What makes a good counsellor?

What makes a good counsellor?

Did you know that “nearly a fifth of adults in the UK experience anxiety or depression”, according to The Guardian’s latest official figures*. With such a large number of us suffering, sometimes in silence, it is no wonder why counselling has become so important.

Counselling, also known as therapy, can be seen as giving advice to a person regarding any issues or problems they may be having and helping work through them. Many of us will find ourselves in the role of being a counsellor at some point during our lives to a friend or family member. However, counselling on a professional level is very different and more advanced than this.

Professional counselling

A professional counsellor will be someone who possesses the necessary skills and qualifications to help assist an individual. They will have a proven ability of counselling as well as know the most appropriate form of therapy that is required based on the situation.

Essential skills required

  • Communication skills
  • Active listening skills
  • Effective questioning skills
  • Empathetic skills
  • Patient
  • Compassion
  • Research-orientated
  • Discrete
  • Encouraging
  • Self-aware
  • Sincere

Key responsibilities

 Build and maintain relationships with their patients.  This is essential for not only letting a client open up to the counsellor but to ensure that they regularly attend appointments.
 Help a client understand their feelings without judgement.  Giving unbiased, non-judgemental advice can be seen as difficult for those of us who aren’t professionals. However having the ability to do this will help an individual move forward with their emotions.
 Build trust with patients.  Making clients feel comfortable will help them be more vocal with how they are feeling. This will in turn allow the counsellor to give the necessary and appropriate advice.
 Be patient and sensitive. A counsellor needs to be able to give the appropriate advice in a manner that the client will not only understand but respond well to.
 Understand the situation and give appropriate recommendations.  As there are many different forms of counselling and therapy, a counsellor must be able to judge the circumstances accordingly. Not every individual is the same and as such everyone will respond in different ways.


If counselling is a field that interests you why not take a look at CU’s Counselling Degrees at CU Coventry, CU Scarborough and CU London. CU Coventry also offers Level 2 in Counselling Skills and Level 3 in Counselling Skills.

*Source: www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jun/19/anxiety-depression-office-national-statistics