Qualities of an effective Counsellor

Research suggests that the relationship between a client and a counsellor is one of the most important ingredients of successful counselling.

Counsellors play an important part in a client's life. Not surprising then that studies have found that effective counsellors display significant more affirmation and nurturing behaviours compared to less effective therapists who display more "watch and manage" and "ignore and neglect" behaviour. 

Effective counsellors show respect to their clients and their welfare. Confidentiality is maintained at all times so that clients can build trust. 

Some of the main qualities of an effective counsellor are:

Personal Interest

Counsellors who are genuinely fascinated by human  beings and who have the humility and sincerity to care for and help people, show compassion and authenticity and have genuine concern which yields positive results. However, being "nice" is not enough.

Cognitive Ability

In addition to rigorous, quality academic training, counsellors need to invest significantly and regularly in on-going learning, reading books and journal articles, research and professional development to be skilled. 

Active Listener

Clients feel valued when the counsellor listens to their story without interrupting and disturbing the flow of their thoughts. Effective counsellors are able "to read between the lines". 

​Hope
Dynamics such as  a confiding relationship between client and counsellor in a healing setting can contribute to a positive therapeutic alliance, especially when the counsellor encourages the client and instills hope. 


Personal characteristics

Effective counsellors have the following personal characteristics:

Empathy 
Counsellors are able to understand and share the client's feelings. Empathy means, "walking in your client's shoes and understanding the situation from their point of view". 

Congruence and warmth
A warm, accepting and non-judgemental counsellor who creates a physically and emotionally safe environment, creates an atmosphere that may encourage interaction and disclosure. 

Positive Regard
It is vital in the counselling relationship that the counsellor demonstrates positive acceptance  and unconditional regard for the client's thoughts, experiences and feelings, as this forms the basis of building trust. ​