Frequently Asked Questions About Effective Counseling

I wanted to become a counselor ever since I found out that my 15-year-old sister tried to end her life by ingesting all of Mom’s sleeping pills. My mother only realized that something’s wrong because she needed one that night, but the pill bottle was empty. The EMTs came on time, and they managed to save my sister, but that scene was deeply ingrained in my young mind.

When my sister woke up, she said she did it because her first boyfriend broke up with him. She believed that living without that boy was impossible, so she decided to take matters into her own hands. A psychologist eventually came and diagnosed my sister with depression, and she had been dealing with it ever since.


Realizing My Dream

Ever since that day, my dream expanded. Aside from becoming a counselor, I also wanted to be a licensed psychologist. I managed to achieve the latter almost two decades of studying later and began to practice in my city. I immediately got busy, considering there were not many psychologists in our area. My daily schedule was always full; sometimes, I would not even have time for lunch or five-minute breaks.

After a couple of years, though, I had the opportunity to apply for a counseling certification. Despite my success as a psychologist, I still wanted to offer counseling, mainly because I knew how much my patients struggled to go to the only counselor in the next city. If I became a licensed counselor, they would not have to go anywhere else for further help.

Learning About Effective Counseling

It was not challenging to find a school that offered a counseling program. What I found the trickiest was making sure that I embodied all the characteristics of an incredible counselor.

What are the characteristics of a counseling professional? 

A counseling professional is:

  • Aware of their thoughts and everything that comes out of their mouth
  • Sensitive about cultural practices
  • Flexible
  • Easy to trust
  • Hopeful

What is effective counseling? 

Counseling is considered adequate when the person manages to alter their negative thoughts and behaviors and develops a positive relationship with others and themselves.

What are the five counseling skills? 

  • Attending
  • Building rapport
  • Listening
  • Reflecting and paraphrasing
  • Summarizing

What type of person makes a good counselor? 

A good counselor is empathetic, compassionate, reasonable, optimistic, and knowledgeable about various counseling techniques. They also possess incredible listening skills and can offer solutions to practically any problem under the sun.

What are the objectives of counseling? 

  • To help people alter their negative behavior
  • To help individuals improve their interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships
  • To help people develop a positive and sustainable coping mechanism

What are the major elements of counseling? 

  • Developing a professional relationship between the client and the counselor
  • Making the problems or situation clear for both parties
  • Identifying the client’s goals and possible treatment approaches
  • Creating an intervention plan (to be approved by the client)
  • Planning how to conduct counseling and what happens when it ends

What are the principles of counseling? 

  • Autonomy
  • Justice
  • Beneficence
  • Nonmaleficence
  • Fidelity

What’s the importance of patient counseling? 

Patient counseling is essential because many patients are not knowledgeable about medical jargon and may be hesitant to take any medication they do not recognize. When the professional counsel them about the treatment, they will feel more inclined to follow the doctor’s orders.

What are Microcounseling skills? 

Micro-counseling skills refer to the foundation tools that counselors must possess to be able to provide counseling effectively. It includes building a rapport with the client, listening to them attentively and effectively, improving your posture to seem more approachable and welcoming, etc.

What are the three types of counseling? 

  • Event counseling
  • Performance counseling
  • Professional growth counseling

What are the steps of counseling? 

  • Data Gathering: The first step of counseling requires the counselor to gain as much information as possible about the person, including what they think their problem is and how it may be resolved.
  • Evaluation: The counselor assesses the symptoms that the person experiences, as well as their severity. Then, they try to figure out what causes such symptoms to appear and how ready the person is to receive counseling.
  • Feedback: This is when the counselor talks to the individual about their evaluation. The person will then decide if they will continue with the counseling or look for another treatment.
  • Counseling Agreement: Considering the individual decides to receive counseling, they need to discuss their goals and limits with the counselor to ensure that both parties are on the same page. Otherwise, counseling may never work.

How do you define counseling? 

Counseling is technically known as a professional relationship between a counselor and a troubled individual who wishes to achieve specific goals and improve their life.

How do you develop Counselling skills?

  • Develop small skills like talking clearly and positively, showing empathy, etc.
  • Remind yourself that receiving a master’s or doctoral degree is not the end of your studying days. You always need to update your knowledge about counseling to continue being an effective counselor.
  • Learn effectiveness strategies, including time management, goal-setting, emotional resilience, etc.
  • Ask another expert to be your mentor so that you can figure out if you are still doing things correctly or not.
  • Find a better way to understand what your clients are thinking or feeling. That’sThat’s how you can become an effective counselor.
  • Show some flexibility during a counseling session. For instance, even if your primary focus is depression, if the patient has family issues, you should also know how to touch on that to better help the individual.
  • Learn about various counseling techniques that you may apply if one approach does not work. For example, some people with addiction problems cannot see progress after taking therapy for a few months. In that case, you may offer cognitive-behavioral therapy or motivational interviewing.
  • Expand your clientele and influences through networking. The more organizations you are also affiliated with, the more you may get recognized in the industry.

