Counselling Centres in Nigeria – We all face one challenges or the other in the course of our sojourn in life. On most occasions, we turn to family, friends, innermost strength and unseen entities religious books has made us believe exists somewhere in space. When it seems no help is forthcoming from these set, we tend to look for alternatives, the unreasonable ones turn to drugs, alcohol and other substances that’ll worsen their problems, harm their body and in most cases lead to their death.
One of the best alternative to look out for that has proved to be effective over the years is seeing a counselor (they provide psychological and emotional support to individuals in need of it). A lot of individuals shy away from talking to counselors because they want to keep their private live “private”.
Who is a counselor?
A counselor as widely defined as a person whose job is to provide advice, help or encouragement. There are specific set of skills you are required to have before you can qualify to be a debonair counselor, these includes;
Strong Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills are closely related to the knowledge of social expectations and customs, and they take into account others’ reactions to adjust tactics and communication as needed. Interpersonal skills from others perspective is seen as a type of “social intelligence” that solely relies on putting your ear to the ground in form of attentive listening and paying close attention to the speech and actions of others and interpreting it correctly as part of the process of coming up with a response. While this skill is sometimes in-borne, it can also be learned through reading of books, practice and work experiences. Interpersonal skills can be likened to a tree with several branches, some of the branches include;
Active Listening Skills
This is simply the process whereby an individual securely process information from other persons. The word active is not just present in this form of listening, i simply is the ability to draw out what the other party is not telling you from the information they decided to share with you. Active listening techniques includes demonstrating concern through your facial expression,gesture,choice of words etc, waiting to disclose your opinion, paraphrasing to show understanding, asking open and specific questions to seek clarification.
These skills often time falls under the category of “good character” which includes friendliness, maturity, sense of discernment etc. Several individuals believe these traits are developed by being a good or smart person, they are totally wrong. These particular set of skills can be learned by anybody with a curious mind who’s willing to have a better relationship with colleagues and clients. There are lots and lots of behavioral skills but on top of the long list has been these consistent four.
These are the four;
Communication – Good communication does not just entail how well you can speak, how polished your language is and all that, it does consist of several sub skills ranging from eye contact to the ability to pen down clear and accurate reports to appropriate patterns of body language. Accuracy in listening and the ability to adhere to given instructions are very much important but often times disregarded.
Most counselors just don’t care about paying close attention to what their clients have to say and write, several don’t even care to ask open ended questions to evaluate their understanding. This, in most cases results in acting upon inaccurate information which in turn leads to ineffectiveness and frustration for both the client and the counselor. A good listener will definitely have an edge over several of his colleagues who doesn’t hold listening in high regards.
Empathy – Empathy in some individuals is an ability that is in-borne while others suck at it because they simply developed empathy by attending classes about it. Empathy is simply your ability to be part of someone’s story as they share them with you.
This involves sharing their emotional state as they share whatever information it is with you. In lay man terms, it is the ability to view stories from the perspective of the narrator i.e being in a good mood with a happy client and consoling to a sad one. Amidst different emotions that comes with being a counselor, being empathetic and helping your clients be at ease will surely aid your own personal inner peace.
Goal-Setting and Planning – Everybody is wired to wish for things to happen at a particular period, more than half of these things don’t happen because the crucial part of all goals has been missing from the onset, you have to plan ahead in other to achieve whatever it is you want. Planing involves setting achievable goals instead of ridiculous ones and these goals must be properly identified, actions scheduled and commitment to see your goals become a reality. Setting reasonable goals can in most cases prove to be difficult as several issues are craving for your attention, to eliminate this confusion, you need to set your goals according to priority as it is impossible to attend to all pressing issues at once.