Counseling is the process of talking therapy, allowing individuals to discourse their problems with experts in a serene and safe environment (YALÇIN, 2022). Experts or counselors support their clients in speaking out about their problems in detail to pinpoint the primary trigger behind them. Moreover, they assist clients in developing an action plan to face or overcome the issue (YALÇIN, 2022). The counseling process can take place in various formats, such as face-face, telephone, group, and online counseling. However, this paper is critically looking at the importance of communicating effectively, the micro-skills that should be applied in a counseling session, and the strengths and weaknesses of a counselor.
The Importance of Communicating Effectively in a Counselling Process
In our daily life, the art of effective communication is very vital and everyone should create room for continuous learning, growth, and development of their talents (Lee at el., 2022). The merits of having good skills in communication are many and they positively influence personal and professional life. For example, a firm that promotes the importance of excellent communication results in employees understanding their roles and responsibility and aid in building trustworthiness and positivity in clients’ relationships and colleagues (YALÇIN, 2022). Therefore, good communication skills assist greatly in minimizing errors and failures.
Trust falls as the fast benefit of communicating effectively. Trust refers to the capacity to listen to others, discuss opinions or suggestions, and embrace dialogue to demonstrate to others the wish to make the right decision for the group or a firm. Furthermore, communication can help build trust between an employee and the supervisor by completing tasks, giving opinions and ideas, and setting objectives for themselves and the business (Lee at el., 2022). Thus, it is very crucial to trust individuals around your working environment as well as the clients.
The second merit of effective communication is team building. Communication is key for all team members in any business, regardless of whether the responsibility of tasks is divided among multiple individuals. Effective communication helps all team members know their responsibility and better understand their expectations and duties as a team (Plotkin & Shochet, 2018). Additionally, good communication creates a more positive working condition for both parties involved and they can discuss any matter with the assurance of trust and loyalty.
Better relationships between the expert and client are the third merit. It is considered true in both professional and personal lives. However, in the workstation, paying attention to someone by listening to what others are saying, responding, and providing suggestions to them shows mutual respect and helps the individual feel heard (Plotkin & Shochet, 2018). Moreover, business or professional receives a referral from their clients under the positive impression they make to their clients through excellent communication.
The fourth merit of communicating effectively is increased productivity and engagement among parties. Experts with all necessary tools work confidently as they are familiar with what is expected of them by engaging with their job and workstation. Professionals who engage intently with their duties possess a good understanding of their roles and responsibilities (Plotkin & Shochet, 2018). Moreover, they are less concerned about other issues and distractions at the workplace and they fully focus on the issues at hand, thus, increasing productivity.
Increased job satisfaction and problem-solving are other benefits of good communication. Professionals who always feel trusted by their clients who endorse effective communication are likelier to experience better job satisfaction. A conducive environment for both team members positively impacts what is expected (Plotkin & Shochet, 2018). Moreover, good communication is the most crucial part of solving and stopping problems; thus, as a professional is important to engage everyone to speak and bring a solution that is agreeable to both parties involved.
Micro-Skills that a Counsellor Has to Apply in a Counselling Session
Micro-skills in counseling are particular skills that a counselor can use to boost their communication with the clients effectively. Micro skills empower a counselor to successfully build a working association and engage clients in the discussion, which is both supportive and significant. In this section, a discussion of five core skills of counseling that can assist a client in accessing their deepest opinions or explaining their future dreams is conducted (Saputro & Wangid, 2022). They include attending to behavior, questioning, confrontation, reflection on meaning, and focusing.
Counselors should portray attending behavior to their clients. Attending is the behavioral aspect of constructing a connection. When a counselor first meets with a client, they should always indicate their interest in listening to them and offering them help (Lee at el., 2022). Additionally, attending helps counselors to encourage the clients to talk and open up about their problems. Maintaining normal eye contact is crucial and polite when speaking or listening to another individual. As the client continues to speak, the counselor can either lean forward to show empathy and understanding or slowly slide back into the chair to assume a more relaxed sitting position (Saputro & Wangid, 2022). If a rapport has been established between the client and the counselor, the client is likely to follow suit. This will help the client to alleviate the anxiety.
During the counseling session, questions can help to open up new areas of discussion. They can help pinpoint an issue and clarify information that may appear ambiguous to the counselor. Questions that prompt clients to think or recall information can help them on their journey of self-discovery. Counselors should be familiar with the various kinds of questioning techniques, as well as their appropriate application and expected outcomes (Saputro & Wangid, 2022). It is critical to be aware of and cautious of too much questioning. Asking too many questions expresses to the client that the counselor is in command and may even create a situation in which the client believes the counselor has all the answers.
