Q6b Identify areas for development in personal skills and qualities in relation to helping relationships

Q6b Identify areas for development in personal skills and qualities in relation to helping relationships. (2.2)
With regard to your skills and qualities in helping relationships, identify the areas you would like to develop and highlight in ways in which you intend to achieve this.
The main area I would like to further develop is my listening skills. While feedback shows that people feel I am very attentive towards them, sometimes I miss parts of information resulting from my own “blocks to listening”. In a previous assessment these have been identified as loss of concentration coming from i) my sense of urgency in helping to find positive outcomes or solutions to problems (e.g. trying to think ahead of, or second-guess the client) and ii) my inner “judge” which can make me jump to conclusions about the motivations of others without verifying this.
I believe the causes of my loss of concentration come from my workplace where there is always a sense of urgency to fix things and move on. I tend to take upon myself the responsibility to fix things for myself and others. The way for me to achieve an improvement in this area is to remind myself that, in helping relationships I am the facilitator of positive outcomes for the client and NOT the problem solver. In other words I need to resist owning and solving the problem. To become more practised in this it will help me if I differentiate my working relationships from other relationships with friends and family. In other words I need to become more mindful in my interactions with others and think “is this just about work or is this an opportunity to help the person at a deeper level”.
Although physical exercise is part of my routine, I will need to build in some time for relaxing and meditation in order to become more “present”. I believe this will help me a lot in reducing anxiety and improving my concentration levels.

Q7 Describe how to develop skills and qualities in the future. (2.3)
In order to develop my skills and qualities in the future I need to
1 Know how to develop my self understanding
Definitions: values, beliefs; impact of helpers’ and helpees’ values and belief on the helping relationship
Motivation for helping others: altruism, own unresolved issues, ‘wounded healer’
Blocks to listening and learning: eg distraction, tiredness, illness, physical discomfort; concerns about own performance; thinking about what to say next, emotional blocks (including own material being stimulated)
Benefits of giving and receiving feedback: opportunity to reflect on and address ‘blind’ areas; how to give feedback using feedback ‘sandwich’; Johari window; practising giving and receiving feedback on areas of strength and ‘growing edge’ eg after skills practice, on basis of observation of peers during class interaction/ exercises

2 Know personal qualities relevant to the helping role
Personal skills and qualities: personal skills/qualities inventory; areas for development; Maslow’s theory of self-actualisation and characteristics of healthy people

Q8 Identify your own support needs in order to contribute to a helping relationship. (3.1)
Identify your own support needs in order to contribute to helping a relationship and describe how you can access this support.
Being quite a self-sufficient character I tend to see it as a form of weakness on my part to ask for help. I much prefer giving help to others than asking for it myself. However, I have come to realise that in some ways failing to ask for help when I really need it is actually a weakness rather than a strength. It can work against me and become quite isolating. The irony is that failing to ask for help could prevent me from meeting my true potential in helping others. I realise I need to try to shift my thinking on this.

Q9 Describe how to access your own support. (3.2)
3 Know how to meet own support needs
Support needs: defining own needs; how learning about and using counselling skills may change the levels of support required; peer support, supervision and personal therapy and how these may be accessed

Q10 Outline how personal and/or professional support can be used to highlight issues arising from the use of counselling skills. (3.3)
I have come to realise and appreciate that personal and professional support is vitally important to the counsellor in helping relationships because it enables them to become more effective in the helping relationship as a result of understanding themselves and addressing their own issues.
Sometimes, issues which may be unconscious to ourselves can manifest themselves when helping others, or may inhibit our ability to offer unconditional positive regard or be able to think and act objectively. In some cases it may not be possible to overcome the issues, but at least by developing self- awareness we become more mindful about how our own situation can impact the helping relationship. (e.g. we could become “too empathic” and experience vicarious anger or try to placate and rescue others with whom we more closely identify at a deep personal level).
For counselling practitioners, professional supervision is recommended and appears to be essential as a support mechanism for those regularly engaged for significant periods of time in concentrating on helping relationships. It is as if the greater the exposure to helping scenarios is, then the greater the support needs are to underpin on-going mental health and reduce stress of the counsellor, as well as to enhance and maintain their effectiveness in the helping relationship.
Although I am not a devout Christian, the Christian beliefs and teachings informed much of my upbringing. Every time we discuss the importance of support in counselling skills practice it makes me recall one of Jesus Christ’s lessons from the Holy Bible, New Testament: i.e. to help “remove the spec from someone else’s eye we first need to remove the log of wood from our own eye in order to see more clearly”…..to be of useful help. Personal and professional support appears to be a key enabler of the counsellor to become more helpful to others, through working on their own self-awareness and issues.