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Qualities that a psychologist-consultant should possess and which he should show in communication with clients.
1. The tendency to empathy, empathy, sympathy. This ability is understood as the ability to penetrate deeply psychologically into the inner world of another person - the client, to understand him, to see what is happening from his own position, to perceive the world through his eyes, to accept his point of view as valid and correct.
2. Openness. Trying to understand the client, to penetrate into his inner world, the psychologist-consultant frankly informs him of his own feelings, causing him an empathic reaction and thereby making him open to himself.
3. The expression of personal concern for the client through empathy, sympathy for him, as well as gestures, facial expressions, pantomimes.
4. Goodwill. Kind, emotionally positive attitude towards the client, personal interest and participation in solving his problems.
5. An invaluable attitude towards the client, including the observance by him of the moral, ethical standards that he adheres to in his behavior, even if the consultant himself does not like this behavior.
6. Refusal of moralizing, imposing on the client their advice.
7. Trust in the client, faith in his ability and ability to independently cope with his problem.
8. The willingness and desire of the consultant is not so much to relieve the client of their experiences, as to send his experiences in a constructive direction.
9. The ability to keep the optimal psychological distance between themselves and the client.
10. The ability to instill confidence and determination in the client to remake himself.
Empathy is the main interpersonal quality that a counseling psychologist should have. The main thing in this capacity is the willingness, desire and ability of a person to psychologically feel and understand the other, to look at the world through his eyes, for a while, forgetting about his perception of the world, about his own point of view. The psychologist-consultant manifests this quality throughout the counseling process and, thanks to him, he is able to better and deeper understand the client and help him more efficiently.
Openness as a personality trait has several different manifestations.
Firstly, it is the readiness of the consultant psychologist to be open as a person to the client (though not so much that the roles of the consultant and the client change among themselves and the client, learning about the problems of the consultant, begins to empathize and empathize with him himself). Role change usually occurs when the counseling psychologist begins to tell the client about his problems, causing the latter to want to help the consultant.
The measure of openness should be determined by the client’s feelings: if he considers the psychologist-consultant to be an open person and does not feel afraid to open himself in front of him, then everything is in order in terms of the consultant’s openness to the client.
Secondly, openness is the desire of a psychologist-consultant in personal communication with a client to remain himself, naturally showing not only his own merits, but, possibly, his flaws. Being a completely open person, a consultant psychologist demonstrates to the client his shortcomings not to shock or shock him, not to provoke sympathy on his part, but to show that the consultant himself is an ordinary living person who, like all people, it has flaws and does not try to play a role that is not characteristic of him in life in the counseling process.
Thirdly, openness is manifested in the fact that the consultant shows the client the willingness to discuss any issues with him. Empathy is accompanied by openness; one cannot exist without the other.
The expression of the personal care of the psychologist-consultant about the client refers to such external behavior of the psychologist-consultant, which is expressed in actions and words that demonstrate genuine interest, care of the consultant about the client. Such care, however, should also not be excessive. It is not recommended that a consultant psychologist in communication with a client be too emotional a person so as not to exert an exciting effect on the psychological state of the client. Goodwill is also an important psychological quality of a consultant. Although this quality correlates with almost all of the personality traits listed above, however, it also has its own individual manifestations. These include, in particular, the ability of a psychologist-consultant in all situations, no matter what happens and no matter how the client behaves, to maintain an even and, of course, friendly style of communication with him.
A special place in the practice of psychological counseling is occupied by the so-called non-judgmental attitude of the counseling psychologist to the client. First of all, this is the desire of a consultant psychologist in communicating with a client to avoid a direct assessment of his actions and personality. Whatever the client says about himself, no matter what inner feelings the psychologist consultant feels towards him, approving or not approving his actions to himself, the consultant should refrain from evaluating the client’s actions. His main task is to understand the client as deeply as possible, his problem and to help solve this problem.
Refusal from moralizing and imposing on the client their opinions on the part of the consultant mainly refers to the moment the client confesses, evaluates his problems and makes recommendations on how to solve this problem.
Counseling is a process in which both parties - the counseling psychologist and the client - as individuals are equal. This equality is factual and applies to all stages of counseling without exception. If the consultant psychologist is right, and the client is mistaken, then the consultant should continue to convince him and stop doing this only when the client begins to show clear, insurmountable resistance to the efforts of the psychologist. Further, the consultant should provide the client with the opportunity to do as he sees fit.
Confidence in the client is what humanistically oriented psychological counseling is based on. The consultant's trust in the client implies the belief that the client will be able to solve his problem quite independently if he is helped to realize it and together with him find a way to solve it. Trust also means the willingness of a consultant psychologist to share the client’s opinion and accept it, abandoning their own, if, of course, the client is right.
Particularly noteworthy is the eighth quality, defined by R. May as the desire of a consultant psychologist not to save the client from the experience, but to direct them in a constructive way. Experience is a sure sign of a client’s indifferent attitude to his problem and to himself. If the client does not have a correct understanding of his problem or a way to solve it, then experiences can play a destructive role. The emotional energy of experience is necessary for the correct choice and implementation of a solution to a problem. Therefore, the task of the consultant psychologist is to preserve, and perhaps even strengthen this energy, directing it in the right, constructive direction.
The ability to choose and maintain the optimal psychological distance in communication with the client should be understood as follows. The consultant should be able to communicate with the client in such a way as to maintain trust and openness. At the same time, the relationship of the counseling psychologist with the client should not go too intimate. At the same time, the client should not have the feeling that the consultant is psychologically approaching or moving away from him. The consultant’s strategy in the desire to psychologically get closer to the client should be as follows: the consultant should gradually become invisible to the client, however, as soon as the counseling psychologist feels that the next step of rapprochement can lead to intimacy in the relationship, you should immediately stop and then keep away from the client at the distance that has formed at a given point in time. The ability to instill confidence and determination in a client to cope with his problem is a special quality that depends on the ability of a psychologist-consultant to convince, inspire, support a person. To do this, you must learn to skillfully and wisely use the appropriate verbal and non-verbal means of influencing the client.
All of the above applies to the internal position, attitude and external behavior of the psychologist-consultant in relation to the client. However, there are a number of special requirements for the situation, for the environment in which psychological counseling is provided. The optimal conditions for conducting psychological counseling regarding the situation are as follows:
1. The presence of a separate, isolated, quiet room, where no extraneous sounds distracting the attention of the consultant and client can be heard - one where there is no access to unauthorized persons during the consultation.
2. Convenient placement of a consultant and a client in this room - it is best to be next to each other or opposite each other at a small angle, at a distance from 60–70 cm to 100–110 cm. At the same time, nothing but a small writing table should be located between consultant and client.
3. Organization and consultation at a time when the client is in no hurry and is not in a poor physical condition or mood.
4. During a conversation with a counseling psychologist, the client should be able to look away, turn halfway or sideways with respect to the counseling psychologist.
5. It is advisable that the start and end times of the consultation be clearly indicated in advance.
6. There may be hours in the consultation room, but they should not be located directly between the consultant and the client. It is best if the clock hangs on the wall opposite the consultant behind the client or on the side of him and the psychologist-consultant, without falling into the eyes of the client during the consultation.
7. In the room where the consultation is held, there should not be any foreign objects that would distract the client's attention, alert him or set him up negatively. This applies equally to everything that can happen indoors during a consultation.
8. It is recommended, on the contrary, that what is in the room or occurs in it, calms the client, creates a good, comfortable mood.
9. At certain stages of psychological counseling, sounding in the room of soft, pleasant music is allowed.
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Qualities that a psychologist-consultant should possess and which he should show in communication with clients.
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