THE BASIS FOR GOOD PRACTICE —
ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
An effective counsellor or therapist should:
4.1 Have up-to-date knowledge about the spectrum of mental health disorders.
4.2 Help immediately with anxiety (fear-related) problems including trauma (or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), phobias, panic attacks and obsessional behaviour (OCD).
4.3 Understand depression and how to lift people out of it.
4.4 Be prepared to give advice if needed or asked for.
4.5 Avoid using jargon or ‘psychobabble'.
4.6 Do not dwell unduly on the patient's past.
4.7 Be supportive when difficult feelings emerge, but not encourage clients to remain in an emotionally aroused state.
4.8 Know how to assist individuals to develop social skills, so that their needs for affection, friendship, pleasure, intimacy, connection to the wider community, etc. can be better fulfilled.
4.9 Know how to help people to draw on their own resources.
4.10 Induce and teach deep relaxation (to unlock patients' attention from whatever strong emotions may have become focussed upon).
4.11 Be aware of the importance of the ‘observing self', or state of being aware of awareness itself, when there is the potential to look in many directions and choose to focus attention in a variety of ways (see Appendix 1).
4.12 Help people to think about their problems in a new and more empowering way.
4.13 Set tasks to be done between sessions where the goals of therapy require this.
4.14 Learn how to recognise nominalisations and avoid being emotionally influenced by them.
4.15 Always encourage patients to be specific and to make concrete their beliefs and feelings so that there is something real to work with
4.16 Look for patterns in what the patient brings to therapy, in addition to content.
4.17 Increase the client's self-confidence and independence, and make sure that they feel better after every consultation.
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