Empathy and Acceptance Skill are Important for Counselling13th March 2020
Empathy and Acceptance are the two basic and important skills when it comes to counselling students. What do you mean by ‘empathy?’ Empathy is ‘the power or state of imagining oneself to be another person and so of sharing his/her ideas and feelings’ (Longman’s Dictionary). Do not confuse it with sympathy which means to provide support and comfort to others when they are going through pain or distress. Empathy is understanding the condition of the other person and reacting “as if” it is happening to you. The quality of empathy is required in counsellors for obvious reasons. It makes you as a school counsellor or a class teacher, more sensitive to others feelings and conditions, and helps you to understand the child’s state of mind and be able to listen to him/her without judging.
Acceptance is the next most important counselling skill that you as a competent counsellor is required to possess in order to do justice to your students. Acceptance or ‘unconditional positive regard’ (Carl Rogers) is to respect and accept the children for their unique individualities that separate them from each other. It is about exuding the warmth and valuing their opinions and feeling and communicating that to them will surely help you gain the child’s trust and help you in counselling him/her and get the desired outcome. The child should feel safe and comfortable in the presence of the counsellor, thus as a counsellor its is your responsibility to create a kind of environment where children feel that you understand them and accept them as they are.
By active listening, careful observation and valuing their opinions, thoughts and feelings and communicating your empathetic side to them will show, you respect them and can help to gain acceptance as a teacher counsellor.