• Internal Code :
  • Subject Code : COU104A
  • University : Jansen Newman Institute
  • Subject Name : social sciences

Reflective journal: counselling skills

Introduction

The reflective journal will focus on understanding the skills that are necessary for effective counselling. The particular work will help to identify the skills that play a crucial role in the counselling process. Counsellors use the basic counselling skills to understand the clients more efficiently. Furthermore, effective listening, empathy, clarifying skills are some of the important skills that enhance the process of counselling. Some theories and practices are widely used to improve the counselling process. The reflective journal will portray the different situations that increase the need for counselling. It further provides knowledge about how counsellors deal with different clients. The main aim of assessing different journals is to understand the role of core counselling skills and identifying the strategies for improvements.

Week 1

In this module, I have learned about the counselling and various theories that play a major role in counselling (Cowie & Pecherek, 2017). Before starting this module, I did not know the importance of counselling but now I clearly understood that it is highly beneficial for someone who is facing issues in their personal and professional life. I also take the help of some examples and real-life cases to understand the concepts more clearly. According to me, core skills help to build a strong relationship between counsellor and client. I have understood that problems and crises increase the need for counselling. With the help of counselling, a person can discuss their personal matters with counsellors. I also believe that trust and openness is the key to effective counselling as the counsellor uses these skills to gain the trust of the client. I have learned that counsellor focus on short term and long term goals to evaluate the situation of clients. Furthermore, I found that counsellor should be an active listener so that he can understand the problem and situation of the client. I agree with the fact that communication, verbal and non-verbal skills are used by the counsellor to understand the story of the client (Myers, 2018). The module clarifies that the counsellor uses the counselling skills to bring about the emotional and behavioral change. Although I face difficulties in understanding some concepts like the MC model afterwards I understood its role in counselling. I have also become aware of the role of social learning and cognitive theories in counselling. I have understood that these theories are highly beneficial for learners who want to gain insight into the core concepts of counselling. 

Week 2

Reading McLeod and McLeod (2011) counselling skills lead me to reflect on the active and passive engagement and the role of empathy in the counselling process. Initially, I feel that the counsellor only listens to the issues of the client but after reading this module I understand that the counsellor's always fully engaged in the conversation to identify the issue. I also understood that self-efficacy counselling skills help the counsellor to motivate the client in the most effective manner. I also gained more information about therapeutic tools that are widely used by counsellors to solve the issues of the client. I have learned that the attitude of counsellor also plays an important role in engaging the client in the counselling process. I have also identified that congruency, empathy and unconditional positive regards are some of the major elements of successful counselling. According to me, sensitivity, attentiveness, understanding, supportive and warmth are also essential for effective counselling. In the beginning, I believe that counselling majorly depends on relationship and understanding between counsellor and client but successful counselling depends on the skills of the counsellor. Hence, as a counsellor, I hope to sensitively integrate the skills to achieve my goals and objectives more effectively and efficiently.

Week 3

This section allows me to evaluate the role of effective listening skills in building counsellor- client relationship (Deurzen & Adams, 2016). With the help of this topic, I understand that listening skills are highly useful in understanding the situation of the client. However, I believe that it is difficult to pay attention to some else’s story. Also, the minimal responses like ‘yes’, ‘ok’, ‘mmm’, ‘aha’ are the effective ways of showing that individual is engaged in the conversation. I have also learned about the new concept known as paraphrasing in counselling. I came to know that the paraphrasing concept which enables the counselor to rephrase the sentence to ensure that their understanding is accurate. Furthermore, I want to enhance these skills so that I will handle my clients in the most efficient manner. I will use the paraphrasing skills to make my sessions more effective. I believe that these skills are highly useful and effective for the beginners who started their career as counsellors (Alias, Mustafa, Muzlia, & Ahmad, 2017). According to me, time and effort are required to learn these skills. I have learned the importance of active listening in the counselling. Furthermore, I also believe that listening improves the understanding between counsellor and client.

Week 4

This week, I have learned about reflective listening skills in counselling process (Geldard, Geldard, & Foo, 2017). The counsellor should be able to understand the body language of the client in order to understand their emotions. With the help of an example, I have identified that counsellor’s use reflecting techniques to confirm whether they are understanding the client's situation correctly or not. I also understand that much of our communications occur via body language so one should able to understand the body language of their clients. With the help of non-verbal communication, one can understand the exact feeling of the clients. I came to know that the physical characterizes, eye behavior, tactile behavior, space, facial expressions play a crucial role in the counselling process. However, it is crucial to maintain direct eye contact with the client to covey a feeling of genuineness. According to me, these skills can be highly effective for enhancing the day to day work as they all focus on increasing the concentration level of the individual (Jones, 2015). I will use nonverbal communication skills to understand the feeling and behavior of my potential clients. Initially, I feel that it is easy to make a relationship with the client but now I believe that more efforts and knowledge is needed to understand the behavior of another person.

