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Definition of Counselling

Discuss about the Counselling Skills.

For a long time, the concept of counselling has existed. In a bid to understand themselves, humans have sought answers through ages. We have strived to counsel and nurture our abilities, realise the opportunities and to help ourselves in means that are associated with the practice of formal guidance (Low, 2015). This concept is paramount. For instance, when there is a collaboration between students and teachers, the learning progresses in a practical and useful way. The younger generation realises the importance of their freedom from psychological issues and understands the options they have by taking good advantage of them. Thus, counselling targets to help people detach from the chains of despair and efficiently manage situations in life.

Counselling refers to the principled and skilled utilisation of a relationship to facilitate emotional acceptance and development, maximum development of individual resources and self-knowledge ("UNESCO Counselling Modules", 2017).

Contemporary research suggests that the therapy type during counselling is not so much important in the determination of the outcome of sessions, but the specific behaviours of the counsellor are necessary (Nelson-Jones, 2013). They include; enthusiasm, the belief that the patient can change and determination.  Even if there is nothing that can assure change, the client most likely will develop the capacity to change if the relationship with the therapist is overboard and productive. In essence, the interaction between the counsellor and the client is a compelling premise in the relationship (Maxwell, 2013). As such, the therapist needs to possess some specific and relevant skills to ensure a fruitful engagement; empathy, good rapport, attentiveness, being genuine, collaboration among others.

Empathy refers to the ability and power to perceive another person’s experience and uncannily communicate the perception back to him or her in a bid to amplify and clarify his/her meaning and experiencing (Nelson-Jones, 2013). It does not encompass the identification and sharing similar experiences with the person being counselled (McLeod, 2014). A reflection that is effective has a more direct engagement process and involves serious aspects like making inferences that are reasonable about the client’s emotional experiences (Maxwell, 2013).

Thus, empathy dictates that the therapist chooses words that are different but lay the same message. For example, if a client gets angry about a situation that is deemed small to the therapist, then he or she must not respond with anger or a negative statement because there could be counter-productivity to the change process (McLeod, 2014).

Five Relevant Counselling Skills

Rapport refers to a state where there is a harmonious understanding between one person or group with another enabling an easier and greater communication (Newton, 2013). In a nutshell, it means getting along well with one another or a group of individuals by having common things making communication more efficient and swift (Newton, 2013). The commencement of an interpersonal relationship with a stranger is a stressful event that calls for proper planning and arrangement (McLeod, 2014).

Attentiveness refers to the ability of the counsellor to keenly and patiently listen to the client and render the necessary help. It aims at understanding and capturing the nonverbal and verbal data that the client communicates (Reese, 2016).

Additionally, attentiveness helps the counsellor to identify the nitty gritty of the client’s problem. For instance, the client may be having psychological problems like tangentiality and circumstantiality, but because the therapist is non-attentive, he or she may not capture these issues (Reese, 2016).

Genuineness entails the ability of the counsellor to be himself or herself freely. It encompasses the congruence between the inner feelings and the outward expression. Moreover, there ought to be a lack of defensiveness, role playing, pretense among others (Reese, 2016). These factors may deteriorate the clients’ situation if he or she realises promptly. For instance, the counsellor may express the willingness to help the client handle his or her sexual or drug problem. However, if the body language shows discomfort and inability to do so, then the client may understand that indeed there is pretense here thus leading to mistrust and lack of confidence in the helper (Low, 2015).

Finally, collaboration maintains the capacity to work along and close with the client. More than eighty percent of the client’s therapeutic outcomes are as a result of individual efforts. The counsellor just supports the efforts (2017). As such, the client needs to understand that the use of professional progress is anchored on collaboration. For instance, the counsellor must not make personal decisions about the client, but instead, he/she should engage the client. Therefore, the usefulness of the relationship has to be based on working together (Vitelli, Galiani, Amodeo, Adamo, & Valerio, 2015). 

The mock session has demonstrated improved and upheld skills of counselling. Upon reflection on the session, it is apparent that counselling needs to be effected in a more diverse and collaborative way (Low, 2015). First, I began by drawing the sit for the client.  

Application of the Skills in the Mock Counselling Session

This gesture demonstrates a creation of rapport. Additionally, I introduced myself and welcomed the student to the room. This demonstrates to him that there is nothing to fear, I am a friendly person just like any other close frined of his. This indicates the need to propel the session to a more intimate level of self-revelation by the client. This is the reason that he was able to reveal his sexual orientation to me in the first place. To demonstrate relaxation, the client sighs in relief and says he needed to talk to someone. Therefore, it was clear that my strategy to alleviate his anxiety was fruitful (Langaard & Toverud, 2013).

Empathy entails the understanding of the client’s situation but not to get emotionally attached to it or play a role in a countertransference stance (Vitelli, Galiani, Amodeo, Adamo, & Valerio, 2015). I maintained an interpersonal distance because any form of closeness would warrant me to render comfortability or a shoulder to lean on. Moreover, it is because of empathy that I maintained a good professional response where I just asked the client to be calm and that I comprehended his problem (Sharpley & Sagris, 2013).

