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Effective Counseling

An effective counselor is someone who is open minded. As a counselor George has to keep in mind that counseling is a two way street that involves the client and him. The purpose of counseling is always the well-being of the client. It takes a cooperative effort and commitment from both parties to make it very effective (Argosy university, 2013). With George’s behavior there is no way a client will cooperate with him because he lacked the most essential part of counseling, which involves earning the client trust and confidence. At no time the client should feel that his/her values and belief is being threatened by the counselor behavior, or the counselor is trying to impose his values or behavior on him/her. Unfortunately, this is exactly what George did.

The client should be able to speak his/her mind freely. If George does not feel comfortable with the client opinion or behavior, he has the right to terminate counseling for the client well-being according to the guidelines given by the American Counseling Association and the American Psychological Association instead of arguing with the client. In the inform consent section of (ACA) A.1.a, it clearly explain that both the client and the counselor has the right to terminate the counseling session for the good of the client and the counselor (ACA, 2013; APA, 2010). George behavior is unprofessional and unethical; as a result he will cause more harm than good to clients. This is exactly why his supervisor had suggested him to consider a different filed than counseling.

Counseling is caring for others. As counselor George should be able to feel and understand his clients, and if feels like the client has issue with his type he should ask the client close ended and follow up questions in order to see what seems to be the problem. It is very possible that the client might had a past experience with someone similar to George and as a result he/she take it on George, but that does not necessarily mean he has a problem with George as a counselor, otherwise he/she would reject him as counselor in the very beginning. The counseling is not about the counselor but the client and it is the counselor’s job to make his/her client feel comfortable and sees him/her as trustworthy by establishing a good relationship with the client (Synocore, A. et al., 2011).

Effective Counseling Skills

People make poor choices all the time in life. The consequences of making such choices are anxiety, depression and feeling lost. To get back on track and reduce the tension or pressure that they under due to those choices, a decision must be made on how to address the issues that cause them to be anxious, depressed, etc. this is where counselors’ job start. To be an effective counselor that person has to have the ability to listen, feels and understand others, and has the strength to tell the client the truth without offending him/her. In a counseling process the client should feel supported, understood, validated, and of course hopeful (Argosy university, 2013).

Personal Attribute Skills:

According to experts, most people who chose the counseling field are simply because they care and want to help others. The desire to help other people is one of the most effective skills that a counselor should have. However, they also need to have other skills such as patience, understanding and be cordial in order to empower clients. “Being there and done that” is another skill that can be very beneficial to a counselor. This means when a counselor had some difficult life experiences on his/her own this enable that counselor to be more effective to understand and interpret clients’ situation more accurately (Argosy University, 2013).

Communication Skills:

Be an active listener is also very essential to be an effective counselor. Active listening occurs when counselor “listen for meaning” (Argosy university, 2013). This means a counselor should have the ability to encourage his/her client to speak more on a topic by asking open and close questions throughout the counseling session. A counselor should also know when and how to ask follow up questions in order to keep client responses on track. Being an active listener also involves the ability to understand what is not being said by the client such as omission, non-verbal communication and voice tone. Monitor those reactions from the client is very important to be effective as a counselor. Other than follow up questions, paraphrase and summarize what the client have said can also be very effective, they give the client room correct or confirm what he/she had say (Argosy University, 2013).


As a counselor it is very important to make the client feel safe by asking questions that can make him/her feel that the counselor really care and very concern about his/her situation or emotional state. Some of these questions can be; how is that make you feel talking about this situation? This question can enable the client to reveal more information, but if the client does not feel safe he/she will decline comment or keep repeating the same thing over and over again (Charles B. et al., 2013).


Validating intervention is also very effective in counseling, because it helps the client feel relieve. For example; a counselor can ask the client is it okay to feel bad? Is it okay to feel sad? Validation can also be done in an affirmative way by the counselor; for example it is okay to feel angry about this. When counselors do this, it gives the client the opportunity to be truthful about his/her feeling or stop feeling bad or embarrassed about how he/she feels (Charles B. et al., 2013).

Taking Note:

This practice involves writing pieces of information given by the client on a paper or note book, this give the client clear impression that you are paying attention to what he/she has to say. This needs to be done professionally in order not to disturb the flow of thoughts or body language of the client. There are many other skills that counselor should possess in order to be effective; however, I found these to be the most essential ones (Charles B. et al., 2013).

Ethical Issues

Since George is not a psychologist, he does not govern by the APA code of conduct. However, according to the American Counseling Association (2013), by which he is governed, George violates code of conduct A. 1.a, because his primary responsibility as counselor is to promote the welfare of his client and respect his/her dignity. George is in flagrant violation of that ethical code because of his behavior toward the client. George violates the inform consent as well, found in ACA code A.2.a. If not George would be aware of the client’s right and his obligation as counselor which would trigger a change in his behavior. George is also in violation of A.4.a and A.4.b which involves avoids harming or imposes his personal values to his clients, and (ACA) C.2.g. which explains counselors’ obligation to address their own impairment before providing counseling to others (ACA, 2013; APA, 2010).

Ways to Become Effective

For George to become an effective counselor he first needs to work on his personal issues, because as counselor we bring who we are as a person on the table (Argosy University, 2013). First he needs to stop judging clients because as counselor his focus should on his clients’ well-being not how he feels about them. However, if George finds the client’s behavior or opinion to be repulsive he can decline service to him/her ethically and professionally by referring him/her to another professional. The second thing George needs to work on is to be open minded, understand that people have the right to feel good or bad about you whether as a person or as a professional, his job is not to defend himself or his profession but to understand why the client feel that way and what are the best way to help him/her change behavior. Finally George needs more training, for example his supervisor should pair him with an experienced counselor so he can learn and observe. This would give him clear insight of what counseling is about, and if it is something that he really wants to do or not. Counseling is not for everyone, it takes love, compassion and understanding to become an effective counselor (Synocore, A. et al., 2011).

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