Discuss how the skills and practises used by a professional counsellor differ from those used in other helping relationships. In addition we would like you to evaluate your own qualities and skills and identify what you think it is necessary to do to progress in the profession. ” Part 1 Counselling can be defined as a form of helping people that is primarily focused on helping someone, however there are many definitions of counselling, each with a different role, process and theory. Counselling can be diverse and reflects the stressful busy lives put upon our current society.
This essay will discuss the ways in which define counselling and how that would differ from the many other various roles played in society focused on a persons needs and aims. Firstly this essay will consider how we define counselling in order that we can differentiate this as a profession when compared to other such roles such as nurses, teachers, carers and friends. One definition states counselling “denotes a professional relationship”, where as BAC states that the term counselling “includes work with individuals and with relationships which may be guiding or problem solving”. McLeod p14). Whilst it is difficult to prescribe exactly what constitutes counselling, it can be seen that all definitions seem to agree that there has to be a relationship formed for the counselling to be affective, particularly with centre approach counselling which relies heavily upon a non judgemental, open relationship. Counselling is voluntarily entered into by the person seeking help, and offers the opportunity to identify things for the client. It is clearly and explicitly contracted and the boundaries of the relationship identified.
The activity itself is designed to help self-exploration and understanding. The process should help to identify thoughts, emotions and behaviours that, once assessed, may offer the client a greater sense of personal resources and self-determined change (McLeod p23). As already mentioned there are various other professions who provide advice, listen and offer support but these are more skills based and quite often a by product of the service they are provided i. e. a carer has to listen whilst she is preparing medicines, daily tasks.
Professionals meet people in emotive situations and crises, and gain information to provide a service. The professional has an outcome leading them to use counselling skills. Duration of a counselling relationship is more likely determined by the client, other professionals maintain involvement and support until they achieve their aims. A counsellor has no personal or business aim from the interaction. Counselling is individually tailored; it is flexible and dynamic, changing to incorporate client experience. Time is centred solely on the client.
Counselling enables the client to identify behaviour and emotions that are limiting; unlike other helping relationships such as doctors there is medicine there is no formal diagnosis, or prescription. The client receives a non-judgemental, safe place to express themselves without fear. What troubles one person challenges and motivates another; counselling is open to all at any time. “An approach to counselling that was, for example, purely scientific or purely religious in nature would soon be seen not to be counselling at all, in its denial of key areas of client and practitioner experience. Some form of counselling can be lead by religion, this is not client focused and merely aims to tell people what they should do, counsellors would have no place in giving such guidance or advice. Counselling has a strong code of ethics and boundaries. The counsellor will normally follow the ethical code of a professional body, e. g. the BACP Ethical Framework. Elsewhere, “people using helping skills in other roles may be bound by ethical codes, but those will relate to the responsibilities of that role. (UK & Ireland Directory of Counselling and Psychotherapy. ) Counselling services in other roles have guidelines from their profession governing their conduct and qualifications. The guidelines from their profession potentially limit the service available, and whilst counselling skills are used, it cannot be counselling. Counselling relies on confidentiality, and potential for ‘safe’ disclosure. Counselling is “more disciplined and confidential than friendship” (Feltham and Dryden 1993. Counsellors tend to have no other role in the clients life, not friend, colleague or acquaintance. This enables honest dialogue without fear of losing another relationship, and ceases any blurred boundaries due to friendship circles and gossip. Other services can manage several roles, e. g. your neighbour being your child’s teacher, or attending an aerobic class and seeing your doctor. Neither professional compromises their capacity to offer a service by knowing you from elsewhere, nor would you be likely to engage with them differently due to it.
Counsellors maintain professional distance, and there is little reason for the client to know any personal details of the counsellor; the counsellor is unlikely to discuss personal experience as a tool for helping their client. Other services may offer advice and offer up personal experience, and experience of others to validate options and provide reassurance – in a counselling relationship the options are presented equally, and the fear, anticipation and limitations of the individual determine the path taken. Confidentiality is essential, and the client must feel happy making disclosures.
Instances where confidentiality may be broken should be clear from the contracting stage of the relationship – i. e. if the client was a risk to themselves or others. A client may leave the setting and discuss whatever they wish with whomever they like. A counsellor is unlikely to discuss any information outside the session, other services, such as Police and Social Services, usually gather information to be used elsewhere and confidentiality is not guaranteed. In hospital, a patient meets several nurses, and professionals and their situation would need to be discussed sometimes to agree the next course of action.
Counselling relationships differ in that the bond is built between the client and counsellor, not the ‘service. ’ In conclusion it is difficult to determine what exactly counselling is and what exactly makes it works, – not all clients require the same treatment, seek the same outcome, or have the same limitations. However this essay has shown that counselling has no specific goals, targets or ambitions for their clients such other services, like the Police, which have defined goals determining their intervention.
Services which limit participants, participation and have an underlying aim cannot offer a true counselling service. Counselling skills have meaningful applications in front-line professions and everyday life, helping to promote good relationships, resolve conflicts and improve understanding of ourselves and our interactions. Word count 1025 References: McLeod, J. (2008) What is counselling? In Mcleod, J. (2008). Introduction to counselling (ed. D. Langdridge), Maidenhead/Milton Keynes, Open University Press/The Open University.