Student Affairs Career

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Student Affairs Career

Student Affairs Career

After reading, viewing, thinking and talking over this question, I came up with the following two informal attempts at defining what a counsellor is.

1. A counsellor is someone who (by agreement) helps another in the process of sorting out a problem. To put it another way, counselling is an interaction between two people where a person who is trying to sort something out, uses the help of another.

2. A counsellor listens to a client, paraphrases what he or she says, in the process the client might learn something.

More formal definitions of a counsellor might include terms like engagement, dialogue, well being, and therapeutic change. In this essay my analysis and discussion will be fairly informal.

Discussion Any attempt to define what a counsellor is will raise more questions than it answers. These questions may include why seek counselling; what is the counselor's role and skills; is change possible*; and how does a counsellor differ from other family, social or professional contacts? Why Counselling? Why does anyone need/want/seek/require counselling? The first of my definitions implies that counselling is for problem solving. My second definition of counselling attempts to avoid the problem/fixer definition by saying that counselling is simply about learning. Both my definitions suggest that counselling is a process where the client will gain some resolution or understanding about one or more issues or problems. Counseling is about personal change. Why is it that people need to resort counsellors for problem solving anyway? One answer is that counsellors have developed skills that are found to be useful in problem solving. This implies that a counsellor is someone who is skilled in facilitating this process.

What are counselling skills? Listening Counselling is a process, counselling is more than just listening. Obviously a counsellor will be a good listener in that they will pay attention to what the client is saying. Good listening skills are a basic requirement.

Specific Counselling Skills On top of listening skills, a counsellor will need to be able to think about the client and the client's problems. What the counsellor does next will depend on their philosophy, experience and training. Simple counselling skills include paraphrasing what the client has said. Psychoanalytic techniques might include asking the client about related early memories. A currently contentious technique is self-disclosure, where the counsellor reveals personal information to the client. The idea is that this will engender confidence in the client by demonstrating how genuine the counsellor is. My position here is that trust is an important component in the client-counsellor relationship and that self-disclosure may appropriate if it comes from being real.

Research on the effects of clinical supervision on school counsellors is rare (Crutchfield & Borders, 1997; Roberts & Borders, 1994; Sutton & Page, 1994). Just one ongoing clinical supervision program of school counsellors was found in a literature search, but other than informal comments from the participants, the authors did not report formal evaluation findings (Henderson & Lampe, 1992). Two peer group, clinical supervision programs have been described ...
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