16 Jul 2018

Five Things You Did Not Know about Counselling

One - A Degree in Counselling is Only for Counsellors….Right?

Are bus-drivers only capable of driving buses, architects only equipped to design office blocks or houses, sales professionals only adept at products pitch? The short answer is no. Apart from the specific skills set involved in what they all directly do, all these jobs involve generic ‘transferable skills’. This refers to the knowledge and understanding accrued through experience in their fields - which can be translated to another working environment. Such is the case with Counselling and Counsellors. Counsellors learn how to work best with their client group but they also learn a whole lot more.

Two - Learning About Yourself is The Most Useful Learning of All.

Developing the capacity to stand outside yourself and then to look back at yourself more objectively than before can be very worthwhile for personal performance – and indeed reduce your personal stress a great deal in the long run.

Over time we can become too attached to ourselves without realising. When we look out and into the world, what we really see before us is more often than not tainted, or indeed flooded, with our own baggage. Our own history of successes, failures, opportunities gained and lost – all of which have led to the familiar self-identity we know all too well.

Rather than being fluid and adaptable to change, we may well have calcified and fossilised without realising. Being a case of - "This is me and there’s nothing I can do about it – even if I wanted to.” When you train to be a Counsellor, part of the training is to learn more about yourself and the more you know, the more you are in charge of yourself - meaning the more you are in the driving seat of your own life.

Three – A Deeper Understanding of Others Can Really Help You.

“From a worldly point of view, there is no mistake so great as that of being always right.” Samuel Butler
How many times have you found yourself in an unproductive and tangled relationship with others, either at work or in your personal life? Like an intractable knot in a length of rope, you just can’t seem to unravel no matter which way you try. Seeing another’s point of view is not about being obliged to agree or disagree with them – instead it’s simply about ‘seeing’ their point of view. In any negotiation, grasping where the other person is coming from is the prerequisite to reaching a ‘win-win’ outcome. Acquiring a deeper understanding of others helps you to help them, which helps you in return. Which in itself is a basis principle for successfully managing work and life situations generally. Or as Abraham Lincoln said: ‘I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.’

Counselling training provides you with such practical insights that you can then apply on a daily basis.

Four – Honing Your Communication Skills Can Pay Dividends.

The core of any effective Counselling situation is to interact in a finely tuned manner with your client group so that they understand you - for you to understand them and therefore going forward - for you to be able to help them with their issues under discussion. Equally, the core of any communication is to both understand and to be understood.

Having effective communication skills in your competence kit bag is a practical asset under any work/life circumstance which leads the writer James Humes to conclude that, ‘The art of communication is the language of leadership.’

Most certainly, as a transferable skills-set, learning about the art (and science) of communication can advance your cause on many different fronts, whether in work or more generally in life itself.

Counselling training helps you to see (and dispel) the illusions of communication more clearly. Relationships are likely to prosper as a result.
Five – The Profession of Counselling is Very Rewarding.

When people hear your job is Counselling they often say, ‘That must bring you down a lot, having to listen to peoples woes all the time!’ The perception seems to be one of a sinking ship. Listening to others loads you up more and more as your Counsellor ship increasingly sinks, below the water line and into the depths of despair. This could not be further from reality.

As Larry King, the TV host says, “I remind myself every morning. Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening” or as Ernest Hemingway says, “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

Being able to really listen is an intrinsic requirement of the counselling profession. This is a personal privilege for the practitioner as Hemingway has noted, but it is also immensely useful to others. As Stephen Covey remarks, “When you really listen to another person from their point of view and reflect back to them that understanding, it is like giving them emotional oxygen.”

Counselling is a profession where you facilitate relationships that give emotional oxygen to others. What job could be more meaningful or rewarding than that!
The Master of Guidance and Counselling offered by James Cook University is accredited by the Australian Counselling Association in Australia and by the Singapore Association for Counselling in Singapore. This gives graduates the ability to pursue careers in both countries as well as internationally.