5 Traits of Effective Mental Health Counselors

Effective Mental Health Counselors Traits

  • The Ability to Develop Trust
  • The Ability to Be an Advocate
  • The Ability to Make Yourself Understood
  • The Ability to Listen
  • The Ability to Laugh

The nature of the business of mental health counselors is that you will be presented with a diverse group of people. You will have to find a way to develop a connection with every one of your patients, but it is possible to do. If you have the following five traits of effective mental health counselors, you will be on your way to having a very successful practice in the future.

The Ability to Develop Trust

Probably the most important trait that a mental health counselor must have is the ability to encourage her patients to trust her. You must be able to tell when people need an explanation or when they might have questions. Your patients should know that you accept them for who they are and that you are focused on their needs and not your own. The way to do this is to ask several questions. When you do, you will let your patients know that you are interested in what they are telling you. Otherwise, the patient will not trust you enough to make a follow-up appointment.

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The Ability to Be an Advocate

Your patients must know that your main focus is to be an advocate for them at all times. When your patients know that you are working together as a team, it is more likely that they will have a positive outcome in their therapy sessions. This will mean that you and your patients have a "therapeutic alliance." Remember that you will have many different types of patients with a wide variety of problems. To be the most effective that you can be for all of your clients, you must be able to form a therapeutic alliance with every one of them.

The Ability to Make Yourself Understood

It may be difficult for a patient to understand what is going on in their lives. You must be able to explain everything to them so that they have a thorough understanding of the problem. For example, you may be asked why the client is experiencing his or her symptoms. Your job will be to explain this to him so that there is no longer a question in his mind. You must also know when a treatment is not working as you planned. Then, you have to be willing to make adjustments in your approach and make sure the patient knows why this is happening.

The Ability to Listen

We all know that therapists must listen to their clients, but there is a special way that therapists do this. Obviously, you must listen to what the client says, but you must also pay attention to how the patient says it and why. You will need to derive meaning from your client's words and be able to tell that the patient is leaving something out. This is just as important as what the patient tells you. When you are listening, it's very important that your clients know that you are not judging them. This will ensure that they are completely open and honest with you.

The Ability to Laugh

This is not inappropriate. The issues that your clients will need to discuss with you may be very intense and even embarrassing for them. If you have a sense of humor in your therapy sessions, it will be easier to bring difficult things out into the open. It's important to choose the timing that you will introduce laughter into the session, but don't be afraid to try it. Humor can be a valuable tool in your therapy sessions and can make your clients feel more comfortable at a time when they wouldn't necessarily feel that way.

An effective therapist must be a warm advocate who is very interested in what is going on with his or her clients. It's the way to make your clients feel comfortable with you and have much more effective therapy sessions.

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