Counselors work directly with people in a controlled and safe environment to enable them to them talk about their feelings and experiences and have a positive impact on their lives. People may want to opt for counselling for a variety of different reasons, whether it’s to get help with getting over the death of a loved one, overcome relationship difficulties, deal with past trauma or develop the skills needed to help themselves recover from a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression. It is not the role of the counselor to tell them what to do, but rather encourage people to look at the choices that they have made so far and find their own ways to make positive changes that work for them. If you’re considering getting into mental health counselling, here’s a quick look at what the role involves.
#1. Building Relationships:
First of all, to be successful as a counselor then you will need to be very skilled at building relationships with others, have excellent communication skills and the empathy required to put people at ease when it comes to speaking with you about often painful aspects of their lives. As a counselor, you may be trusted with details of childhood trauma, abuse, domestic violence and other subjects that can be very difficult to talk about for victims, so it’s imperative that you can build a strong relationship with your clients, make them feel safe around you and give them a worry-free environment to talk in.
#2. Tailoring Your Services:
The key to being empathetic is to be able to put yourself in the shoes of others and adjust your approach to best suit the individual who you are working with. As a counselor, you will need to be able to adapt to the various situations that you will be presented with on a daily basis. You will be seeing a wide range of clients who will be bringing various and different issues and situations to you for help; you’ll need to tailor your services to each individual person to come up with action plans to help them.
As a counselor, safeguarding and looking out for the welfare of your clients is another key part of the mental health counselors job description. Not only are you there to talk with your clients about any difficulties that they have faced or are currently facing, you will also often be their first point of contact in a mental health crisis, therefore, it’s crucial that you are equipped to spot when they may need some additional help or where they might be posing a risk to themselves or others. Whilst counselors must keep everything that they speak about with clients completely confidential, they are also bound to break any confidentiality agreements if they feel that their client is at risk of harming themselves or somebody else. This could involve liaising with doctors, social services, and other professionals to ensure that your client and those around them are kept safe. As a mental health counselor, you’re a key player in helping people regain control of their lives.