatment plan.
However, getting the client to tell the truth about these data is the difficult part. Establishing rapport and building trust is the only way for this to happen. In our everyday life, we meet different people, some our classmates and schoolmates, some we randomly meet and get to talk to in public places, some introduced by others. In class, we all know everybody’s basic information. Their full names, where they live, what their parents do for a living, sometimes even the name of their siblings and the type of car their parents drive, we also know. Maybe it is the premise that everybody in school is decent and nice enough not to use this basic information to their advantage, or something to that effect, which is why we do not mind them knowing these data about us. In dealing with situations like this, it is rather amusing that we readily give these people basic information about us, sometimes without even hesitating.
It is common that we get to meet people in the streets, aliens to us at first, but once we get to know their names, we develop a sort of acquaintanceship so to speak. It is truly a wonder why some people are not having a hard time introducing themselves to other, telling their names, where they live and what they do, without even thinking about the repercussions of this action. Maybe, they do not think that giving away this information can harm them in anyway. They perfectly feel fine with it, and they do not make a big deal out of it. Unfortunately, for clients seeking counselling help, trust is an issue.
The counselling relationship, just like any relationship, is built on several values like trust, confidentiality, professionalism, and even friendship. These values can actually be seen from any normal relationship between two people. Friends and family trust each other, even with their lives. They know that whatever happens, they can count on these people to be there for them, to help them in times of troubles, to share happy and glorious moments with them. Albeit this may not be the case for the counsellor and his client, trust exists. The client trusts that the counsellor will be able to help him or her and keep everything just between the two of them, which is also known as confidentiality.
Just like in friendships, keeping each other’s secrets, hopes, and dreams, seem like a common thing to do. You have the other person’s word that he or she will not tell a soul about what you want her or him to keep as a secret, and this can account a lot for trust and confidentiality in relationships.
Professionalism is not only seen in the counselling relationship, but is everywhere in the working industry. People who work for their bosses, people who work with their clients, in all aspects of any business or any occupation, being a professional is expected. A professional sticks to the code of conduct for each profession, and does his duties in the best manner that he could possibly do. He or she does not act on impulse and on personal favours, having a strict difference and line between his personal life and his professional life.
When counselling the addicted and in helping him cope with cravings, the counsellor becomes the clients pillars, the one who helps him get through his cravings, always telling him what to do and how to do it properly, becoming almost his support system. In our everyday life, we have friends and family members who ask for our support.
We always tell them that they can count on us for anything, may it be in helping them to what they want in my life, in achieving their goals and pursuing their dreams. We would always find time to listen to their rants and raves, even if it means that we would have to be up all night finishing our tasks. It is not as if we full obliged to hear them out, unlike our duty and responsibility to our clients, but it is because they are our friends and family that we do it for them.
In conducting the diagnostic interview with the client, we try to make the client feel as if he was just talking to a friend, someone that he or she can trust, and someone that he or she can be at ease with and feel comfortable with. Interviews like this happen all the time when interacting with friends and family members.
For example, when we have not seen a friend for a long time now, and when we do get to see them, we ask them how they have been, what have they been doing lately and so forth. It does not seem like an interview to two friends; it only seems as if they are having a normal conversation. However, if we listen to the questions that they ask each other attentively, these are the interview questions asked by a counsellor to a client in counselling sessions.
The counsellor asks how the client is feeling, what has he been doing lately to occupy his time with, what he has done in order to suppress the cravings, and so on, and these questions, when put in a different setting, is almost the same as the questions in a normal conversation between two friends.
The treatment of the client is a tedious and worrisome task for the counsellor. His or her concern for his client is of utmost importance. He plans the treatment program according to the client’s individual preferences, and what the counsellor deems is the best way for the client. In our everyday lives, the treatment of the client can be viewed in totality as how we plan our own lives.
We find the best solutions that will not only fit the client’s needs, but also our professional judgment. In our life, we always do what is the best for our health, for our future, for the people around us, for our needs. If we need money to buy ourselves food, clothing and shelter, which are the basic needs, we will go get ourselves employed. If we want to succeed in all our endeavours, we will plan ahead and we will plan well. If we want all the people in our lives happy, we will nourish our relationship with them and provide the support they need, and in return, they will also give us theirs.
The job of the counsellor must come with the academic requirements and the experience, but it does not mean that he or she cannot utilize the tools, theories, and concepts in this profession in his or her daily life and vice versa.
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