After the Myths and Threats of Counselling and Psychology, it is about time we shed light on what is usually done in Counselling and what is the role of a Counsellor. Counselling is a mutual collaboration between two people for a brief period of time. Therefore, there are certain responsibilities of the Counsellor and the Client.
A day in the life of a Counsellor is always interesting and equally challenging. No two clients or cases are alike. In spite of numerous jokes that have circled around counselling and therapy, it is a service that brings about complete job satisfaction.
A Counsellor maybe employed in various settings, such as, non-profit organizations, schools and universities, certain corporate offices. A Counsellor or a Psychologist provides a safe and confidential space wherein a person can talk about their problems without the fear of being judged.
So, what does a Counsellor do?
- Confidentiality – “Are these sessions private?”
Yes! Unless you are a threat to yourself or your community then the confidentiality agreement might break (Suicide, Crime etc). Confidentiality forms the foundation of a counselling session. Why? As counsellors, we understand how personal your problems or crisis are. Our mind and our personalities are uniquely programmed and we constantly worry about how others wold perceive us. This concern is understandable and acceptable. In a counselling session, we want you to become more independent in order to cope up with your emotions therefore we do not reveal anything to anyone, unless you ask us to. Sometimes, we may need professional help with a supervisor or a colleague, therefore with your permission we might discuss the case, however we never leak the name of our clients. It is an utmost priority to maintain confidentiality.
- Respect – “You must think I am so stupid, a fool, so vulnerable!”
Here is the good news. No! we absolutely do not think that way. As counsellors, we understand your emotions and your actions equally. We respect each of our clients and their problems without passing any kind of a judgment. Trust is one the main areas during counselling and we take care of that completely. We do not illtreat your problems nor do we take pity on you. In counselling, the client and the counsellor are on a mutual level. We simply help you overcome your helplessness, assist you in making reasonable goals, help you deal with the current crisis.
- The Talk Therapy – “Talking about my problem will help me?”
It is called Talk Therapy for a reason. Yes, talking about your problem will help you. Psychotherapy has many techniques which are applied when you talk to us about your problems. There are several theories that help us identify the blind spots you may be facing due to cultural, environmental or biological factors. Even though it is wrongly assumed that the job of a Counsellor is to only listen, we identify the thought patterns that are hindering in the way you feel and express your emotions. Due to several researches going on almost every day, there are various therapeutic techniques that can be applied.
- Genuineness – “It is easy to talk to you!”
At times, when clients are not making progress in their counselling sessions they change their counsellors. Each Counsellor has their own style and speciality. Despite having a similar psychological background there will be a difference in their personality and culture. They are trained to be genuine, which means they will be consistent with their style and their personality throughout the counselling relationship. It is a trait that is essential for any counselling process to go smoothly. It is important to understand that no two counsellors or psychologists are alike.
- Boundaries – “Can I be your friend?”
“I’m sorry, but that would not be Ethical.” Counsellors and Psychologists are trained to be empathetic and genuine towards their clients and therefore they may come across as friendly and a relationship with them could appear comfortable. However, it is unethical. A Psychologist/Counsellor, is not your Friend, well-wisher, like family, even though they care about you and are truly concerned with your troubles, they play the role of your therapist alone.
- Responsibilities – “I do not want to come back for a follow up”
Many a times, the counselling lasts just for one session. Even though the client is asked to come back for a follow up session, they refuse only to return after a few days. Since, counsellors understand the process they schedule an appointment without any hesitation unless they are tightly booked.
There are times when the issue of the client does not fall under the speciality of the counsellor, in such cases they refer you to someone who is trained in that speciality. It is the responsibility of the counsellor to help you, except in rare cases if the counsellor is unable to trust the client. The responsibility of the counsellor is extended only till there is a therapeutic relationship, after the sessions have been terminated they may not be responsible.
- The helper – “Please tell me what to do?”
Counsellors/Psychologists can only brainstorm about the decisions you make for yourself. They however, are not eligible to make decisions for you. Psychologists/Counsellors do not give advice, they may provide information if needed. The primary task of the Counsellor is to provide guidance till the goal is achieved.
- Termination – “But I still have so many issues”
Termination is a crucial part of a Counselling process. It is implemented after the initial goal has been achieved. Since the clients get connected with the counsellors on an emotional level, they tend to get extremely dependent during the course of counselling. The idea of a counsellor is to make the clients independent so that they can cope up and manage their own emotional problems.
Despite termination if the clients feel they have relapsed, they should not hesitate to go back to the counsellor/Psychologist.