Tuesday, 18 February 2014
The personal characteristics of counselors
The major differences between effective and ineffective counselors are their personal beliefs and traits. According to Combs (1969) the major “technique” of counseling was the “self-as-instrument” as the counselor’s self or person should become the major facilitator of positive growth for the individual. He further stated that effective counselors perceived others as able rather than unable to solve their problems and manage their own lives. Effective counselors should thus be dependable, friendly and witty. These extraordinary individuals are also more likely to identify with people rather than things, to see people as having adequate capacity to cope with problems and to be more self-revealing than self-concealing. During a collaborative research project with Soper (1963) they found that counselors perceive themselves as altruistic and non-dominating.
Rodgers (1961) further concluded that the effective counselor should be an attractive, friendly person, someone who inspires confidence and trust. He further stated that the counselor’s theory and methods were far less important than the client’s perception of the counselor’s attitudes.
This research suggested that one approach to determining counselor effectiveness would be to explore the characteristics of personal effectiveness. The analysis of these characteristics must begin with an analysis of the characteristics of effective persons. In Shoben’s (1957) model of normal personality, he suggested four characteristics to describe the normal development in any healthy person. Those identified was the willingness to accept personal responsibility for behavior, capacity for interpersonal relationships, obligation to society and commitment to ideals and standards. The individual is seen as healthy when he or she is making continued growth and movement towards self-control and personal responsibility.
The fully functioning person has an increasing openness to experience, as opposed to defensive reactions to experiences that are contrary to the self-image and is continually moving toward being a process, fully living in each moment and has an increasing trust in his own organism.
These self-actualized individuals see themselves as liked, wanted, acceptable and able, possess a capacity for identification with others and have perpetual fields that are open to experience.
Blocher (1966) simply grouped these ideas into five sets of relevant characteristics that were intended to be more realistic than idealistic. These included consistency, commitment, control, competence and creativity.