Monday, February 27, 2012

Competent Counselors - 10 Standards to Look For

A Creekside friend recently sent me these simple pearls of wisdom:
"Cherish your health:
If it is good, preserve it.
If it is unstable, improve it.
If it is beyond what you can improve, get help."


Yes, there might just come a time when it would be a wise choice to head off to counseling.  And if that's true for you, I think Christian psychologist
Phil Monroe's 7 Characteristics of a Competent Counselor might serve as a bit of a guideline as to what to look for in a counselor.  His observations ...

1. Spiritual maturity. Not only must the counselor know the Bible, its story line, etc., they must also have understood and experienced the Gospel. Spiritual mature counselors evidence a ...

2. Self-awareness/insight. One can be spiritual mature, but not particularly insightful about the self. The competent counselor has a grasp of ...

3. Capable of building trusting relationships. Nothing much good comes from counsel provided by standoffish and stand-above kinds of counselors. The competent counselor is able to build trusting relationships by being ...

4. Flexibility in response styles. The competent counselor understands the need to use a variety of conversational responses depending on the needs of the client. Sometimes we ask questions. Other times we are silent. Competent counselor responses include ...

5. Assessment and hypothesis skills. The competent counselor is able to move from a counselee’s problems and descriptions to a wider view of ...

6. Observation skills. The competent counselor not only understands people, their needs, solutions, and has the capacity to use multiple response styles, but also is observant regarding ...

7. Ability to care for self. Finally, the competent counselor recognizes personal limits, boundaries and actively seeks to sustain a life of ...

Click here for the specifics.

A few more competencies that I'd throw into the mix ...

1.  Models living life well.  A competent counselor models emotional and relational health for the client.  Being safe, respectful, and stable are hallmarks of who they are and what they offer.  Clients feel comfortable in being themselves, knowing that their thoughts and emotions will be validated, even as the counselor guides them to healthier ways of expression and relating to others.  The counselor stays calm and focused on bringing conversations to profitable endings.  Respect is evidenced by promptly returned phone calls and emails, sessions that start and end on schedule, and cancelling appointments only when absolutely necessary. 

2.  Refers, refers, refers.  A competent counselor knows the limits to their own training and ability, and will confidently refer clients to other helping professionals.  The counselor develops a wide range of resources and is able to link clients to specialized therapists, support groups, medical and legal professionals, community resources, and area churches.

3.  Seeks ongoing training and support.  A competent counselor never stops learning.  Continuing education through frequent reading, research, and online courses enables them to stay sharp and up-to-date.  Ongoing support and accountability from other counselors is sought and valued.

Linda
Director, Creekside Counseling Services

P.S.
  Looking for a Christian counselor?  Head over to:


E-Counseling.com

P.S.S.
I think it's fair to say that no two counselors are exactly alike.  Expect to find a wide range of educational backgrounds and philosophies of counseling, even within the Christian community.  Each counselor has their own level of experience and areas of expertise.  And each one will bring their unique personality and style of conversing to the table.  

Take time to research their qualifications.  Feel free to ask lots of questions when you call for an appointment.  And don't be discouraged if don't click with the first counselor you talk with.  Give the process and the relationship at least 3 sessions before you move on.  Finding someone that meshes with you might take a bit of time, but in the end, it will be worth the search. 

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Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...

Linda

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