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How to Stay Present With Clients When You Become a Wellness Counsellor

become a wellness counsellor

As a wellness counsellor, it’s important to focus on the present moment. The idea of staying present with someone else means maintaining awareness when communicating with and listening to them (Gorin, 2018). A wellness counsellor’s ability to stay present with clients is considered to be a major component of their success—and therefore, the success of their sessions (Tannen, Daniels, & Koro-Ljungberg, 2017).

Here’s how you can remain in the present moment with clients once you become a wellness counsellor.

The First Step Is Learning How to Become a Great, Active Listener

One of the most important parts of being a wellness counsellor is being able to listen to clients actively. For some clients, time spent with a wellness counsellor is the only instance in which they feel seen and heard, and as if they can be themselves (Dore, 2018). To become an active listener, the wellness counsellor needs to engage themselves fully with the client, and pay attention to them. This is also to be done without judgment and in an open-minded manner, whilst gathering as much information about the other person as possible, such as the words they use, their facial expressions, and their body language (Dore, 2018). 

Listening to clients empathetically and without judgment can help you stay present with them
Listening to clients empathetically and without judgment can help you stay present with them

Although at times wellness counsellors may have various events going on in their lives that can act as distractions, ruminating on this during sessions will have a negative effect on interactions with clients. Therefore, you will need to compartmentalize these anxieties so that you can stay present and focused with your client (Gorin, 2018). The most important lesson is for the wellness counsellor to give their undivided attention to the client so as to remain present with them, including by making eye contact and listening empathetically (Gorin, 2018).

Building a Solid Relationship With Clients Can Make Staying Present Easier

As you practice being present with clients, it’s important that you also build a rapport with them so that they can feel safe, validated, and that they can trust you. You can do this by asking clients about their goals for sessions, avoiding judgment or imposing your personal convictions onto them, showing empathy and a nurturing demeanour, and encouraging them to express their feelings about sessions (Swinton, 2018). 

Students getting their diploma in wellness counselling will learn how to help clients identify what is preventing them from achieving wellness (“Rhodes Wellness College: Wellness Counsellor Diploma”), and it’s important to do so while establishing a strong feeling of trust, warmth, and empathy.

There Are Several Techniques Those Who Want to Become a Wellness Counsellor Can Use

If you want to become a wellness counsellor, one way to stay present with clients is by practicing mindfulness. This helps to develop one’s ability to be in the present moment, which can be cultivated through meditation, breathing exercises, and body awareness (“Psychology Today”).

Some other techniques  you can use to stay present with clients include validating their feelings during sessions, letting clients get through sessions at their own pace, and reassuring the client that you are there for them and support them. You should also be sure to thank them for trusting you (Swinton, 2018).

Techniques for staying present with clients includes validating their feelings and allowing them to go at their own pace
Techniques for staying present with clients includes validating their feelings and allowing them to go at their own pace

Do you want to attend a wellness college in Vancouver?

Contact Rhodes Wellness College for more information! There are still a few spots remaining for our January 2020 classes. Learn more about how you can Help Yourself and Help Others through our New Decade, New You initiative.


Works Cited

Dore, J. (2018, April 27). Four Steps for Staying Present in Sessions. Retrieved from https://pro.psychcentral.com/four-steps-for-staying-present-in-sessions/.

Dore, J. (2016, January 31). Utilizing the Present Moment in Sessions. Retrieved from https://pro.psychcentral.com/utilizing-the-present-moment-in-sessions/.

Gorin, F. (2018, October 25). 3 Ways To Stay Present With Clients. Retrieved from https://www.lifepurposeinstitute.com/3-ways-to-stay-present-with-clients/.

Patterson, B. (2014, July 10). THE GIFT OF THE PRESENT MOMENT IN THE THERAPY SESSION. Retrieved from http://bethspatterson.com/gift-present-moment-therapy-session/.

Psychology Today (n.d.) Mindfullness. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/basics/mindfulness

Rhodes Wellness College: Wellness Counsellor Diploma. (n.d.). Retrieved December 19, 2019, from https://www.rhodescollege.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/wellness-counsellor-diploma-program-outline.pdf.

Strosahl, K., Robinson, P. J., & Gustavsson, T. (2015). Inside this moment: a clinicians guide to promoting radical change using acceptance and commitment therapy. Oakland, CA: Context Press.

Swinton, T. (2018, June 18). Staying Present: Finding Focus in Session. Retrieved from https://croswaitecounselingpllc.com/blog/2018/6/18/staying-present-finding-focus-in-session.

Tannen, T., Daniels, M. H., & Koro-Ljungberg, M. (2017). Choosing to be present with clients: an evidence – based model for building trainees’ counselling competence. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 47(4), 405–419. doi: 10.1080/03069885.2017.1370694 Zerubavel, N., & Messman-Moore, T. L. (2013). Staying Present: Incorporating Mindfulness into Therapy for Dissociation. Mindfulness, 6(2), 303–314. doi: 10.1007/s12671-013-0261-3