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Definition of Counseling: Various Perspectives

Discuss about the Developing Skills in Counselling.

The present essay is attempting to evaluate numerous definitions of counseling and the fundamental skills to become a trained counselor. More precisely, the discourse has the aim to identify various perspectives and scholarly view regarding the premise of counseling. At the same time, it is the purpose of the paper to see what the five major skills are or abilities that should be possessed by an efficient counselor. The aim of evaluating the above mentioned aspects is required in order to understand whether in the above mentioned counseling session, the fundamental skills of counseling have been applied or not. Finally, the discourse will end up by identifying as well as assessing the particular limitations those the counselor has encountered in time of pursuing the counseling. Therefore, understandably the paper has two major concerns. One is to identify various definitions and chief skills of counseling and the second is to understand whether the skills have been properly applied in the counseling session or not. In this context, it is to mention that the fundamental aspect of counseling relies on the provision of assistance in a professional level to resolve psychological issues (Moloney, 2016).

The word “counseling” can be defined as a distinct application of mental health and principles of human development with the help of cognitive, systematic and effective intervention strategies to address mental wellness and personal growth. As per Tolan and Cameron (2016), counseling is a distinct way of assisting mentally troubled individuals to resolve various crisis associated with life through personal change, healing grief and developing the personal meaning. On the other hand, according to Meekums et al., (2016), counseling should be defined as a particular act of helping clients who are suffering from psychological complications. Therefore, in other words the definition of counseling can be put as a relationship of trust. Nevertheless, as defined by the “Dictionary of counseling”, counseling is a distinctly principled relationship that is characterized by the proper application of one or more than one psychological theory and at the same time a recognized set of skills of communication, which is modified by experience, various interpersonal factors, problems and the intimate concern of the clients.  


On the other hand, based on Van Deurzen and Adams (2016), the term “counseling” should be defined as a particular activity undertaken by the people who agree to occupy the position of a counselor. However, as argued by Fairclough (2016), the proper definition of counseling says that counseling is a service that is sought by people who are in distress and or in a degree of confusion and wish to discuss as well as resolve the issues through a confidential and disciplined relationship. In this respect, it is to mention that the practice of counseling is dealt with wellness, career, and personal growth and at the same time pathological concern. As defined by the BAC (British Association for Counseling), counseling is a principled utilization of a confidential relationship that is to make ease of emotional acceptance, optimal advancement of personal resources and self-knowledge (Lowe, 2016). It has been identified that various time counseling is defined by the aim of providing the opportunities to work towards living a more resourceful and satisfying life.

Fundamental Skills of a Trained Counselor

However, the most well known definition of counseling is   found to be the particular process takes place when a counselor with a mentally troubled individual set aside time for exploring various difficulties, which include stress and numerous emotions. Nevertheless, probably the most interesting percept regarding counseling is the concept that says the aspect of counseling is a wonderful invention of the twentieth-century. Following this particular percept, it can be said that counseling is cultural invention, which aids significant contribution to the standard of the lives of millions of individuals. Nonetheless, in the words of Bayne and Jangha (2016), a simple definition of counseling falls under the well known umbrella phrase of “talking therapies”, which says that the process of counseling makes a comfortable as well as confidential atmosphere where people can discuss their psychological and personal issues to a trained person. Henceforth, it can be said that there are different perspectives of different scholars and institution about the predominant definition of counseling (Olsen, 2016). However, it is understandable from the above discussion that counseling is a process of giving mental support to people and sort out their psychological issues.


In this context, it is required to mention that there is confusion between the definition of psychotherapy and counseling. According to Klonek et al., (2016), the definition of counseling is supported by the predominant aim of accepting assets as well as limitation in place of pursuing fundamental change in human personality. On the other hand, the definition of psychotherapy is a process of relieving a patient from distressful neurotic symptoms or discordant human characteristics those interfere the individual’s satisfactory adaptation of the outside world.

