Effective Counselor Qualities

The American Counseling Association defines the profession of counseling as: a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.  At the Department of Education and Counseling at Villanova University, we are committed to facilitating both the professional development and personal growth of our students, to ensure that our counselors are trained to be effective in their future work.

Following are core criteria for effective counseling, used in teaching and supervision of counselors in the Villanova Program

·Awareness of the meaning and impacts of your own, and others’, multiple intersectional identities and traits (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, body shape, sexual orientation, gender roles, nationality, religion, and ability status).

·Awareness of, and willingness to continually address: a) personal cultural world views/values, and; b) biases held toward persons with varied identities, behaviors, and traits.

·Competency in working with persons who possess a diversity of intersectional identities and traits (examples of competency traits: openness, cultural humility, and the ability to collaborate, and empathize, with a diversity of clientele).

·Knowledge of individual and systemic barriers that inhibit the health, wellbeing, and socioeconomic and career status of persons with underrepresented identities or traits (e.g., racism; sexism; Christian hegemony; homophobia; etc.).

·Ability to identify and draw on clients’ strengths and resources in order to collaboratively tailor counseling interventions.

·Commitment to acting as a social justice change agent, and to empowering clients, in the redressing of systemic issues that impedes client health and wellbeing.

*Find the official document for the Multicultural Social Justice Counseling Competences, as endorsed by the American Counseling Association, at: https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/competencies

  • Knows evidence-based practices and basic strategies for evaluating the counseling process and outcome in counseling. 
  • A knowledge and understanding of methods of research and investigation for the purpose of keeping abreast of current developments in the field to insure the effectiveness of workplace programs and counseling outcome.
  • Demonstrates the ability to apply and adhere to ethical and legal standards in counseling. 
  • A knowledge and understanding of one’s self and his or her impact upon the counseling process in order to deliver ethical and effective services (i.e., the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselors Association), and by current legal precedent. 
  • Demonstrates the ability to recognize one’s own limitations as a counselor and to seek supervision or refer clients when appropriate. 
  • Recognizes the importance of family, social networks, and community systems in the treatment of mental and/or emotional disorders. 
  • Demonstrates appropriate application of culturally responsive treatments such as, individual, couple, family, and group in schools and community agencies for initiating, maintaining, and terminating counseling. 
  • Recognizes the importance of the role of the counselor as an agent of social change and possesses skills to implement change. 
  • Demonstrates an awareness of systemic inequalities. 
  • Demonstrates a high level of interpersonal skills such as the ability to respectfully communicate opinions with colleagues. 
  • Demonstrates the ability to receive and apply feedback from supervisors and colleagues. 
  • Demonstrates ability to provide appropriate feedback to others.
  • Demonstrates effective delivery and use of counseling skills. 
  • Demonstrates a cognitively complex understanding of client problems and the counseling process.
  • Demonstrates competent treatment delivery.
  • Demonstrates the ability to establish working therapeutic relationships
  • Demonstrates and applies knowledge of counseling theories and approaches.

Villanova’s faculty members have developed a professional performance review process for students in the Counseling program, whereby students are regularly assessed according to specific attributes, characteristics, and behaviors that researchers and scholars have identified as necessary for effective counseling.

Please review the Professional Performance Review document below.