Counselling: spotlighting a career route you might take after volunteering in the field of domestic violence and starting to study for postgraduate counselling qualifications...
The effects of having encountered domestic violence can endure long after the survivor has escaped the abusive situation.
Survivors may seek counselling to help them move forwards.
Work through the material in this section to explore counselling as a career.
The section starts with bullet points giving indications of what makes a good counsellor. You'll need this as background material for the task that follows.
This material was written by Tracey Adams, Counselling Co-ordinator at Derby Women's Centre.
Then you'll watch 2 role-plays of a counsellor working with a woman client who has left a relationship where she encountered domestic violence.
© Deborah Lee, 2009
The back-story here is that: the client is worried about herself and about her teenage daughter. She has moved her family (2 young boys and a 14 year old daughter) to a new area to escape domestic violence. While she's relieved not to be in an abusive relationship now, she is living on benefits, very lonely and feels that her daughter is blaming her for taking her away from their previous financially-comfortable lifestyle.
The role-plays are acted by volunteers who read and discussed the back-story before starting the role-playing.
While this is not (for reasons of confidentiality) a real counselling situation with a real client, the volunteer playing the client is drawing upon real situations that real people face.
At the end of the section you'll find some selected follow-up reading you might do if you're interested in counselling as a career...
What skills and qualities do you need to have or acquire if you want to be a good counsellor?
- You need to have respect for clients
- You need to be able to challenge clients
- You need good listening skills
- You need to have empathy
- You need to be non-judgmental
- You need a genuine interest in the welfare of others
- You need the ability to form helping relationships
- You need to be self-aware, mature and stable
- You need to be able to self-care
- You need to be able to make use of your own life experience
- You need to realise your own power as a counsellor
- You need to be able to respond effectively to feedback, whether it is positive or negative
- You need to have a sense of humour
- You need to be able to admit it when you've made a mistake
- You need to have awareness of the influence of aspects of personal identity, such as gender, culture, age, sexuality and religion
- You need to have awareness of the dynamics of prejudice and oppression
- You need to recognise the importance of confidentiality and adherence to professional body ethical principles
In this next section, you'll watch two fictionalised role-plays of two counsellors responding to a woman client. They are intended to show the sorts of skills counsellors need in action. Working from the information you've just read about 'what makes a good counsellor?' and your own interpretations of how far you would feel comfortable being the client in the two fictionalised role-plays, note down what you think works and what doesn't work in each role-play.
You will then be able to compare your thoughts with responses given by a fully-qualified counsellor.
(You should note that the role-plays are around 2/3 minutes in length. Counselling is obviously longer in real-life! Here we're providing a snapshot of counselling, so you can consider if it might be a career for you...)
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* you may need to install the Silverlight plug-in to view the video, follow the onscreen instructions*
Were your views similar to hers?
What do you learn about counselling from hearing her views on these role plays?
Interested in exploring further? Have a look at some selected follow-up reading...
Berne, E (1964) The Games People Play. Ballantine Books
Casement, P. (1985) On Listening to the Patient. Tavistock: London
Clarkson, P. (2004) Gestalt Counselling in Action. Sage: London
Clarkson, P. (2008) The Therapeutic Relationship (2nd Edition). Whurr Publishers Ltd
Corey, G. (2008) Theory and Practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy (International student edition). Thomson, Brookes/Cole Publishers USA
Erskine, R. G. (1993) Inquiry, attunement, and involvement in the psychotherapy of dissociation. Transactional Analysis Journal, 23, 184-190
Erskine, R. & Trautmann, L.R (1996) Methods of an Integrative psychotherapy. Transactional Analysis Journal, 26, 4, 316-328
Erskine, R. & Moursund, J. P (2004) Integrative Psychotherapy: The art and science of relationship. Thomson, Brookes / Cole Publishers USA
Feltham, C. (1995) What is Counselling: The promise and problems of the talkingtherapies. Sage: London
McLeod, J. (2009) Introduction to Counselling (4th Edition). Open University Press, England
Mearns, D. & Thorne, B. (2007) Person Centered Counselling in Action (3rd Edition). Sage Publications Ltd. London
Rogers, C. (1957) The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21, 95-103
Rogers, C. R. (2004) On Becoming a Person: a therapist view of psychotherapy. Constable and Robinson Ltd
Stewart, I. & Joines, V. (1987) TA Today: A new introduction to transactional analysis. Whurr Publishers Ltd
Thorne, B. & Dryden, W. (Eds) (1993) Counselling: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Open University Press
Westbrook, D., Kennerley, H. & Kirk, J. (2007) An Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Skills and Applications. Sage: London
Yontef, G. (1993) Awareness, Dialogue and Process. F.E. Peacock, Publishers
Zinker, J. (1978) Creative Process in Gestalt Therapy Vantage Books, USA