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Excellence In Counselling - Gift or Skill?

Dr. Pati Beaudoin writes: The way we use our words and voice with our clients can make a person feel heard from the heart. With a counselor who uses words and voice well, clients often feel for the first time that what they think and feel are important and worthy of respect. Feeling heard in this deep way encourages the client to go deeper, to share the secrets that have felt too shameful, too embarrassing ever to share with anyone.


The deepening words and vocal tone alone -- without asking the client a question -- lead the client into deeper and deeper places. And then when the client has reached that deep, s/he often discovers secrets s/he has kept even from the self. This process leads to the client discovering strengths and talents unknown before the deepening dialogue, for frequently talents and skills are hidden under secrets.

Some people seem to have a gift for getting others to open up, but it is actually a learned skill with a specific sequence of actions. Like any skill, it depends on some “native” talent. Just as singing well depends on the talent to hit the right notes combined with training of the voice, so “gifted” counselors start with a warm heart, a genuine interest in other people, and a sincere desire to help.

But that is not enough — in fact, that warm heart and sincere desire to help can lead both lay counselors and professionals into counseling quicksand. Many in the counseling profession have found themselves feeling as if they need to change the client’s behavior, especially when feeling frustrated with a client’s repeating self harm. Some examples of this arise in the field of addictions, but a client does not have to be addicted to bring up these feelings in a counselor. Consider people (usually women) who repeatedly get into romantic relationships with people who physically abuse them. If you have counseled such a client, you may be familiar with the feeling of having done wonderful work, only to have her return to the man who caused her harm.

One of the skills of counseling is knowing how to use these feelings on behalf of the client. Another is knowing how to get the client to make her own decisions in her own favor and at a deep enough level to really stick.

But it all starts with that “gifted” ability to invite the client’s heart into your own, and that also is not really a gift, but a skill. Choosing the right words, the right tone of voice, knowing when and how to use your knowledge and when to hold back — even breathing in certain ways in session — all of these skills can be taught. If you have the warm heart, the sincere interest in people, and a real desire to help, your counseling practice will benefit from learning both the macro and the micro skills of counseling. Macro skills are those that are larger processes of counseling, such as how and when to validate, empathize, confront. Micro skills are the smaller components of the larger skills, such as choosing just the right word, breathing in such a way as to help the client relax, sitting in such a way as to help the client relax, using one’s voice to invite the client’s heart to open.

And as I write this, I realize that it can sound as if counseling is a gimmick, a bunch of manipulations. In someone who doesn’t truly care for the client, counseling can become gimmicky and manipulative, for it is done in the interests of the counselor. But an open-hearted counselor who truly cares for the client and has the client’s best interests at heart uses these skills to express authentic acceptance and to really help the client. For the open-hearted counselor these skills become second nature after a little practice, because they help so much in the counseling process.

For anyone who works in the healing professions these skills are important, whether you are a physician, a massage therapist, a Reiki practitioner, a nurse, or any of the many healing professions involved in Energy Psychology. These are the skills that comprise excellence in counseling, and if you are in the healing professions, you may have already recognized that no matter which healing profession you practice, counseling is part of it. The Counseling for Non-Counselors training program is designed specifically for people who are already practicing a healing profession that does not traditionally include training in counseling. Besides the skills already mentioned, the program also includes psychological assessment, assessment of risk, how to avoid getting in over your head, and what to do if you discover that you are already in over your head. When you finish this program, you will have new skills to use right away, bringing you to a new level of mastery in whichever healing profession you practice.

Counseling for Non-Counselors

Pati Beaudoin

Pre-conference, two-day professional training - Suitable For All

All Energy Psychology practices include counseling. Whether you are just beginning your Energy Psychology(EP) training or have been using EP for some time, this workshop will give you the basics in counseling. Learn how to interview to get the most information, how to probe the unconscious to find the key issues, how to avoid getting in over your head and what to do when you find yourself over your head. Regardless of how long you may have been doing EP, this workshop will give you the essentials to fine-tune your practice.


Pati Beaudoin, EdD, Licensed Psychologist

Dr. Pati Beaudoin was educated in both the US and Canada, receiving her doctorate from the University of Toronto. She is in private practice in Atlanta, GA, where she treats adults and adolescents. She is a Past President of the Georgia Hypnosis Society and Past Chair of the Georgia Psychological Association’s (GPA) Division of Independent Practice. In 1999 she received GPA’s Award for Outstanding Service. She currently serves as Board Member and Chair of the Ethics Committee for ACEP. Pati presents internationally on such varied topics as family violence, hypnosis, energy psychology and ethics. She was recently interviewed on “The Dream Show,” an Atlanta television show in which she described and demonstrated energy psychology. She has consulted to the Sandinista Ministry of Health in Nicaragua and the New York Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division.

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