Before pursuing a career in counseling, consider whether or not you’re a good fit for this occupation. After all, counselors are healthcare professionals with whom clients build a therapeutic relationship of trust through talk-based therapy.
Not to mention, counselors train to be objective when administering treatment to their patients. A counseling career will help people cope with relationship issues, addiction, anxiety, depression, and other everyday mental health challenges.
So, ask yourself, do you have what it takes to become a successful, effective counselor? To answer this question and to know if you’ll be an excellent counselor, you need to hone a few skills and traits.
So, whether you’re considering a counseling degree or looking to start your private counseling practice, the following interpersonal and soft skills will help you go a long way in the counseling field.
Some of these skills traits and skills are listed down below.
An excellent counselor is well-educated.
Remember, education is something that forms the basis of every profession. Formal education will allow you to extend the scope of your work, and relevant work experience will help take your counseling career to the next level. So getting your basics down will make your journey to becoming an excellent counselor a whole lot easier.
So, get all the experience you can, ask the right questions, and study hard while earning a graduate degree like a masters of arts in counseling online or a doctoral degree.
If you’re on the path to acquiring further education in clinical counseling, you’ve already taken an essential step to becoming an excellent counselor.
An excellent counselor is confident.
When working as a counselor, you must always be confident in your abilities and the services you provide your clients. When a patient suffering from a mental health issue comes to you with a problem, you must provide them with assistance and clear guidance.
So, as a mental health professional, you must be aware of the latest breakthroughs in your field and constantly search for ways to improve your skillset.
In the end, counseling doesn’t always mean knowing everything; instead, it is all about understanding and learning new ways to improve your confidence and develop a plan to help clients cope with their mental health issues more effectively.
Whether you’re new to the counseling profession or a licensed counselor for years, you must be confident in your work and counseling skills.
An excellent counselor understands the importance of communication.
While every client or patient will be different, you’ll have to deal with individuals who will need time to warm up to you. On the other hand, some clients will be more open to you from the start.
An excellent counselor will personalize communication methods to cater to specific clients. While doing so, remain aware of personal biases that might create barriers within the therapeutic relationship.
It would be best to consider differences when studying patient background, culture, and ethnicity that might hinder the care process.
That said, individuals should seek out necessary clinical supervision or take a short course to hone their communication skills.
The more effective your communication is with your clients, the better your chances are of solving their problems.
An excellent counselor is non-judgemental and respectful.
As a counselor, you have to respect every patient, their struggles, beliefs and avoid asserting your personal beliefs and values onto them at all costs.
According to the ACA Code of Ethics, counselors must always be aware of and avoid imposing their beliefs and attitudes if they want treatment to be effective.
In addition, a counselor must utilize self-disclosure appropriately to build and improve a better therapeutic relationship with their clients.
Research shows that a solid therapeutic client-counselor relationship or alliance is an excellent predictor of success.
So, consider forming a good relationship with your patients and clients by building trust and developing a treatment plan formulated according to therapeutic goals. Remember to take on a collaborative approach to achieve these goals.
An excellent counselor is always self-aware.
As a counselor, you must be aware of your struggles to help deal with challenging and emotional cases. An example would be dealing with childhood trauma; maybe you experienced the same issues your clients face.
So, as a mental health professional, you need to be self-aware and understand how this trauma will impact you. You must learn to separate yourself from these issues so they don’t affect your clients’ quality of care.
According to numerous counselors, their personal experiences are significant reasons they entered the counseling field.
So, it would be wise to use these past experiences to strengthen yourself and your counseling practice instead of allowing them to become a hindrance.
An excellent counselor is organized.
Effective counselors are always organized within their practice, making it easier to provide patients with practical advice.
For instance, proper organization and storage of schedules, paperwork, and confidential patient information show that you’re running a tight ship, giving clients confidence in the counseling process.
While you provide your patients with a greater sense of well-being through your organizational skills, you will assure them that they’re in the right hands.
Doing so will improve trust and provide more space for an effective and efficient counseling process.
When you’re working as a professional counselor, you’ll have to deal with unpredictability every step of the way. Not to mention, there will be times when you’ll have to leave your comfort zone to accommodate your clients’ needs.
But, by improving upon the traits mentioned in this article, you will set yourself on the pathway to success, and hopefully, become the best counselor that you can be.