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Creating a Counselling Skills Professional Framework

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Differentiate between a person who uses counselling skills and a qualified and trained counsellor

A qualified counsellor has undertaken a structured training programme and developed and practiced skills needed to become a trained counsellor. They are likely to have trained for several years and specialised to a much higher level than someone who uses counselling skills. They will also have undertaken therapy themselves and addressed any issues or emotional blocks that they may have, whereas a person who uses counselling skills may not.

Someone who uses counselling skills will utilise the same key concepts and principles, such as empathy and unconditional positive regard, but is less likely to belong to, and be bound by, a
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Principles of the BACP include fidelity, autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice and self respect whereas personal moral qualities include such things as empathy, respect and competence.

Ethical dilemmas can occur when professional duties and obligations clash. Counsellors may then find that they have to breach one ethical principle in order to implement another and that they can be a matter of perspective as different counsellors may value principles differently. An example of such competing obligations would be a client who was very upset but breaching their time limit. Here the counsellor would have to decide which ethical principle takes precedence. A clear example of a breach of ethics is to have a sexual relationship with a client.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is paramount in the counselling profession and is essential in order to be trusted with private matters and for clients to feel they have a safe environment in which to open up. There are times however when confidentiality may be broken. These include acts of terrorism, suspected child abuse, suicide prevention or preventing harm to others. In some cases the breach may not be clear cut. For example if a client is talking about suicide and then later succeeds the counsellor may be subpoenaed as a witness in court.

Boundaries

Boundaries are important as they offer the client and counsellor security and peace of mind. Boundaries help ensure the needs of the client
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