Accidental Counsellor Training Mistakes

If you’re an Accidental Counsellor often finding yourself giving people advice and telling them how to fix their problems, watch this video as I discuss the most common mistake Accidental Counsellors make.

The common insight people have when they attend the Accidental Counsellor Training is… “Wow, it’s really hard to get out of the old habit of just giving people advice.”

You might be thinking…

“What’s wrong with that?”

“Isn’t that what an Accidental Counsellor does?”

“Isn’t that what an actual Professional Counsellor does?”

“Why would you go to a Counsellor?”

“Why would you go and speak to someone about your problem?”

Surely, it is to get guidance and advice. However, often times, that’s not the best way to support the client that we’re working with.

Receiving advice and guidance is the common understanding of the counselling process. Here I am in my office where I work in my private practice. I would have some who would walk in and say things like, “Well, I hope you can fix me.” That already begins the one-up power dynamic.  let’s just say the person you’re working with walks away from you feeling better and has made some wonderful changes in their lives that have supported the life that they want, whether it’s at school, work or wherever it is.

The worst thing that could ever happen is that they would credit you for the change. I had clients do this, “You’ve saved our marriage.” It’s really not true. You don’t want the students or clients you’re working with to abdicate their personal power and responsibility, and help put you up in that one-up power position that holds you as the mentor and guru. This is difficult because that’s the common understanding of counsellors. You go to a counsellor and they’ll fix your problem. Even the dictionary says that the counsellor is a person that gives counsel and advice. And yet, research is clearly stating, I’ve seen this over 20 years of counselling work, that the most effective part of counselling therapy is the rapport and the connection that the counsellor or the Accidental counsellor can have with their client. It’s this joining with them.

To be able to let go of your perspective, what you think is right, your moral judgment and to see the world through your client’s eyes, to match them, to provide and to communicate with them an empathetic understanding, can be very difficult. However it does sounds simple.

Accidental Counsellor Training Mistakes

What if the client is talking about things that are abhorent to you that you have little tolerance around. They’re talking about engaging in a lifestyle or whatever the case may be, to be able to see the world and come to an understanding of the other person even though that is very different to how you would see the world, is really a difficult thing. It’s much easier said than done. The concepts of rapport and empathy to mirror back, to match the client as I say, are very easy. What I have noticed at the Accidental Counsellor Training,  after the small group role plays is a common reflection from participants. All of a sudden, people say, “Wow, it’s really hard to get out of that old habit of giving advice.”

 

The problem with advice-giving

What’s the problem with advice-giving? Here’s a case study. Just recently, I was working at a school with a wonderful group of teachers and, of course, all of these concepts made sense and lots of nodding of people’s heads. And yet, when it came time for me to demonstrate some of the concepts that I’m speaking about, we had one


Let me give you one quick example because a lot of this might seem vague. In this situation, the student would say,
“You speak to my mother.” It was a problem with her mother; not enough freedom and her being too domineering. Often times, we might say, “Well that’s a reasonable suggestion or that’s not a bad idea, why not speak to the parent? Let’s see if we can mediate.” Of course, that would be part of a solution. But if you really listen carefully, for instance in this situation with the student, it may not have been the best solution. So I said…teacher come up and take on the role of a 17-year old girl in Year 11. This girl was asking, almost pleading, “What do I do?” I would say things like, “I’m not sure. Let’s talk about this. Maybe together we can work something out.” But I would never want to put myself in that one-up position.

It was a very frustrating and difficult interview where there didn’t seem to be many options or solutions. The more and more I refrain from telling the student what to do, in this case the teacher in the role play, the more and more even the teacher in the role play was able to come up with their best solution. They were able to accept the situation that they were in. They knew that it wouldn’t be too much longer and that they will be able to make a change in the environment that they were living in. But up until now, that was the best thing for them. Now that was very uncomfortable for me and for the people watching because we all wanted for it to be a nicer, happier solution; a happy ending where perhaps their was a resolution to this.