The demonstration of attentiveness was above board in the mock session. First, I was less inquisitive and more listening. For instance, the client began the narration of his sexual ordeal, and because I did not want to have him cut short, I just let him speak. Additionally, when someone is in deep emotions, he /she must be left to speak what is troubling him/her because it helps relieve the stress (Green, 2014). Opening up is the first form of therapy. When the client was crying, I did not stop him. This is the reason after the session; he was more relaxed and renewed. Again, the situation of the client was complicated and needed uncanniness to comprehend. As such, there was a clear demonstration of the counselling skill of attentiveness (Green, 2014).

Being genuine is a gift that any human can have. In the session, I demonstrated this skill by being heavily armed with modern interventions. First, I understood the client’s problem and then offered the best options. The desire to be the one breaking the news to his religious parents was a remarkable gesture. My body language was congruent with my expression (Langaard & Toverud, 2013). Here, I ensured that there was a clear demonstration of willingness. I even asked the client to let me speak with his partner in case of trouble.  I needed to involve the client in his healing process. First, I was asking him to be open with me after reassuring him of confidentiality.
Then, he accepted the offer of being clearly genuine and understanding. Letting him solve part of the problem was easy. I wanted him to handle a person he did not fear, his lover and let me gradually introduce his sexual issue to the parents (Goss & Adebowale, 2014). Therefore, it was a professional moment for me as well, adding a wealth of experience.

Just like any other counselling session, mine was not without limitations. They provide an opportunity to handle the next session in a more succinct and keen manner so that the best comes out of the relationship with the client. These included almost losing myself in sympathy, inability to follow the stages laid down in the counselling process, over-insistence on reassurance, hastiness and inadequate professionalism (Egbochuku, 2013).

When the client explained about the problem of sexual orientation that he has and the background of his religious upbringing, I felt some aspects of betrayal to his parents. I had initially read about a case in the LGBTQ group forums where parents hacked a young girl for being a lesbian. This is the hardest news that parents can ever tolerate especially after being fond of their children (Egbochuku, 2013). For these reasons, I felt like weeping when instead, I was supposed to empathise and help the client solve his problem. Therefore, it is imperative to handle problems of clients in good time and professionally. 

Secondly, the counselling process has a systematic interpersonal relations stages that guides objective engagements (Chen, 2013)

It includes initial disclosure, then deep exploration and finally a commitment to the interventions. I did not articulate well the disclosure phase because of the integration of the client’s other forms of data like the past psychological problems, medical and surgical history among others.

I was hasty in rendering my perceived solutions perhaps due to the previous experiences with clients of similar problems. As such, I needed to improve tactical skills and recall that every case is unique in its way ("Counselling psychology and beyond", 2015). As much as there was an aspect of professional engagement, I did not involve an improved and modern professional process that ensures there is proper recognition of special clues that may lead to an understanding of the client’s problem.


The mock session is about a client who was bred under stringent Christian values from Catholic parents. He has a problem with a sexual orientation where he is attracted to the same gender, the males. The session commenced with a shallow introduction and full expression of the client’s feelings. He was shaken and unhappy about the pressure from his lover and parental engagement. As such, I offered to help with the parents as he tackles the partner’s problem. The five primary skills of counselling involved include; being genuine, empathy, building rapport, being attentive and collaboration. Professionalism in the paramount concept in counselling and guidance.


(2017). Retrieved 8 March 2017, from

Chen, P. (2013). Guiding College Students To Develop Academic Self-Regulatory Skills. Journal Of College Teaching & Learning (TLC), 8(9), 29.

Counselling psychology and beyond. (2015). Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 1(1), 5-9.

Egbochuku, E. (2013). Counselling Communication Skills: Its Place In The Training Programme Of A Counselling Psychologist. Edo Journal Of Counselling, 1(1).

Goss, S. & Adebowale, O. (2014). Counselling and guidance in Africa. British Journal Of Guidance & Counselling, 42(4), 353-358.

Green, B. (2014). Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma Sanderson Christiane Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma 328pp £22.99 Jessica Kingsley 9781849053266 184905326X. Learning Disability Practice, 17(2), 10-10.

Langaard, K. & Toverud, R. (2013). Youth Counselling in School Health Services: The Practice of ‘Intentional Attentiveness’. Nordic Journal Of Nursing Research, 30(4), 32-36.

Low, P. (2015). School counselling in Singapore: teachers’ thoughts and perceptions. Asia Pacific Journal Of Counselling And Psychotherapy, 6(1-2), 17-27.

Maxwell, C. (2013). Bereavement Counselling. Employee Counselling Today, 1(4), 8-13.

McLeod, J. (2014). Doing Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy (1st ed.). London: SAGE Publications.

Nelson-Jones, R. (2013). Introduction to counselling skills (1st ed.). Los Angeles, Calif.: SAGE.

Newton, T. (2013). Empathy in Psychotherapy: how therapists and clients understand each other. Counselling And Psychotherapy Research, 13(1), 81-82.

Reese, R. (2016). EcoWellness & Guiding Principles for the Ethical Integration of Nature into Counseling. International Journal For The Advancement Of Counselling, 38(4), 345-357.

Sharpley, C. & Sagris, A. (2013). Does eye contact increase counsellor-client rapport?. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 8(2), 145-155.

UNESCO Counselling Modules. (2017). Retrieved 8 March 2017, from

Vitelli, R., Galiani, R., Amodeo, A., Adamo, S., & Valerio, P. (2015). Psychotherapy and counselling in Italy: A situation still in the phase of definition. European Journal Of Psychotherapy & Counselling, 1(3), 459-474.

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