One of the vital components of
counseling is the attitude of the
counselor. Some attitudes, such as being
closed to new experiences, can impede
the counseling process.
The counselor attitudes of particular relevance to
counseling fall into five categories:
1. Openness toward self
2. Openness toward clients
3. Openness toward colleagues
4. Openness toward supervisors
5. Openness toward counseling
willingness to learn, willingness to try new things and to see alternatives.
viewing then as individuals seeking assistance, as complex individuals who are not helpless,
as partners in the process.
viewing them as colleagues, not competitors, with experiences and ideas that are valuable.
viewing them as colleagues with unique and relevant experiences.
the counseling process is often a developing, evolving process wherein the client’s skills and resources are developed. The
counselor does not solve the problem, but offers alternatives and teaches/facilitates the client’s problem-solving process.
Other attitude a counselor must possess:
- Delighted attention (smiling)
- Loving Eye contact (without staring)
- Exquisite listening (lean forward with interest)
- Viewing the counselee as whole, wise,
intelligent, utterly capable, and divine
Skills for counseling are initially very
similar to social skills. Counselors are usually
interested in connection with others. Here are
some ideas for social skills and how to express
them which will be magnified in the
- They smile and share their
good mood with others.
- They know how to "small talk" and don't find
it offensive or demeaning to do so.
- They ask the people they interact with about
themselves, expressing interest in their life
and interests. They know that people like to
talk about themselves, and will typically
appreciate the audience.
They understand that it is inappropriate (and often frightening) for people to share too
much too soon. Small talk is a way of sharing very little, but still expressing interest in
another person. After a little small talk, people feel more comfortable, and (depending on
the relationship and the situation) deeper subjects may be brought up.
- They use body language to communicate their
* They lean forward slightly rather than reclining backwards
* They look at people when they talk to them, making eye
* Their arms and legs are open, rather than crossed and closed.
* They do their best to remember the contents of
conversations, and show people they remember when they
meet again. They know that people are appreciative of being
* They are polite. For example, they say, "Thank you" when
someone makes them a compliment, and "I'm sorry", when
they want to express concern or apologize.
* They make sure they are reasonably well groomed, so that
people don't look at them and form a negative first
* They behave reasonably well, showing awareness that they
are in a public place. For example, they don't pick their nose
or scratch their buttocks.
* They are willing to be vulnerable as becomes appropriate to
the situations they find themselves in. They aren't closed
people, but instead are willing to share themselves
appropriately. They are sensitive to the possibility of
oversharing (saying too much, too soon), and avoid doing
- They use body language to communicate their
According to Cormier and Cormier (1985), the
most effective helper is one who has
successfully achieved a balance of
interpersonal and technical components. They
list six characteristics of effective counselors
1. Intellectually Competent
counsellors must have thorough knowledge of many theories as well
as the desire and ability to learn
Counseling is emotionally draining and physically demanding. Counselors
must have the ability to be active in their sessions
Effective counselors are not tied to one specific theory or set of methods.
Instead, they adapt what they do to meet the needs of their clients
the counsellor supports the client in making his or her own
decisions, help engender hope and power and avoid trying to
rescue the client
the nature of good will encompasses such qualities as the counselor’s desire to
work on behalf of the client in the constructive way that ethically promotes client
this characteristic includes knowledge of one’s self including attitudes and feelings about
self, and the ability to recognize how and what factors affect those attitudes and feelings.
• Open to, and aware of, their own experiences
• Aware of their own values and beliefs
• Able to develop warm and deep relationship with
• Able to allow themselves be seen by others as
they actually are
• Able to accept personal responsibility for their
• Should have a realistic level of aspiration