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In many ways, counselling might be a profession with one of the most ambivalent audiences of all. There are so many different takes on what makes a good counsellor, and what the requirements to become one should be. This is because of the flexibility in the regulation of counselling, and the degree to which counsellors are educated. While this is a controversial aspect of the profession, it is because of these same factors that counselling skills are accessible and have the potential to be implemented across a range of areas.
What is counselling
Firstly, a brief overview: counselling involves therapy, on a talk-basis, that aims to help people develop self-understanding, and make positive change. The factor that differentiates counselling from other forms of therapy such as psychiatry and psychology is that it is significantly less regulated; although there are university degrees and registration bodies for counsellors, someone can still call themself a counsellor with as little as a short online course.
While this means that some counsellors are more trained than others, this isn’t to say that they do not play a valuable role, on a more in-depth scale, Upskilled explains the importance of counselling skills well, with useful insight into specific techniques and results that a counsellor will experience. Even less-educated counsellors provided they are responsible in their practice, can offer great benefit on a less intensive scale. Often, counsellors that might have underwhelming credentials, but many years of talk therapy experience can be some of the best counsellors in the industry.
The accessibility and flexibility of counselling education
The demand for varied skills and knowledge throughout this industry means that there is an abundance of training options available. Whether someone wants to learn the basics of counselling online in order to improve upon their interconnectivity skills or wants to undertake a more intensive bachelor’s degree as a career path, either option is available and viable.
In addition to this accessibility and flexibility, counselling skills have potentially very broad applications – as mentioned earlier, a person might be looking at counselling as a career path, or may only want to upskill and improve their interpersonal skills. Even in careers such as teaching, human resources management, or any interpersonal role, counselling can be extremely beneficial.
As a whole, this accessibility and broad application mean that counselling is viable and useful even in improving day-to-day relationships with coworkers, family and friends.
What makes a good counsellor?
Just because education surrounding counselling skills is accessible, this does not mean that becoming a good professional counsellor is a given. There are still plenty of traits, skills and other factors that a counsellor needs to demonstrate in order to be considered good at what he does.
Using and developing skills such as patience, empathy, and ultimately continuing to learn and develop as a counsellor are important factors that make a good counsellor. Additionally, they will need to be clear, able to steer the conversation in the right direction, and shouldn’t let their personal life interfere with their job. Professionally, a good counsellor would likely have had either in-depth education or many years of experience.
Ultimately, a one size fits all approach to counselling doesn’t work, and evidently, therapy can do more harm than good if not implemented correctly, which demonstrates the importance of care and responsibility in being a counsellor.
Today, with rapidly developing technologies and quickly changing ways of living, the counselling industry is seeing a shift in the way its services are provided. Pushed further by the lockdowns of COVID-19, not only has this stressful and impactful situation resulted in increased counselling demand, but the industry has seen a shift towards online counselling as well.
The application of counselling today
Increased counselling demand during lockdown is a result of many factors; increased stress regarding relationships with friends and family, difficulty in students shifting to online study, and a lack of recreational options and freedom are a few. Today, counselling has never been more accessible or helpful.
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