When you experience psychological difficulties and cannot solve the problem on your own, you may seek help from psychology counseling. The counselor has professional knowledge and abilities to help solve psychological problems.
Counselors must have professional knowledge on psychology treatment and abilities to induce the counselee's underlying problems to be expressed for proper treatment. However, there are more important abilities and qualifications a competent counselor needs to have to provide the counselee with proper guidance regarding the restoration of healthy psychology.
The first and foremost is the ability to distinguish among psychological problems, psychological disorders, and severe mental conditions that require medical intervention. Psychological problems can be improved and solved by psychology counseling, but psychological disorders need to be treated with proper treatment methods other than psychology counseling. Applying psychology counseling to treat psychological disorders may only aggravate the pathological condition.
Many people mistake symptoms of psychological disorders for those of psychological problems, which leads to applying psychology counseling to treat psychological disorders. It is as if you prescribed cold medicine to a patient of cancer. When the condition is diagnosed as a psychological disorder, the counselor should apply a psychology treatment method that is designed for the specific condition instead of providing psychology counseling. The case may have to be referred for a medical consultation when the condition is even more serious.
The second is the ability to heal and treat their own stress and wounds. Counselors are stressed and wounded a lot through counseling practices since they have to keep perceiving negative information during counseling sessions. They are in a situation where they can easily develop psychological problems. Counselors can also build up stress and wounds through study, work, and other life matters. They need to establish the psychology healing system for themselves, and be able to treat their own psychological problems and disorders.
When the counselor does not have the healing system for themselves, the counselee's psychological condition keeps being aggravated as well as the counselor's condition. Then, the counseling itself gets distorted in procedures and results. Improper counseling may contribute to aggravating a mild case of psychological problem to a severe psychological disorder.
The third is the ability to provide the counselee with a comfortable enough atmosphere but to prevent the counselor and the counselee from building rapport at the same time. The counselor must be able to communicate with the counselee effectively and let the counselee freely express his or her thoughts and feelings employing diverse counseling techniques. However, they must not form rapport to the extent that they develop some personal relationship or the counselee becomes dependent on the counseling or the counselor.
Competent counselors must have the three qualifications described above, on top of which they can build professional knowledge and counseling skills. Professional knowledge and counseling skills without the three fundamental qualifications will only lead to the advancement of the counselee's pathological condition.
Psychology counseling has been prevailing as a way to solve psychological problems and treat psychological disorders. Many people misunderstand that psychology counseling is a proper treatment method not only for psychological problems but also for psychological disorders, which is not the case at all. Incorrect application of psychology counseling only produces more and more severe cases of psychological disorders in the society. This mechanism also applies to lay people's giving advice to people who have psychological problems. Mentoring and sharing thoughts and emotions for psychological issues must be approached with great care and caution. Some people even take advantage of vulnerable people in disguise of philanthropic intention and professional knowledge.
Anyone who suffers from psychological difficulties easily falls for attention, consolation, and encouragement from other people especially from so-called experts. A truly competent and benevolent counselor would never neglect any of the three important qualifications in practicing psychology counseling.