“Well has that happened?”

“Have you ever asked teachers or school counsellors to contact your mother?”

The client said…

“Ah Yes! And it’s just gotten things worse. Mum’s blamed me…”

Instead of racing ahead of the client, we need to work out where they’re at; find out what they’ve already done and not just repeat the old advice that they’ve received that hasn’t worked. If we do they will walk away even more frustrated. We want them to have wins to improve the quality of their life.

The Solution

Our job is to guide them through asking good probing questions and allowing the client to reflect on those questions and come up with their own understanding. This is the fundamental premise of the Accidental Counsellor Training, and that it’s based on Solution Focused Therapy where the critical philosophy is that the client has the answers and the best solutions to the problems in their own context. Our role is to walk with them and journey with them, asking questions, holding the space even during lots of times of anxiety and being uncomfortable. We need to get comfortable with not knowing and uncertainty and with our own anxiety. If we are working super hard in trying to fix a problem, harder than the client, well then whose needs are we responding to?

If we can manage our own anxiety and accept the fact that sometimes this problem is not going to be resolved the way I personally would like it to be resolved. It’s resolved in the best way for the client, through the client’s eyes and context. That allows the client to learn also to be comfortable with uncertainty and doubt, and also have the knowing that they can work through their own issues with guidance and help. Then, they come to their own unique understanding of the solution.

I hope that some of these ideas and concepts resonate with you and are a reminder for those of you who have attended the training. If you are interested in attending an Accidental Counsellor Training, go to www.accidentalcounsellor.com

I look forward to seeing you at one of the trainings around Australia.

Accidental Counsellor Training Wollongong 2012

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Wollongong 2012

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The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was well presented and had a good balance of theory and practical content. The workshop has made me consider my ways of counselling and listening to students and how I can refine it and make it more meaningful for the student.

Donna Markham, Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was fantastic. I’ve learnt many wonderful techniques and now have the confidence to implement them.

Wendy O’Malley, Lake Illawarra High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was great! There are a few new techniques that I will take away and use. It was really great that Rocky pours his passion for the subject into his presentations.

Nicole Gonzalez, Albion Park High School

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop gave me new techniques and re-assured me that I am on the right track.

Pheona Cashman, Kiama High School


After this Accidental Counsellor Training course I feel more confident in what I am doing, even in my parenting.
Jacki Harrison, Kiama High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was useful and fun.  One of the best PD’s I’ve done.
Mitchell Comans, Smith’s Hill High School


Rocky, thank you for telling us your stories at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop. I found the workshop useful because you used real experiences.

Jodie Russell, Kiama High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop presented very practical and effective skills.

Sandra Hogan, St John the Evangelist Nowra

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop provided great theory – able to put into practice during the course. The Accidental Counsellor workshop was very practical. Can incorporate with my existing knowledge/skills.

Rod Zabell, Smith’s Hill High School

Thank you for your very personable manner at the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop.

John Jakimyszyn, St John’s High School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Wollongong

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts
  • Lake Illawarra High School
  • Kiama High School
  • Albion Park High School
  • Smith’s Hill High School
  • St John’s High School
  • St John the Evangelist Nowra

Accidental Counsellor Training Canberra 2012

As soon as we pack up after the Albury training on the Tuesday afternoon we start the journey to Canberra.

In 2012, I presented the Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra on the 28th and 29th of June. I have to say that it is interesting presenting the Accidental Counsellor Training across Australia. I get to meet lots of people and to be honest the different locations and people at the training provide different experiences for me.  Some groups are more quiet than others and some groups ask more questions that others!

The group who attended the Accidental Counsellor Training in 2012 were fantastic!

The whole family loves the Canberra trip. It may be for different reasons. Anna and Kaiyen hit the shops and Kaiyen loves Questacon. I’d have to say that we all like some of the restaurants.

