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Effective Counseling

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Characteristics and Behaviors of Effective Counseling
Adam Dollen
Characteristics and Behaviors of Effective Counseling So you want to be a counselor. Well, being a counselor is not necessarily about having the desire or education to help people. Being a counselor is about utilizing that desire and education in such a way to teach people how to heal (Erford, 2014). Effective counseling is not some award which is given upon receiving a degree from a university. Effective counseling is the proper usage of your characteristics and attained skills to bring out the best in your clients (Erford, 2014).
Effective Characteristics Effective characteristics are vitally important to the success of the counselor. They are a means of motivation and connection with a client (Erford, 2014). Without such the counseling relationship is ineffective and the client is left in the same state of wanting as they were before they came to see you. Let’s briefly look at a couple of effective characteristics in order to see the impact they have on the counseling relationship.
Characteristic One Most people enter the counseling profession for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the greatest reason for becoming a counselor is the desire to help people (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). For one circumstance or another, their many experiences in life have led them to desire to seek out people needing help. This desire to help is one characteristic of being an effective counselor. In our case study it is clear that Steve has the desire to help Bill to overcome his anger problem. Helping is an effective characteristic in the counseling relationship because it allows you to connect with your client and become a part of the healing process (Erford, 2014). Steve helped Bill through the process of discovering why he is seemingly angry all the time by brainstorming possible causes (Erford, 2014).
Characteristic Two The second characteristic of effective counseling from the case study is empathy. Empathy in the counseling relationship allows the counselor to understand what the client is going through (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). Steve displayed the characteristic of empathy with his client Bill through the utilization of active listening techniques and application (Erford, 2014).
Ineffective Characteristics Effective characteristics are essential to the counseling relationship. Likewise, ineffective characteristics can produce further damage to the client (Erford, 2014). Not only can ineffective characteristics cause more damage to the client it also has the ability to paralyze the healing process. (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). To put this succinctly, when a counselor displays ineffective characteristics in the counseling relationship, the client is the one who loses. They have placed a significant amount of trust in the professional counselor and in return have been given more hurt on top of the reason for their visit in the first place.
Characteristic One In our case study, Steve was not 100% effective in his approach to helping Bill. Steve displayed an arrogance which did not help with the healing process. Bill was relaying to Steve why he believed he had a problem with his anger and Steve attempted to paraphrase what had been said only to accuse Bill of threatening his wife. To top it off he even suggested bringing in Bills wife to counsel her. Steve exhibited arrogance in the fact that he appeared to be better than Bill, instead of simply being a person who is there to help (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). In this instance, Steve failed to create a working alliance with Bill to form an atmosphere that is therapeutically essential to the healing process (Erford, 2014).
Characteristic Two The second ineffective characteristic from the case study is how Steve failed to establish structure in the counseling relationship. It was clear in the case study that Bill was out of his comfort zone and displayed anxiety in wanting to receive counseling (Erford, 2014). In setting the counseling relationship up with an understanding of expectations and understanding of the counseling process Steve could have better helped Bill with his apparent anxiety.
Impact of Counselor’s Characteristics on the Session The impacts of the mental health counselor’s characteristics are vital to the healing process. From our case study we saw two effective characteristics and two ineffective characteristics displayed by the counselor. It is the belief of this writer that while Steve exhibited some characteristics which could have proven to be damaging to the healing process, in this case his effectiveness proved to be of greater magnitude. The client left the session feeling enlightened by the discovery of how his past experiences with his mother was being projected on his family. The counseling relationship is infused with both an art and science of helping (Erford, 2014). Having the proper knowledge of techniques and theories is essential to helping clients learn to either cope or heal (Erford, 2014). The art of helping clients lies essentially on utilizing characteristics and personalities of the counselor to impact the outcome of counseling relationship (Erford, 2014). The application of effective characteristics of the professional counselor is the motivation the client needs to be able to work together with the counselor in the healing process.

References
Erford, B. (2014). Orientation to the Counseling Profession: Advocacy, ethics, and essential professional foundations. New Jersey: Pearson.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Counseling characteristics. Baltimore, MD: Author.…...

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