Spiritual open-mindedness: is generally acquired through life changing personal experiences such as hitting bottom, death related issues, terminal illness, seeing the light, sustained meditation/yoga/prayer practices and the like. Obviously, spiritual views would not obstruct a healthy client-counsellor relationship, but foster a fundamental understanding of the often epic nature of the human/spiritual journey facing users in periods of crisis.
Q: Do a counsellor’s spiritual values differ significantly enough to hinder mutual understanding? Are you on the same wavelength?
Love and compassion: are central themes from which relationship and self-nurturance arise. Whether in the form of a drug, profession, hobby, friend or partner, love is a primal motivational force that is often underestimated.
Q: Do you love yourself enough to not lie to yourself?
Strong interpersonal skills: are important in dealing with conflict and making for the healthy expression of points of views, especially unpopular ones. The counsellor knows their own baggage (we all have it) without dismissing it and you in the process?
Q: Are you being heard, understood and related to honestly? Do you guys click?
Honest: lays the foundation for trust in any relationship and is crucial to developing personal integrity, especially when faced with difficult decisions.
Q: Are you honest enough to explore what being honest with yourself actually is?
Emotional maturity: is crucial in dealing with people of underdeveloped emotional natures. Without it a counsellor could come across as too cold and business-like and not give you the emotional attention you need.
Q: How does your counsellor deal with ‘negative’ emotions when they arise?
Effective communication: is the key to expressing wants and desires. There are many forms of communication (speech, body language, writing, etc) each important in its own right.
Q: How well do they communicate outside of their comfort zones?
Teamwork: is essential in creating a safe space where cooperation and communication to desired goals can take place.
Q: Are you an active member of your own self-care plan? Do you have a team to work with you?
Courage: is essential to overcoming your own hurdles to get the job done.
Q: Does your counsellor inspire courage in you?
Creativity: is an essential tool that helps you to seek new ways of thinking, feeling and seeing things, no matter how challenging.
Q: Are you creative enough to not give up on your committments?
Experiential Knowledge: is crucial to being seen and heard as a human being rather than a statistic. Choose a counsellor that has the experiential knowledge that resonates with your way of being.
Q: How well does your counsellor understand the issues? How well do you know yourself?
Motivation: is the art of getting things in motion. A good counsellor will create a safe space where you can explore your own motivational needs.
Q: Do you feel motivated to explore new ways of thinking, feeling, seeing, being?
Leadership: is a quality best expressed in how we truly relate and be in the world. If we are simply being lip-serviced then we need to tap into our own leadership skills and find someone new.
Q: Do you know when it is best to take the lead in not being the leader and simply listening?
Adaptability: how well you surf the changes in life that inevitably arise.
Q: Can you adapt to a changing you?
Scheduling: helps create structure and pattern in an otherwise chaotic life.
Q: Are you able to work with your counsellor as a team to create realistic goals for yourself?
Time Management: helps us to organize and be more productive with the time we give ourselves.
Q: Do you feel the time spent is productive?
Goal Setting: are the goals you and your counsellor set realistic, manageable, timely and within your abilities?
Q: Going to a counsellor is a goal. Buying drugs is a goal. What other goals do you set for yourself – no matter how trivial?