Kaiyen loves visiting Questacon on after the Accidental Counsellor Training Canberra
Visiting Parliament House after the Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra

For the past two years the Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra has filled very quickly. So for 2013 we have scheduled two Accidental Counsellor Workshops in Canberra. The first date will be on the 27th and 28th of June and the second Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra will be on the 25th and 26th of November.

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Canberra 2012

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

Thank you for the suggestions and techniques for dealing with Accidental Counsellor sessions. Some good strategies, particularly with discipline cases.

Jena Shaw, Monaro High School

Really enjoyed the two days at the Accidental Counsellor Training. Will be encouraging our school to line up some training.

Bobbie Dawson, Daramalan College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was a great course – so jam packed with useful information – charismatic, flowing presentation.

Vivian Martin, Canberra Girls’ Grammar School

I really appreciated your calm manner at the Accidental Counsellor Training – nothing was rushed. Plenty of time to cover each topic. You were flexible in your approach and responded to our needs.

Liza Laird, Merici College

Thank you for the two days of training at the Accidental Counsellor Training. I have some practical skills to take away and try, and my interest in the field of psychology is once again fuelled! Now I want to do more! Thanks so much.

Sarahan van Kimmenade, Campbell Primary School

Thank you – I will really try to implement these ideas from the Accidental Counsellor Training.

Colleen Kain, St Mary Mackillop College

This Accidental Counsellor Training course was an excellent workshop that provided a practical and effective ‘solution focused’ way of dealing with student issues. I am looking forward to trying some of these techniques when working with students to make a change to the current situation.

Ben Antoniak, St Mary Mackillop College

I would highly recommend this Accidental Counsellor Training. It provides practical strategies – another way of helping my students (and myself!). Thanks.
Anne Ellis, Canberra Girls’ Grammar School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was a fantastic workshop. Great strategies to use when working with students.  Great to have different ways in working with students to uncover issues.
Emma Whiting, Karabar High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very practical and the situations covered were very authentic.
Julie Schofield, Trinity Christian School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Penrith

[tboc_button title=”CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ACCIDENTAL COUNSELLOR TRAINING AND REGISTER ONLINE” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Monaro High School
  • Daramalan College
  • Canberra Girls’ Grammar School
  • Merici College
  • Campbell Primary School
  • St Mary Mackillop College
  • Karabar High School
  • Trinity Christian School

Accidental Counsellor Training Queensland 2012

For the past two years I have presented the Accidental Counsellor Training at Logan Diggers around 20 minutes from Brisbane.

As you can imagine we schedule the Brisbane trip to coincide with the NSW school holidays and we enjoy visiting the theme parks.

Here are some photos of us at the theme parks.

    

 

 

When I have presented the Accidental Counselling Workshops in Brisbane during the past two years many attendees ask if I will present this training further north in Queensland. So I’m happy to announce that in 2013 the Accidental Counsellor Training in Queensland will be on the following dates and locations:

  1. Logan Diggers 11th and 12th July
  2. Rockhampton 29th and 30th of August
  3. Caloundra 24th and 25th of October

 

Here are testimonials from attendees at the Accidental Counsellor Training in Queensland 2012

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

I found this Accidental Counsellor Training one of the most useful professional developments I have been on. There is so much of this I will take back to my school.

Anita Ramsay, Coomera Anglican College

‘The Accidental Counsellor’ was engaging and very practical. I feel confident I will be able to work with students in a more supportive and effective manner.

Michelle Davidson, Loreto College

This is one of the most useful PD sessions I have ever experienced. As a Year Level Co-ordinator, I am often an ‘Accidental Counsellor’ but instead of “hoping for the best” I now have a practical “bag of tricks” that I am excited about practising.

Claire Stevens, The Gap High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training provided practical strategies to use back at school. Great opportunity to practise in a supportive environment.

Katrina Lyon, Coomera Anglican College

I found the Accidental Counsellor Training relevant to my position/duties.

Tiffany Dixon, St Mary’s Primary School

The Accidental Counsellor Training gave me a different way of looking at kids and how to deal with them and not force my solutions on them. I could observe Rocky all day.

