Understand How Counselling Skills Relate to Helping as a Process

1.3 Understand how counselling skills relate to helping as a process

‘In order for ‘help’ to be of any use, a working alliance needs to be established.   This involves co-operation between patient and therapist, which underpins all effective helping.’ P.Clarkson
It is important to form a relationship early in therapy for a working alliance to be successful.   Goals to be reached and the necessary tasks to attain those goals must be agreed by counsellor and client, the bond will grow with trust and confidence.   Research shows that the quality of the therapeutic alliance early in therapy shows a reliable association with a positive therapy outcome.
Sloane et al (1975) found that patients listed the significant factors for successful therapy as first, the therapist’s personality, grasp of problems, encouragement and help towards understanding themselves.
The first interview is the counsellor’s opportunity to show the client a solid working alliance, therefore arming the client to make a decision whether to agree to come into therapy or not.   In order for the client to have a reasonable sense of what the journey with the counsellor might entail, during the first session the counsellor may show humour, challenge, empathy, sensitive listening and questioning.   Listening is the most important skill, many clients have never been listened to either by their parents, teachers or in a work situation.   Active listening ensures the client is being heard and what they say matters, by listening counsellors give the client an opportunity to reveal an issue which is huge to them and one that they have been hiding for a long time.   With some clients anxiety and mis-trust and even anger may present themselves in the therapeutic relationship.   It is important for the counsellor to help the client understand that this resentment stems from the past and at the hands of others.   With other clients the situation is reversed, with overt gratitude, affection and admiration for the...