Having a career in counseling entails a lot of things. Counselors work with diverse populations with varying needs. There is more to a career than educational qualifications. You need to have specific skills to keep you in front of the competition and to help you become a better counselor. Here are some skills that you might need for the job.
1. Interest in others
It may not seem like a skill, but it is an integral part of your counseling career. For you to have effective counseling sessions, you need to have a genuine interest in meeting and socializing with new people. People come to you with their problems. If they feel like you are not interested in their lives, they will look for help elsewhere. Being interested in other people’s lives will help you communicate with them better and be with them during the good and bad times. Without human connection, your career will fail.
2. The ability to self-reflect
When you are a student, you are taught to look, act, and think well. To be a good therapist, it is vital to be able to self-reflect. A healthy therapist translates to a better working one. If you cannot self-reflect, you will not be able to relate and empathize with your clients. During a counseling session, you need to practice critical thinking and demonstrate excellent academic skills with the client. Through reflecting on yourself, you can relate to clients better and have a positive impact on your life and that of the client.
3. Impeccable listening skills
If you cannot actively listen, then you cannot be a therapist. It is the most basic skill a therapist has to have. You need to be able to actively listen to your clients so you can learn more about their lives and problems and what you can do to help make their situations better. You should be able to listen between the lines and guide the client to reveal their feelings.
A good therapist listens without passing judgment. Clients want to feel like they are in a safe place where they can talk about anything. They will come to you with complicated stories needing solutions from you. If you make them feel like you are passing judgment, they will close off, and this will not help them in their recovery.
Counselors need to have a non-reactive stance and know when to observe and evaluate. This will help you make an accurate assessment and create a connection with the client that will work in your favor.
Your clients must be able to access you when they need you. This will help gain their trust. You will appear genuine, and your clients will be willing to work with you and recommend you to others.
You must be accessible on an emotional level with the client. An empathetic connection is essential as it leads to progress in the therapeutic process. It will help nurture a good counselor and client relationship.
Flexibility and open-mindedness are essential when it comes to therapy. To be a good counselor, you should have a good understanding of multicultural issues that come up during sessions.
Clients are unique. They all have different issues and experiences. For the therapy to be effective, you need to have an open mindset. You need to find the method that works for you to transition from one section to another without the client feeling unappreciated. This is developed from the initial sessions and varies with each client. However, you need to remember that you cannot be everything to your client. If you find the client relying on the therapist too much, it is a red flag that should not be ignored.
You also need to know when you and the client do not go together. Try to work your issues out by improving communication between both parties. You can also try to figure out the problem and getting a solution. If all this fails, you can refer the client to another therapist.
6. Good sense of humor
You will have to listen to scary and sometimes traumatic stories. Even as the therapist, you need to laugh once in a while. Timing is everything as you do not want to make a joke at the wrong moment. One mistake, and your client will think you are not serious and look for help somewhere else. However, with the right timing, you can lighten the mood and make the client feel better. A good laugh sometimes can make everything look better.
There are several ways you can earn from being a therapist. One of the ways is through becoming an online therapist. To make counseling readily available, you can consider offering your services online. The client can access your services from their remote locations without having to be at your practice physically. As a professional counselor, you can earn more by availing your services to more clients. Some employers want to hire therapists to work on their sites.
You need to have the right information when it comes to having a career in counseling. You can learn what counseling entails and how you can earn from it. Getting the correct information will make you decide wisely and see if the career is right for you. With these skills and an open mind, you will find yourself scaling the heights of your career and helping people in the process.