Robyn Harm, St Joseph’s Primary School

Although challenging, I found this Accidental Counsellor training to be engaging and enjoyable. The workshop gave me new strategies to ask questions without judgement or trying to predict outcome.

Rexina Harding, St Paul’s School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was thoroughly beneficial, enjoyable, knowledgeable and practical. Overall an excellent uplifting two days.

Patricia Trebbin, St Joseph’s College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was useful with practical strategies backed up with sound research.

Paul Staines, Citipointe Christian College

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very helpful. Very engaging, relevant to situations faced at work, dynamic.

Lakshmi Mohan, Clayfield College

The Accidental Counsellor Training helped me construct better meetings with students and parents.

Sharon McHugo, St John’s Anglican College

The Accidental Counsellor Training has provided me with some extra tools and strategies to use with students and parents.

Kelly Allgood, St John’s Anglican College

The group work at the Accidental Counsellor Training gave more opportunity to remember and learn from our own experience how to deal with various scenarios.

Jo Palmer, Emmanuel College

Thank you for facilitating today’s session of the Accidental Counsellor Training in such an interesting and clear manner. I enjoyed how practical the session were and Rocky was so articulate, flexible and his expertise was very helpful.

Helen Heckenberg

I would also like to thank you for the excellent workshop which you provided in Brisbane recently. I have made use of these newly developed skills with my son, my husband and several students at school already. I can honestly say that in the last week, I have used the reflective listening technique everyday, I have asked a scaling question twice and a miracle question once.
In talking to our counsellor, she was very impressed by the array of questioning techniques that are now part of my daily repertoire. I can’t claim to be in control all the time, but it has certainly made a big difference to the way I listen and respond to people’s situations.

Katrina

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Penrith

[tboc_button title=”CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ACCIDENTAL COUNSELLOR TRAINING AND REGISTER ONLINE” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Anglican College
  • Loreto College
  • The Gap High School
  • St Mary’s Primary School
  • St Joseph’s Primary School
  • St Paul’s School
  • St Joseph’s College
  • Citipointe Christian College
  • Clayfield College
  • St John’s Anglican College
  • Emmanuel College

Accidental Counsellor Training St George Leagues 2012

Here are some of the testimonials from the Accidental Counsellor Training at St George Leagues Club

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

Unlike many 2 day courses that leave you questioning whether or not you should have taken time out of work to attend, the 2 day Accidental Counsellor course certainly proved to be an exception to this. Rocky, a charismatic and knowledgeable facilitator, managed to really capture the course attendees with his stories and presentation style.

The structure of the 2 days encompassed a myriad of visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic activities and a steady, but focused pace. As a novice in the world of counselling, I found the course particularly helpful. The balance of theory and practice, the incorporation of a range of activities, and the enthusiasm of the facilitator ensured that the experience was memorable for all the right reasons. Thank you Rocky.

Janine Parkinson, MTC Work Solutions

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very worthwhile. Great strategies relevant to my situations.

Kym Ellis, Kogarah High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was an extremely informative and resourceful course.

Kate Mulligan, Concord High School

Since the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop I feel better advised and confident with strategies to apply for my students.

Angelina Bova, GRC Penshurst

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop provided helpful information, presented in a personable way and equipped me with skills to deal with delicate situations for which I have no formal qualifications.

Tania Oxley, Randwick Girls High School

This Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was the most meaningful professional development I have attended in my six years of teaching.

Fay Prevezanos, Fairvale High School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was a great teacher training day.

Alex Osborn, Alesco Learning Centre

Since completing the Accidental Counsellor Training I feel more confident in dealing with students as I now know I can help them to deal with their issues.

