Characteristics of Effective Counseling

654 Words3 Pages
What personal qualities or characteristics might enhance someones ability to be an effective individual and group counselor? Clearly, compassion, caring, and genuine concern are all prerequisites for effective counseling. Yet there are also specific subsets of characteristics, traits, attitudes, beliefs, values, behaviors, and experiences that help a counselor become more effective for their clients. These characteristics differ according to whether the counselor operates in primarily an individual or group setting. Moreover, the counselor's theoretical orientation has a large impact on what personal characteristics will prove effective in practice. As Ponton (2012) points out, "effective counseling is a two-way street. It takes cooperative effort by both the person receiving counseling and the counselor." Therefore, motivation of the client has a huge bearing on the effectiveness of the counselor. The counselor is often placed in the position of being a coach, in order to bring out the best and most productive characteristics in the client. One of the most important skills for a counselor to have, whether for group or individual sessions, is acute critical thinking skills that enable identification of disorders or dysfunction. Discernment is therefore a prerequisite for effective counseling. "An effective counselor can identify negative thinking patterns that may be feeding feelings of sadness, depression or anxiety," (Ponton, 2012). In addition to critical thinking and
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