Additionally, it is important to consider the nature of the client, their ongoing relationship with the counselor, and the matters at hand when deciding on effective questioning techniques. In counseling, two types of questions are commonly used; open and closed. Open questions are questions that cannot be answered in a few words; they encourage the client to speak and allow the counselor to gather information about the client and their concerns, while closed questions are those that can be answered with a single word and assist the counselor in focusing the client or obtaining very specific information (Saputro & Wangid, 2022).
The third micro-skills that a counselor should have is confrontation. Generally, the term confrontation refers to challenging another individual over a difference or disagreement. Confrontation, as a counseling skill, is an attempt by the counselor to softly bring something to the client’s attention that they may have overlooked or evaded. In counseling, there are three steps to confrontation. The first step is to recognize mixed or incongruent messages. The second step requires the counselor to bring these inconsistencies to the client’s attention and assist the client in working through them (Saputro & Wangid, 2022). Finally, step three involves assessing the intervention’s effectiveness as evidenced by the client’s change and growth.
Reflection of meaning is fourth and refers to the deeply held thoughts and meanings that underpin life experiences. Clients will search deeper into aspects of their own life experiences if the counselor uses the reflection of meaning in their work (Saputro & Wangid, 2022). Consider two people who go on vacation to the same island resort at the same time of year. One of them extols the wonders of sunsets, beach walks, and a relaxed way of life. While the other complaints about the heat, sunburn, and boredom. This example demonstrates how the same event can have completely different meanings for different people who witness it (Katz at el., 2021). As a result, the skill of meaning reflection is to help clients explore their life values and goals by understanding the deeper aspects of their experiences.
Focus is the fifth micro-skills and counselors have various areas to put focus on. The first is the individual focus, in which the counselor begins the counseling session by focusing totally on the client’s aspects; demographics, history, and the reasons for seeking counseling from the client. The counselor will frequently use the client’s name to help focus the client’s attention. The second is the main theme or issue (Saputro & Wangid, 2022). The reason why the client sought counseling is given special consideration. The interviewer’s focus is where the counselor may reveal individual data. Finally, consider the cultural and environmental aspects. The counselor will know how the society in which the client lives influences them, but this can be extended to other issues such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status to gain a better appreciation of the individual the client is now.
The Strengths of Counsellors Relating to Micro-Skills of Counselling
Counselors have the quality of attending and listening to their clients. Since they are trained listeners and have been taught to make unknown people feel comfortable enough to confide in them (Katz at el., 2021). Counselors are required to put worthy effort into rapport information. This necessitates them to be attentive to the client, paying attention to their verbal and nonverbal communication, and listening without judgment. They can set aside their personal beliefs and opinions to treat each client with dignity and respect.
Empathy is the second attribute of a counselor. When the counselor expresses regard and respect for the client’s experiences, feelings, and thoughts, this is referred to as empathy. It differs from sympathy in that the counselor does not feel sorry for them. Instead, they can put themselves in the client’s shoes and validate their point of view. This necessitates a genuine interest in other people, which most counseling professionals possess (Katz et el., 2021). The counselor uses empathy to make the client feel heard, understood, and respected. Counselors typically employ a variety of techniques to express empathy. Some examples include summarizing, paraphrasing, asking pertinent questions, and emphasizing the client’s strength and resilience.
The Weakness of Counsellors Relating to Micro-Skills of Counselling
One of the major weaknesses counselors portray is losing their clients’ objective. This mostly happens when a counselor meets a client with issues similar to a past client. The counselor might end up judging and making conclusions fast without listening and creating a relationship with the client (Lee at el., 2022). This mostly leads to misdiagnosing by the counselor. The client might have trust issues with the counselor, hence killing the counselor-client relationship, where clients disagree with their counselors and end up feeling like it is a waste of time.
Another major weakness of a counselor is when they cross boundaries with their clients. This mostly happens during lapoo creation when the counselor is tempted to share his past traumas and experiences related to those of the clients (Lee et el., 2022). This enables the client to open up even more, but also it loses the professional boundary between the two as the client views the counselor in a different dimension and to some extent, clients criticize their counselors. This is a weakness that most counselors go through and they end up it losing it all through disclosing their own stories.
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