In this post I want to share with you an interview about counselling I had with a counselling student from Argentina.
She asked me the following questions about the profession and in particular about ethics issues that might arise.
As I was answering the questions, I realised that it could be useful to other students/counsellors, so here is the full interview. If you have any questions or want to share your opinion feel free to leave your comments!
Thanks Paula for picking such interesting questions and inviting me to take part. 🙂
What is your name? How old are you and where are you from?
My name is Verónica Moreno. I am 33 years old and I am originally from Madrid (Spain), although I am based in London.
What was your motivation to choose this profession?
I started my career in finance, and I realised that it didn´t fulfil me, what I really wanted to do was to work with and for people. I wanted a job through which I could have a positive impact in my clients’ lives. I have had counselling for two years as a client myself and I have discovered the enormous benefits of this profession.
Where did you train as a counsellor?
I did a two year masters’ degree in Instituto Galene Madrid, accredited by the University of Alcalá de Henares.
Why do we need training in ethics in this profession?
Because as counsellors, we have a big responsibility. Our clients trust us, they tell us things that not even their closest friends or relatives know. We need to try our best to do things right and avoid putting our clients at risk. It is essential for the therapeutic relationship that our clients feel safe and protected. Following a well-defined ethics code is key and we should always keep this in mind.
Have you ever had any ethics issues working as a counsellor?
Yes, of course, we are humans and I think every counsellor will face a situation in which they will have doubts about what to do. When we work with people there is not always black or white, and sometimes I have had doubts about what the ‘right thing to do’ was.
How did you deal with it?
In supervision. It is a basic support for me; it always gives me clarity to discuss any questions with an experienced supervisor and with other colleagues that might have dealt with a similar situation.
With regards to what you learnt in your training and your professional practice, is it different or similar?
My training had a strong practical part so I felt pretty comfortable when I finished. But still, in this profession you learn something new every day!
What advice would you give to a student of counselling?
First of all, they should look for high quality training. Learn from the best and be open to different methodologies/approaches. Learning only one approach can be limiting in practice, all models have something different to offer.
When they start working, I definitely recommend supervision and having counselling as a client. Counter transference between counsellor and client is very common in counselling practice, so the healthier we are, the better we will be able to help our clients.
What type of counselling do you do?
Humanistic Integrative. Humanistic because it follows Carl Rogers´ model: person-centred therapy.
Integrative because I don´t use only one psychological model but different elements from Transactional Analysis, Gestalt, Psychoanalysis, Brief therapy, etc.
Did you find any difficulties when entering the labour market?
I have my own business so for me the main challenge was to promote myself so people would know about me.
What do you like the most about this profession?
It is just magical. It helps many people to have better emotional health, wellbeing, be happier and have healthier relationships. And t has uncountable benefits in our clients´ lives.
What is your opinion about the use of a desk in the consulting room?
It is not my style. I think it gives a very formal touch and it almost looks like a GP´s room. I mainly do on-line sessions and when I have my own centre I will want it to be welcoming, with a friendly and warm atmosphere, where the client can feel comfortable instead of intimidated or analysed. But this is my personal preference, and I think each practitioner should be true to their own style.
Are you happy about the reach of this profession or do you think it could have more?
I think it should have much more reach. There should be counsellors in every school, company, institution. We need much more emotional education, especially in a world in which we are only getting more and more disconnected from our emotions. I think counselling (or any other type of therapy) should not be considered as a remedy for ‘crazy people’ or people with ‘psychological problems’. We need to remove the taboo and get counselling to be considered as something natural and positive for our health, like when we go to the gym to improve our body or we study to train our brain.
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