Week 5

In this section, I have learned about the open and close-ended questions, reframing and summarising in the effective counselling (Miller, 2018). In this particular week, I have identified the crucial techniques that are used by counsellors understand the theory of the story of their clients. I understand that effective questioning helps to explore the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the clients in the most effective manner. Despite the fact that close-ended questions also play a vital role in the counselling process. I believe that counsellor uses these questions to gain more exact information about the incident. I have also identified that open-ended questions are used to gain detailed information about the event. According to me, the counsellor asks an open-ended question when they ask about the home life or professional life of a person. At the end of the conversation, the counsellor summarises the main points like issues and problems that are affecting the day to day life of the client. I have learned about the role of open and close-ended questions in the counselling. I also believe that these questions can be used in an accurate understanding of other person's situations.

Week 6

In this section, I have learned about how people make their stories of their lives and how these stories influence feelings, behavior, and perceptions (Meekums, Macaskie, & Kapur, 2016). With the help of counselling, one can explain their problems and issues in the open environment. I have also learned that individual, cultural and personal differences influence the story of an individual. I have also identified that reflective learning skills help to explore the background and context of the story of the client. I learned that listening and observing skills helps to enhance the process of communication. I believe that these skills are highly beneficial for the managers or leaders who want to give resolve the issues of their employees. I can use these skills to deal with clients in the most efficient manner. Furthermore, I can use listening and observing skills to provide more valuable guidance to the affected person (Evans, 2015). I have also learned that there are some situations like poverty, unemployment, and illness which present more difficulties in front of the counsellor. In these cases, new counselors become confused as they cannot give money to an unemployed or homeless person. I believe that the new counsellors can handle these cases by providing suggestions and multiple solutions to the client. 

Week 7

In this module, I have learned about the application of normalizing in diffusing emotional states in counselling. I have learned about the new concept known as normalizing in which counsellor assists the client to understand that their response to a given situation is normal. I believe that this concept must be used in the workplace to encourage employees who are demotivated by specific situations or events. According to me, normalizing is an effective element as it helps to understand the complex situations more efficiently (Cowie & Sharp, 2017). Previously, I observed that people feel demotivated and sad due to some situations but now I can help them to realize that their behavior is acceptable and normal. I have also identified that some clients intentionally change the topic as they do not want to provide detail information about the event. In these cases, the counsellor can try to open up deeper and more meaningful communication with the client. I have learned that some painful incidents (death or separation) highly affect the individuals so they do not feel comfortable in providing more information about the incident. According to me, the counsellor must try to provide a comfortable and more relaxing environment to deal with these clients more efficiently. After learning this module, I will surely use normalizing skills to deal with complex situations. 

Week 8

In this module, I have explored the behaviors that are hard to change in counselling and understand the motivation behind the change. I have understood that a client may be afraid to take responsibility when they feel they make mistakes. In these cases, the clients blame other persons. I have also understood that counselling tool can be used to change the perception and behavior of the client. I have also learned about the five-stage model of change which helps to convert the negative behavior to positive behavior. I came to know that the model was developed concerning building positive behavior. I have identified a counsellor face ethical challenges in dealing with suicidal clients. I believe that more experience and knowledge are needed to deal with these types of clients. While learning this module I also feel that it should include the process of dealing with the complex clients and the methods and activities that make them feel more comfortable (Trotter, 2015). After learning this module some doubts occur like is there any specific training for dealing with the suicidal clients? Or are there any specific counselling tools that make them feel more comfortable?.

Week 9

In this module, I have learned about the role of caring and kindness in counselling and also understand the concept of metacommunication (Mahon, 2016). I have also gained knowledge about the concept of congruence. I have understood that a counsellor must be congruent to develop an atmosphere of trust. I have also understood that it is necessary to celebrate the achievements of the clients to make them more comfortable and motivated in the process. However, the ultimate aim of counselling is to understand the problem and achieve outcomes that enable the client to achieve happiness. I believe that the counsellor must possess active listening and problem-solving skills to understand the problems of the client. According to me, it is necessary to explore the thoughts and feelings of the clients to resolve the problem in the most efficient manner (Dansie, 2019). I have also understood that questioning is widely used to clarify the goals of the clients. These types of questions include some common themes like what do you want to achieve in the situation? Or what would you consider a successful outcome?. I have learned that it is necessary to identify the goal that the person wants to achieve through the counselling. Also, an effective counselling highly depends on the skills and knowledge of a counsellor. I believe that caring and kindness can be used to deal with clients who are more rigid and unhappy with their present life. 