Hanadi Barsoum, GRC Penshurst

To date, this Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was the most useful course I have taken as a teacher as it is well scaffolded, not overly crammed with statistics and pedagogy that has no real world connection. This was 100% applicable to today’s classroom.
Amanda Hodgson, Sydney Secondary College Balmain Campus

The Accidental Counsellor Training course had practical application of worthwhile and well researched theory.
Karryn Jenkins, Fairvale High School

So glad I attended the Accidental Counsellor Training workshop. It was fantastic!
Paula Stuart, Gymea Technology High School

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in St George Leagues

[tboc_button title=”CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ACCIDENTAL COUNSELLOR TRAINING AND REGISTER ONLINE” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Kogarah High School
  • GRC Penshurst
  • Randwick Girls High School
  • Fairvale High School
  • Alesco Learning Centre
  • Concord High School
  • Sydney Secondary College Balmain Campus
  • Gymea Technology High School

Accidental Counsellor Training Victoria 2012

The whole family loves the time when we go to Victoria to present the Accidental Counsellor training because we see family we love and care for.

This year (2012) I presented the Accidental Counsellor Training in Dandenong on the 16th and 17th of April and Geelong on the 19th and 20th of April.

Anna’s birthday was on the 16th so we took the opportunity to go out and have a meal together.

Here are some testimonials from attendees at the Geelong Training

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

The Accidental Counsellor Training was useful. The material has relevance to what I do. Pacing of delivery was great.

Adele Ryan, Ballarat Grammar School

The Accidental Counsellor Training will allow me now to ask the appropriate questions that will invoke a positive reply.

Merilyne Johnson, Warrnambool School

I found the sequencing ways to unpack problems – identify them etc useful at the Accidental Counsellor Training.

John Collins, Preshil School

The Accidental Counsellor Training was very useful. Has given me some excellent skills to start practicing and applying.

Victor Toufas, Preshil School

I learnt great skills at the Accidental Counsellor Training that will get used every day. The Accidental Counsellor Training was highly relevant to running a boarding house and will be extremely valuable for every day use.

Lyndal Runge, Ballarat Grammar School

The Accidental Counsellor Training workshop was much appreciated. Really useful stuff!

Tony Costa, Christian College Geelong


The Accidental Counsellor Training provided strategies to approach difficult situations. Really enjoyed the workshop.
Jennifer Hassett, Rollins Primary School

Good clear instruction on skills to build student control/focus in the interview/chat situation were provided at the Accidental Counsellor Training.
Lynette Lanman, Warrnambool School

Thanks Rocky, this is one of the most useful and interesting P.D’s that I have done.  I now have some different ideas on how to pose questions to students.
David Stanley, Laverton College P-12

Here are some testimonials from attendees at the Dandenong Training

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]

This Accidental Counsellor Training was the most useful inservice I have been on – questioning techniques on how to ask open questions so the parent/student teachers answer their own problems.

Julie Crees, Flinders Christian Community College

I found the Accidental Counsellor Training very useful! It was clear and easy to understand.

Peggy Kruse, Beaconhills College

Thank you. The Accidental Counsellor Training was a great help. Great to implement in my job.

Chris Monos, Aitken College

Thank you. I truly enjoyed these two days at the Accidental Counsellor Training. The strategies, confidence in knowing what to do or say were most useful.

Kaisu Tonkyra, Erasmus School

I found the strategies presented at the Accidental Counsellor Training well suited to a school situation. I would recommend this training to anyone working in the helping professions.

Debbie Nugent, Wooranna Park Primary School
In 2013, we will run the trainings again at Geelong and Frankston

Attendees from the following schools joined the Accidental Counsellor Training in Victoria

[tboc_button title=”Click here to find out more about the Accidental Counsellor Training and register online” href=”/accidental-counsellor-training/”]
  • Ballarat Grammar School
  • Warrnambool School
  • Preshil School
  • Christian College Geelong
  • Rollins Primary School
  • Laverton College P-12
  • Flinders Christian Community College
  • Beaconhills College
  • Erasmus School
  • Wooranna Park Primary School
  • Aitken College

Connect and Influence without Burning Out
Accidental Counsellor Training