Counseling is a professional guidance for the client by using psychological skills. These skills include collecting clients history data Egan(2012), by using various methods of the personal session and testing individual interests and aptitudes.
The counselor’s goal is generally to guide or coach the individual toward opportunities that can be the best and concrete fulfillment of the client personal needs and interest. The counselor usually attempts to clear the client’s own thoughts rather than to solve his or her problems.
Before the session begins the counselor usually emphasize on attending skills, active listening, empathetic responding skills and the questioning skills. In the initial stage of the session of attending skill, the counselor will establish a warmth, hospitality and genuine approach to the client by exercising the eye contact to the client, body positioning so as not to missed anything that can be of importance. As mentioned by Egan(2012) the trained counselor will help clients in a way both physically and psychologically. The main purpose of attending skills is to explore clients deeper level of personal background, contextual events, the counselor will demonstrate empathetic responding skills and provide concrete emotion support to the clients. Egan(2012) has highlighted that the sitting position is crucial during the active listening skills session so as to capture some facial expression the verbal and nonverbal communication, listen for cognitive and emotional feelings, client body language behaviors, also to observe clients eye movement cues, also to take notes on client tone of voice, listen for clients distortion, silence, deletions and generalization. Sometimes active listening can be easy as prompting the client to continue talking by using easy interjections sounds such as “uh-huh” or “tell me more” or “really?”
During the active listening the counselor should always stay focus on the client explanation. The counselor should not be carry away by clients personal experiences and the counselor should not talk about their personal problems unless the clients ask. Otherwise counselors should assume that clients needs to talk about their personal things out. Sometimes the counselor needs to show to the clients by summarizing what the client has said regarding their lives barriers and their problems issues.
The empathetic responding skill, which is critical in the establishment of caring, trusting and support for the client. Empathetic responding is important showing that we understand the clients feelings is a concrete pathway of establishing rapport and is important ingredient in any helping relationship. These way the client will built the trust on the counselor and the client may be disclosing their personal secrets never before revealed and also listening to the clients sour notes Corey(2012). The counselor must understand the clients perception of themselves and their lives are totally distorted and thus the counselor should be to detect these gaps of distortion causing barriers in their lives Jones (2005). The counselor should observe the presenting problem and keep quiet when the client is talking. The trained counselor must maintain a certain emotional distance from the client in order for the therapy to be effective. The counselor must also recognized and respect clients culture, religion. age, status, gender, interest, family, environment and society. This may help and develop a better understanding between client and counselor relationship.
The responding skills are timing issues, paraphrasing the information such as repeat the clients words and thoughts. When paraphrasing the counselor may use words like sounds like, looks like, feels like; this gives the client more understanding the counselor takes a great depth in listening and responding to their problems Jones(2005). Next is communicating in a low tone voice in a way showing clients that this counselor showing concern and feeling emotion to their problems. By summarizing the factual facts collected from the client and show concern that you are deeply understanding the clients issues. Sometimes as a trained counselor our mind tends to drift away and we must know how and quickly pull ourselves back to the session, the counselor needs to say something about be struck and ask the client to repeat in a very professional way so that the client will not notice it. The counselor may use the interventions skills such as the open and closed questions, and also assist clients in making suggestion with their own interpretations. The trained counselors also knows when and how to use different skills for the different stages for the client problem solving.
The questioning skills is another important step to take because we check on our clients whether they have listened and understood what the clients have told the counselor earlier on at beginning stage. As inferred from Jones(2008) questioning the clients is a crucial steps to keep the conversation going. By questioning the client, the client will understand that the counselor is committed and show understanding in their lives problem. In the event of questioning the counselor can explore client barriers, to clarify or further interventions in clients problem issues, it gives the client the balanced view of their problem issues and also gives both the clients and counselor the positive direction during the counseling session Egan(2012). During the questioning the trained counselors must remind themselves about clients confidentiality and counselors professionalism when dealing with clients dignity and background. During the session the counselors must reinforce that the clients choose a wise choice by themselves in a way that will help move their choice plan forward Jones(2008).
During the session sometimes I find hard to recognize some of my clients body language such as my client will raise both of her hand up and then she will rest it on her head for a while. I tried to find an answer but in vain. Next my client will bit her nails when the questioning becomes tough for her to disclose her problem and I cannot understand what those actions are. The next limitations is turning action of my clients head from up then facing down, she will pause a little while facing down, and I really wonder what is the reason for doing that action. I tried to find the answers to all her body action by asking question related to body language but my client remain silence. This really handicaps me during the session. Next is the movement of her eyes from right to left, starring at me without moving her eyelids and this startled me from questioning her. Other limitations are their non verbal silence. The limitation for Counselors are, they are unable to solve all of life’s problems immediately as if by magic. Sometimes the client will be rubbing their fingers when the question ask was too intense and I wonder what is the meaning of their fingers action.All these actions limit me from conducting my session properly and promptly with my client and I need to gain more knowledge and experience to improve my limitation.
The challenges are some clients were unable to express themselves, maybe in fear, in anxiety and totally depended on counselors for understanding, support and accurate answers to their problem Egan(2012). This is quite a challenge for the trained counselors to find a solution to. In addition some clients required more counseling sessions and besides the clients have many questions which needs to be answered. Some clients have more than one problem and sometimes they have twisted and difficult questions which may take more counseling sessions and without readily available answers. It takes a great challenge to understand the non verbal and verbal words. The trained counselors are not magician with ready solution to all question and they too needs time to challenge all questions with an accurate solution for the clients. It is easier to ask more questions but finding the more satisfying answers or solution takes much longer time Jones(2008) . At times it is quite a challenge to help the clients who have suicidal intention, deeply emotional clients and providing this clients with empathetic skills, support and handling them cautiously. Some clients are delicate; we must have patience and understanding when handling the client’s issues with care. Next is the client body language movement gives the counselor a great vision to take note and it gives the counselor more clues about client problem, fear and anxiety.Some clients are very rigid and by questioning them very deeply,they will eventually give up and disclose their problem.Finding the root problem of the clients is every counselor challenge to help the clients.
The major challenges in the counseling were found to be related to the knowledge gap in the clients, lack of counseling skills among service providers related to constraints and limitations Egan(2012). Training of the counselors should be shorten so that we can meet the demand for the client to have shorter waiting time for their next counseling session. Counselors should also be trained to develop better skills and be more competent in order to improve counseling services. The government of the country can promote more recruitment in hiring more trainee counselors by increasing their salary, lower their payment for counseling schools and increase their benefits in order to meet the demand for more counselors. The government can subsidies the clients payment so that the clients will not cancel their counseling appointment because of payment. The schools can also promote their agenda to the government by granting more discounts on counseling course for the demand of more trained counselors. This action will be a relieve for some counselors who have been too exhausted for the lack of trained counselors to manage the clients. Finally all trained counselors must respect the clients issues and not make a mockery on their issues. The counselors must take initiative to improve on their competent so that the client gets a positive and concrete solution to change their lives journey.