Final Thoughts

I studied diligently to obtain my license and become a professional counselor. Less than a year after that, I finally got it. My clinic became more popular that I had to hire two more psychologists while I offered counseling. The bonus was that I could also guide my big sister as she continued to battle depression.

Family (My Daughter) Saved Me From A Lifetime Of Misery


When you’ve been abused for a very long time, you begin to doubt if you are worth it, as a person. I used to be very beautiful, fun-loving, daring, and full of life, the first 16 years of my experience. And then I met Michael. And he became everything about me. Every move I made, Michael had a say. The way I dressed, the way I acted, the way I spoke, and all, it was him, for him, and to please him. The “Kim” that I was, it was gone. Just because of love, or so I thought that it was love.

Continue reading “Family (My Daughter) Saved Me From A Lifetime Of Misery”

How To’s With Your Kids During Quarantine


Even if my marriage was a total failure, I have five kids that I love more than anything in this world. Sometimes, I think about regrets. I regret having met this monster who gave me my five children, but it is what it is. This is my life, and part of it is everything bad that happened to me during my marriage. What I will never regret, though, is bearing these five kiddos. They have been the light for me at the end of the tunnel.

Continue reading “How To’s With Your Kids During Quarantine”

This Is How I Relax


I just want to relax.

You hear this statement so often that it has a single meaning for all. When one says he or she just wants to relax, it automatically means the person will take off some time from work and do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Is this the real connotation of the word “relax?” According to Noam Shpancer, Ph.D., “Relaxation is best approached as a tool for improving general body awareness and well being, rather than a means for managing specific clinical or situational conditions.”

For you it may be the right implication, but how about for others?

To prove my point that being in a state of “relaxation” is not just about doing nothing, here are five random people from all walks of life who have their own version of what the word “relax” means for them.

Nikki, full-time mom, 33 from Baltimore, MD

Relax??? Hahahaha. (She laughs sarcastically.) You must be joking, right? I’m a mother of four kids, and all four of them have ASD. (ASD is Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Nikki’s kids are all hyper.) I barely have time to relax. So, yeah. Let me tell you about how I do it. Once a week, my husband and I take at least 6 hours of “just us two” time. We leave the kids at my mother’s, and we detach ourselves from them. What do we do? We take a drive and go to restaurants outside Baltimore; then, we go back when the 6th hour is up. I know it sounds weird, but that’s our version of “relax.”

Don’t get me wrong. We love our kids very much, but their hyperness consumes me, and once a week, I just need to be free.


Marc, chef/entrepreneur/restaurateur, 48 from Chicago, IL

I make it a point to relax for an hour each day. I usually take this break during mid-afternoon when the restaurant is not that busy, and I leave it in the hands of my sous chef. Believe it or not, I watch a Netflix series. Right now, I am enjoying “The Haunting of Hill House.”

Joe, swim varsity coach, 37 from Honolulu, HI

I’m not young anymore, and for people like me who are always mentally and physically drained, I take a leave from work, a day off just to recuperate. Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter explains that the early signs can show up as a “lack of focus and mild forgetfulness.” Later, the problems may get to the point where you can’t get your work done and everything begins to pile up.”

I usually sleep, and when I wake up, I eat what I want to eat. If my girlfriend is available, we “exercise.” You know what I mean. Hahaha. And then, I sleep again. That is my idea of relaxing.


Alicia, massage therapist, 24 from New York, NY

I provide relaxation services with what I do as a massage therapist. My hands are my bread and butter since it does the job for me, and so I take good care of it. “Massage therapy,” according to Ricky Greenwald, PsyD, “the manual manipulation of soft body tissue to promote health and well-being, can provide relief from physical, emotional, and mental stress, and decrease levels of depression, anxiety, irritability, and other symptoms associated with trauma exposure.”

To relax, I invest in a hand paraffin service. Paraffin is a liquid wax, and it’s warm. You submerge your hands in hot wax and let it cool. The feeling is heaven!!! My hands are recovered every time I ask my friend to do it. The service is heavily discounted for employees in our salon, and so, I take that benefit every few days.

Diane, retired accountant, 68 from Seattle, WA

Ever since Carl left this world, I have been alone. My kids are all grown up, and they live in different cities. I am a retired accountant and living a frugal life, as well. My days are filled with volunteer work because I didn’t want to be dormant. Would you believe me when I say that my way to relax is by serving people in soup kitchens? I know it sounds bizarre, but it soothes me. Carl always loved donating his time for the community, and now I’m doing it. It is so relaxing.

Now, reading about how other people relax, does it sound familiar to you? Let us know how you relieve yourself from stress and take it easy.