Developing self-awareness as a counsellor is considered “central to many of the mainstream theoretical approaches” (Mcleod, 2009, p624). I will argue that without the development of self-awareness neither a trainee nor qualified counsellor can meet the core conditions set out in most theoretical approaches to counselling, congruence, empathy and unconditional positive regard. I will also argue that counselling trainees need to experience the role of client themselves before they can take others on the same road to self discovery. To answer the benefits and difficulties of the counselling trainee developing self-awareness whilst practicing skills in triads I will argue the feedback received from fellow peers can be very beneficial to
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I have also seen how my values and beliefs found in my own culture could distort my view of my clients world if they are not from similar backgrounds. Within one of my triads my clients story revealed a domestic situation which was very different to my own ideals. I realised during the session how strong my beliefs were on domestic equality and how if I were unaware of them they could distort how I viewed my clients world. Without awareness of these differences I would not be able to minimise the “risks of influencing clients to make choices that may have more to do with our prejudices than their preferences” (Cross & Papadopoulos, 2001, p96).
One of the main reasons valuable feedback can be gained during triads is due to those playing role of client using ‘real’ problems, thus allowing the simulation of as real a counselling environment as possible; “The value of the personal role play … is that the feedback given to the ‘counsellor’ is based on the actual reactions of the ‘client’ rather than on speculation about how an imagined client may have reacted” (Tolan & Lendrum, 1995, p29). However, whilst the use of real problems when in the role of client is beneficial it also creates difficulties when using triads to develop self-awareness. It is these difficulties that I will now discuss.
The first difficulty when using real problems in triads is due to our worry about self-disclosure. Gelard & Gelard (2008) believe this worry