As mentioned in the inaugural part of the present discourse, the context is attempting to identify the predominant skills of a trained counselor. According to that, it has been identified that the basic skills that a properly trained and educated counselor should have are the skill of listening, showing empathetic response, ask questions, and make interpretations of them. According to D’Arcy Jr et al., (2016), the predominant skills, which every skilled counselor is required to possess are listening, attending, taking notes of the answers made by the clients and prior to that ask open-ended questions. However, as argued by McLeod (2016), a skilled counselor should have the ability to show genuine concern as well as positive and unconditional regard to the clients. More precisely, the five basic skills, which are required to be applied by every skilled counselor are – empathy, listening and attending, asking open-ended questions and making proper interpretation, making self-disclosure and concrete communication (Almeida, 2016).

Empathy: Understanding the Experience of Others

The skill of empathy is to understand experience and situation of others. More precisely, the skill of empathy is to putting oneself into the condition of the others. In other words, it can be said that the role of empathy is to imagine a person’s condition in a respectful manner and entering into the private world of another individual without making any judgment. The predominant symptoms of empathetic expression are open-mindedness, true commitment, accepting other’s opinions and imagination. As per Tolan and Cameron (2016), in order to achieve the proper ability of empathy, a person should have the capability of making verbal and non-verbal attending, making apt paraphrasing of the contents provided by the clients and reflecting upon the feelings of the clients. On the other hand, the skill of listening and attending the client is another major basic skill that is required from every skilled counselor. The skill of giving attention is to align oneself physically with the patient or the client, so the person feels that he/she is getting complete care from the counselor (Ratté et al., 2016). The requirement for applying the skills of attending is encouraging verbalizations, leaning forward, making eye contact and nods. However, the role of listening is to capture as well as perceive both formal and non-verbal communication of the client.


Most significantly, in time of counseling an individual, it is a basic requirement to ask relevant open-ended questions related to the client’s situation and thereafter to make proper summarization of the answers. The act of making open-ended question is essential for providing the client the opportunity to express thoughts and opinions (Goss, 2016). On the other hand, the notion of taking notes after asking questions is necessary for counselor as it helps in making proper evaluation of the answers to reach to a proper decision or solution. Nevertheless, one skill that most of the time is being overlooked is the skill of being concreteness. More precisely, the skill of concreteness is the ability to keep communications specific and focused on particular facts associated with the concerns. Nevertheless, as per Goss (2016), in terms of applying the ability of concreteness, a person should avoid making generalize comments and abstract discussions. The skill of concreteness demands some functions like assisting clients to identify the specific problem, reminding the patients about the tasks those are required to be pursued by them to get rid of a situation and suggesting the clients to clarify facts and feelings. Therefore, it can be said that the skills of listening and making question are related with the skill of concreteness as the accomplishment of the skills rely on the successful application of concreteness (Nadkarni et al., 2017). However, in this respect it is to mention that various times, in form of applying the skill of concrete communication, counselors required to concentrate on emphasizing on the process and the contents taken place in time of the session. The benefit of applying the skill of concreteness helps in elucidating the problem of the clients and at the same time foster the time solving procedure.  

Listening and Attending: Showing Genuine Concern

The skill of making self-disclosure is an ability of an efficient counselor to share personal experiences with the patients, which would be related to the problem or situation of the client. The intention behind applying the skill is to help the client to find a positive way to avoid the consequences of the issue (Tolan & Cameron, 2016). It is significant to contemplate in the context that the skill of making self-closure is considered as an advanced counseling skills and most of the time it is regarded as a challenging skill.


However, from the above presented transcription, I can say that my way of applying the skill of making self-disclosure has been most satisfactory. It is my fortune that I have successfully applied the advanced counseling skill successfully. The transcription is indicative of the fact that my skill of sharing personal experiences regarding my childhood and adolescent time. I believe the application will prove fruitful in near future. On the other hand, I have understood from the transcription that I have properly showed my ability to listen and attend the patient, as it is evident from the client’s expressions. However, according to my understanding and knowledge regarding the basic and advanced skills of counseling, it is unfortunate to mention here that the skill of taking notes and interpreting them properly has not been properly applied. The transcription says that I have efficiently listened to the problems of the student though did not successfully taken notes of the several significant points. However, I believe that my listening ability had been effective as I can see that the student gradually started to feel more confident. On the other hand, it is fortunate to note down that it has been my continuous thrive to make the student comfortable through my expression of empathy. At the same time, most of my questions have been open-ended so that the client has the space to share his though properly.

