Counselling can provide people with the opportunity to share their views, be heard and gain new perspectives on their situation and experiences.
Counselling can help people to gain clarity surrounding issues.
Together with their counsellor people identify and work towards achieving the desired outcomes and goals for counselling.
What is Professional Counselling?
Professional counselling can provide guidance to help people navigate life’s challenges.
According to 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling, the delegates comprised of 31 counseling organizations agreed upon a unified definition of counselling:
Professional counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.
Counselors work with clients on strategies to overcome obstacles and personal challenges that they are facing.
Professional counselling is a safe and confidential collaboration between qualified counsellors and clients to promote mental health and wellbeing, enhance self-understanding, and resolve identified concerns. Clients are active participants in the counselling process at every stage.
A Professional Counsellor may also be referred to as a Registered Counsellor or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) depending on the country or region in which they practice.
How Counselling Helps
Counselling is used to deal with a broad range of issues and problems that you may be facing.
Counselling can provide you with the opportunity to reassess or set new goals in your life and help you to gain clarity and direction.
Counselling can be used to address issues and problems within your relationship or provide mediation between you and your partner.
Counselling can help by allowing a very safe and private space for you to talk about issues and problems that are you having. These are problems that you may find difficult to talk to other people about because they feel very private. It may feel unsafe or uncomfortable to talk to your normal support network, friends or loved ones.
A professional counselor is trained and registered, and will provide you with a genuine, caring and empathic response to your problems. A trained counsellor will have tools and techniques that are evidence based. They can use these tools to support you or help you to move through the difficult, problem, feelings, behaviours, thoughts or situation that are you experiencing.
What is the Counselling Process?
The process of counselling is where individuals, couples or family members meet with a professional counselor to confidentially discuss problems in their lives.
The counsellor will draw on tools and techniques from their training and should provide understanding and empathy to their client, while their client works out how to move through the issues that they have brought to counselling.
During the process of counselling, goals will be identified, and this is the purpose of the counselling process. The goals can change if that is what the counselor and client see as beneficial.
Counselling is often client-centred, the goal is for the client to make the decision on the best course of action with the support of their therapist. The counsellor can provide tools, techniques, suggestions and homework.
Ultimately it is the client who needs to make the decision on what is best for themselves as a key part of the process.
Types of Counselling
Counsellors can specialize and train in different areas to help certain groups of people.
Types of counselling include –
- Relationship and Marriage
- Vocational and Career
- Family Therapy
- Drug and Alcohol
- Grief and Loss
- Sex Therapy
Types of counseling may also come from the method or approach that the counsellor uses such as; Behavioural, Cognitive, Systemic, Constructionist, Humanistic or Psychoanalytic.
Faith Based Denominational Counselling
Faith Based Denominational Counselling can be provided through a religious group such a Church or Mosque. It can include Christian Counselling, Muslim Counselling, Buddhist Counselling for example. It can centre around or support a person’s spirituality, faith, belief system and religion.
The benefit of using a denominational counsellor and a counsellor of the same cultural background, is that it may help with rapport and a genuine understanding of your spiritual beliefs and your religious practices and principles. If the therapist shares the same faith with you, they may have understanding of how your faith influences your options and decisions for your life.
Skills Required for Counseling
There are many skills that are required to be an effective counsellor. First and foremost the counsellor must be genuine and can establish rapport with their client. For therapy to be effective the client/counsellor relationship must be healthy, genuine, safe, nonjudgmental and professional.
That counsellors are caring, genuine and empathic to towards their clients.
Counsellors should use evidence based treatments from their formal training. Counsellors need to have a very large set of skills in their ‘tool box’ as every human and their situation is so different. Counsellors need to undergo professional development to keep their skill set current and up to date, utilizing best practice methods.
Not every counsellor can help every client. Counselors will need to have a strong community network and resources as part of their skill set. They will need to be able to recognize when they can not help someone and refer clients to alternative mental health supports for counseling.
Finding a Counsellor
Often people will engage in counselling when a crisis has occurred in their lives.
When searching for an appropriate counselling service, don’t be afraid to ask the counsellor questions.
Counsellors will specialise in different areas. You may like to ask the counsellor –
- if they have a particular area of expertise (such as marriage counselling or grief and loss)
- what each session will cost
- the amount of sessions that may be required to achieve your goals for counselling
To ensure that you will receive a professional counselling service, ask your counsellor or psychologist if they are member of one of the peak professional bodies in Australia, such as the Australian Counselling Association and if they adhere to a Professional Code of Ethics.