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Common Errors for Beginning Counselors

I read this article today and thought this was a good resource for beginning counselors out there. I know that these are things I continue to work on as I am seeing clients for the first time at my internship site this semester.

Common Errors for Beginning Counselors

The following list includes some common errors that beginning counselors often make.

Projecting – if you have a common issue or experience, assuming that your client’s experience is the same as yours rather than listening from the client’s point of view.

Closed question – killing the conversation and usually changing the topic

Asking too many questions in one response – the client doesn’t know which one to answer

Not allowing for silence – responding quickly because you want to say something or you’re afraid to experience some silence. Take a moment before speaking to be more certain the client is finished speaking, and wait until she looks back at you.

Interrupting the client

  • With what the counselor wants to say – difficulty with inhibition
  • By finishing the client’s sentence
  • Lots of content reflections without feelings – explore reasons for avoiding emotions
  • Fear of the client losing control
  • Unable to see one’s own feelings, and therefore hard to see the client’s feelings
  • Devaluing feelings in general
  • Client seems to avoid exposing feelings

Focusing on the positive – in other words, when the client tells you what’s good and bad, reflecting only on the good – not therapeutic unless in later sessions usually

Wanting to solve the problem too quickly – getting solution oriented in the first session is usually premature. If you can solve it in an hour, then the client probably will be able to solve it himself. Most people bring a symptom of a larger problem to the session; so be mindful to discover the problem rather than fixing the symptom. Also, doing this can take power away from the client, implying that the client isn’t smart enough to figure the problem out. Also, sometimes we just want to…

read more about it at  Common Errors for Beginning Counselors.


About Brittany Duncan, Student Counselor Intern

Hi! I am 25 years old. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. I am currently working on my master's at in Mental Counseling at UTSA. I will be graduating in August 2013.

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