However, it is include at the final section of the discourse is that, there has been certain limitations without which; I believe the session could have been more successful. The first issue, which has bothered my session, is my own incompetence of not taking notes continuously. It is disappointing for a trained counselor like me to encounter an issue like such. Furthermore, I believe there has been the need to talk to Mike’s parents though it would have been unethical for me to do so. It is because; I was bound to maintain the confidentiality. However, it has been a continuous issue for me to recommend anything to the client because various times, patients feel that their counselor imposes suggestions upon them. Therefore, I personally think twice before making suggestions for the client. Most significantly, I believe in time of making self disclosure, it has been difficult for me to decide whether my issues and experience should harm the client or not. Moreover, there has been the pressure to decide how much of my experiences should be shared to the student client. Finally, I need to conclude that instead of the fact that I have started doing the counseling only after getting consent from the guardian, it has been difficult for me to get the permission specifically from the student’s father. However, instead of all these constraints, I believe my session has gone well. 

References

Almeida, N. (2016). A short introduction to counselling.

Bayne, H. B., & Jangha, A. (2016). Utilizing Improvisation to Teach Empathy Skills in Counselor Education. Counselor Education and Supervision, 55(4), 250-262.

D’Arcy Jr, J. R., Stiles, W. B., & Hanley, T. (2016). 2 The Online Calming Effect: Does the Internet Provide a More Comfortable Modality for Conducting Psychotherapy?. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF SOCIAL NETWORKING, 17.

Fairclough, S. L. (2016). The effects of the Student Success Skills program on the behavioral and cognitive engagement of grade 5 Exceptional Student Education students (Doctoral dissertation, Florida Atlantic University).

Goss, A. (2016). Attitudes of Support Workers in Learning Disability Services towards Counselling Psychology (Doctoral dissertation, City, University of London).

Klonek, F. E., Wunderlich, E., Spurk, D., & Kauffeld, S. (2016). Motivational interviewing meets career counseling: An observational study of verbal counselor skills and client ambivalence. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 94, 28-38.

Lowe, C. (2016). Measuring the self-perceived transformational leadership skills of school counselors: A comparison across settings (Doctoral dissertation, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA). 

McLeod, J. (2016). Using research in counselling and psychotherapy. Sage.

Meekums, B., Macaskie, J., & Kapur, T. (2016). Developing skills in counselling and psychotherapy: a scoping review of Interpersonal Process Recall and Reflecting Team methods in initial therapist training. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 44(5), 504-515.

Moloney, L. (2016). Defining and delivering effective counselling and psychotherapy. Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Nadkarni, A., Weobong, B., Weiss, H. A., McCambridge, J., Bhat, B., Katti, B., & Wilson, G. T. (2017). Counselling for Alcohol Problems (CAP), a lay counsellor-delivered brief psychological treatment for harmful drinking in men, in primary care in India: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 389(10065), 186-195.

Olsen, J. A. (2016). An examination of factors that relate to school counselors' knowledge and skills of multi-tiered systems of support (Doctoral dissertation, THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHARLOTTE).

Ratté, J., Dubois, A., Caouette, L., Roussin, C., & Goyer, L. (2016). A Haven for Suffering: Second Experiential Cooperative Research Study on the Foundations of Counselling and Psychotherapy. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy/Revue canadienne de counseling et de psychothérapie, 50(3s).

Tolan, J., & Cameron, R. (2016). Skills in Person-centred counselling & psychotherapy. Sage.

Tolan, J., & Cameron, R. (2016). Skills in Person-centred counselling & psychotherapy. Sage.

Van Deurzen, E., & Adams, M. (2016). Skills in existential counselling & psychotherapy. Sage.

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