Qualities Desirable for Counseling

Counseling is the process of helping one to make better decisions in life. For one to be a good counselor, he must form an attitude and have qualities that will aid him to form quick trusting relationships with his clients.

Carl Rogers, a well known psychologist who made major contributions to psychology and counseling, was one of the pioneers of psychotherapy research and was given an award by the American Psychological Association (A.P.A.) recognizing him as such. He realized that he did not have answers to all questions. However, he was able to create an environment that allowed the client to reach within him from where all the solutions lay. He came up with the core conditions; empathy, positive regard and genuineness which allowed the client to find solutions within him to problems he faced (Gareth, 2010, p1).

An empathetic counselor is one who is able to put himself in the client’s shoes and see his point of view. Positive regard is vital if the counselor wants the client to disclose fully. Showing genuine interest in the client will help form a strong foundation for the client-counselor relationship. These three conditions allow the client to reach within himself and come up with solutions that worked for him. As Boeree pointed out, an organismic self (an individual living being) knows what exactly it wants (Boeree, 2006, p.1).

According to Rogers, all human beings have a self-concept which he defined as having a set of beliefs about oneself. The self-concept is composed of self-worth or self esteem, which is how one thinks of himself, self-image, which is how one sees himself which in turn influences the inner personality and the ideal self, which is how one would like to be.  Self esteem is influenced by how people value us. An individual who is surrounded by people that provided unconditional positive regard most of the time has a high self esteem, while one who constantly receives negative comments has low self esteem (Nevid, 2008, p 500). Self image includes how one’s personality is influenced by the body image. It affects a person’s thinking, feeling and behavior.

The ideal self includes the aims and goals that one would wish to achieve. If the ideal self and the actual self are one, then an individual is said to have self-actualized. It is human nature to want to self-actualize. However, self-actualization only occurs if human beings act without thinking how other people would judge what they do (Rogers, 1959, p 165). This implies that a good counselor should direct the client to see his positive side thus enable him to value himself. Rogers noted that ‘man’s tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities constitute the curative force in psychotherapy’ (Rogers, 1961, p 350-351). ‘This self actualizing tendency could not be destroyed unless the organism was destroyed’ (Rogers, 1977, p.201).

In conclusion, counseling is a good profession but if one lacks some of these qualities, he should not attempt to be one as could further confuse the client.