What Skills Make a Good Counselor?

Are you contemplating pursuing a counseling degree at Colorado Christian University and wonder if you have “what it takes” to spend your days listening to other people’s problems and knowing what to do and say to help them? If so, you’re not alone. Most students in one of the counseling degree programs at CCU often wonder if they have the skills and personality traits that make a good counselor. Good counseling skills are sometimes inherent and are hard to “learn.” If you feel you have good counseling skills and want to make a career of helping others, then please read on.

When thinking about what it takes to be a caring, compassionate and helpful counselor, being a good listener is the most important skill you absolutely must have. Since your entire career is based on listening to others and helping them work through issues that are causing distress in their lives, it is imperative that you be a good listener. If you often find it difficult to focus on conversation, have a short attention span or your mind wonders easily, then you most likely do not have the most important skill of good counselors–the ability to listen well and stay focused on what your client is saying. Keep in mind that your client has taken refuge in your ability to listen to their problems. If your clients feels you are not entirely focused on what they’re saying, they may become depressed, feel rejected and not trust you. This will certainly cause your clients to seek counseling elsewhere.

Another good counseling skill you will need is the ability to stay focused and pay attention to the client, even if the story you are listening to is not particularly interesting. Staying focused and in tune with what your client is saying is a bit different than being a good listener. You must pay attention to the client’s inflection, nonverbal cues, eye contact, affect and so much more. Maintaining consistent eye contact is critical to establishing trust and in showing your client you are truly interested in what is being said. Avoid bad habits such as looking at your watch, sighing, breaking eye contact, tapping or chewing a pen, or shifting in your chair frequently. These are all indicators that you are bored, and no client wants to feel as though he/she is boring you. They are there to share their innermost thoughts, feelings and secrets; it is your responsibility to give your clients the respect and attention they deserve.

You must also be able to keep everything discussed in your office in strict confidence. If your clients do not trust you and feel that you have broken their confidence, then there can be no client-counselor relationship.

If you are considering a Master’s Degree in Counseling, please visit Colorado Christian University today. If you feel you have good counseling skills, why not start next semester on a new adventure?

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