Week 10

In this module, I have learned about the role of good writing skills and the role of persuasiveness in writing an effective report. The particular explained that the report must include the logics presentation of facts, evidence, and recommendations. I have also understood that clarity plays a crucial in developing an effective report. I believe that the report must meet the legal and ethical standards (Bond, 2015). According to me, the report must attract the attention of the reader. I came to know that persuasiveness is also considered a crucial goal of the report. Initially, I was not aware of the elements that play a major role in writing an effective report but now I understood that the audience is the first and foremost element of a crucial report. According to me, it is important to understand the knowledge, ability, and expertise of the audience. I believe that the report must include clear, simple language so that readers can clearly understand the main motive of the report. I have also understood that headings and subheadings make the report more attractive ad explicable. I have learned that the facts and figures can be used to engage the reader.  I believe that counsellors must be aware of their own limitations in terms of expertise, bias or stereotypes, any personal ignorance as it may affect the reliability of the report. I have believed that counsellor should maintain the privacy and confidentiality of their clients. I came to know that we cannot make any assumptions in the report. The module specified that only authentic information must be used by the counsellor. After learning the entire module, I understood that these elements are highly essential for developing an effective and consistent report for the audience.

Conclusion

The overall report highlighted the crucial elements that are widely used by the counsellors to make the counselling sessions more effective. I have understood that effective listening, empathy; cognitive skills play a very crucial role in counselling. I learned that the counsellor must gain the trust of the client so that he can identify the main issues and problems that are affecting the daily life of an individual. However, social cognitive and behavior theory also plays a major role in enhancing the skills of the new counsellor. With the help of these skills and tools, I can easily understand how to make good relations with the clients. Furthermore, these skills and techniques are highly useful for beginners who want to pursue their career as a counsellor. I have also gained detailed information about new concepts like metacommunication, congruence and normalizing. The overall learning was highly beneficial for me and I will use this knowledge to achieve my future endeavors.

References

Alias, N. F., Mustafa, S., Muzlia, S., & Ahmad, Z. (2017). The need for developing counselling/teaching tools to promote rational thinking.

Bond, T. (2015). Standards and ethics for counselling in action. Sage.

Cowie, H., & Pecherek, A. (2017). Counselling: approaches and issues in education. Routledge.

Cowie, H., & Sharp, S. (2017). The context of peer counselling. In Peer Counselling in Schools (pp. 26-45). London: Routledge.

Dansie, T. (2019). Basic Counselling Skills for Teachers. Lodon: Routledge.

Evans, T. (2015). Counselling Skills for Becoming a Wiser Practitioner: Tools, Techniques and Reflections for Building Practice Wisdom. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Geldard, D., Geldard, K., & Foo, R. Y. (2017). Basic personal counselling: A training manual for counsellors. Cengage AU.

Ivey, A. E., Daniels, T., Zalaquett, C. P., & Ivey, M. B. (2017). Neuroscience of Attention: Empathy and Counseling Skills. Neurocounseling: Brain-Based Clinical Approaches, 81-100.

McLeod., M. (2011). Counselling skills. sydney, Australia: McGraw-Hill Education.

McMahon, M. (Ed.). (2016). Career counselling: Constructivist approaches. London: Routledge.

Meekums, B., Macaskie, J., & Kapur, T. (2016). Developing skills in counselling and psychotherapy: a scoping review of Interpersonal Process Recall and Reflecting Team methods in initial therapist training. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 44(5), 504-515.

Miller, L. (2018). An under fives’ counselling service and its relation to questions of assessment. In Assessment in child psychotherapy (pp. 108-119). Routledge.

Myers, B. (2018). Clinical: Counselling in practice: Communication skills when counselling on concordance-a focus on psychotropic medicines. Australian Pharmacist, 37(6), 38.

Nelson-Jones, R. (2015). Basic counselling skills: a helper's manual. Sage.

Trotter, C. (2015). Working with involuntary clients: A guide to practice. London: Routledge.

Van Deurzen, E., & Adams, M. (2016). Skills in existential counselling & psychotherapy. Sage.

Wosket, V. (2016). The therapeutic use of self: Counselling practice, research and supervision. Routledge.

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