Identify Core Counselling Skills

1.1 Identify Core Counselling Skills

Counselling skills are necessary tools used by trained counsellors to help clients through issues.   At some point in their lives, people will find themselves in situations where they take on the role of counsellor without having had any training or understanding of the concept of counselling.   This is quite common when a friend or family member needs some guidance.

Core counselling skills include non-verbal communication (NVC) where facial expressions, body language and gestures can be key in understanding what the client or counsellor is thinking or feeling such as showing empathy, stress or confidence.   Active Listening and Paraphrasing where the counsellor is required to demonstrate that they are making sense of what the client is talking about are acquired core skills.   By paraphrasing, the counsellor is repeating what the client has said, but in their own words which helps the client feel understood and valued.   To be able to paraphrase, the counsellor needs to be able to listen actively.   Clarifying is another tool used by the trained counsellor as a way of checking that they have understood what their client has been talking about.   Using silence is a skill that can be beneficial to the client under the appropriate circumstances.   Questions being asked by the counsellor are described as 'open' and 'closed' and should be used with caution.   Asking open questions can encourage the client to open up a bit more and talk a bit more about their issues but asking a closed question normally attracts a short 'yes' or 'no' answer.   Empathy is a core value which can be confused often with sympathy but they are very different.   Sympathy is more likely to be used in a non-professional relationship; identifying with a friend's situation, whereas empathy is seeing the situation from the client's perspective and experience rather than the counsellor's own.

A professional counsellor is trained to use core counselling skills when...