Counselling skills
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Counselling Skills. for trans peer supporters & mentors. C ounselling skills for peer supporters & mentors. Today’s Content. c ounselling v emotional support some core micro-skills of counselling s kills practice and role-play emotional first aid for anxiety , depression and trauma

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Counselling skills

Counselling Skills

for trans peer supporters & mentors


Today s content

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

Today’s Content

  • counselling v emotional support

  • some core micro-skills of counselling

  • skills practice and role-play

  • emotional first aid for anxiety, depression and trauma

  • building a safe, supportive alliance

  • Self-care

  • further resources


What is counselling

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

What is counselling?

…professional activities that utilise an interpersonal relationship to enable people to develop self understanding and to make changes in their lives…A clearly contracted, principled relationship that enables individuals to obtain assistance in exploring and resolving issues…

- PACFA

A collaborative inquiry, in which a therapist supports, and at times challenges, aclient to reach deeper understandings, to help move them towards positive change and personal fulfilment.


Informal emotional support

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

Informal emotional support

  • Empathy and affirmation to temporarily ease symptoms of distress

  • Comes from a social not professional relationship (each having their own rules and conventions)

  • Doesn’t generally include challenge

  • Less structured, with no clear contract, goals or treatment plan

  • Does not involve conscious use of interventions


Assumptions of the solution focused approach

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

Assumptions of the Solution-Focused approach

  • ‘Collaborative’, ‘strengths-based’ & ‘constructivist’

  • The client is the expert in their own life

  • The client already possesses the raw materials for their own personal growth and development

  • Focus in on present and future possibilities and strengths


5 solution focused micro skills

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

5 Solution-Focused micro-skills

  • Restating & Paraphrasing

  • Acknowledging & Normalising

  • Skills, Possibilities and exceptions (mining for inner resources)

  • Scaling

  • Open Questions (Broadening, not narrowing the conversation)


Activity 1 restating paraphrasing

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

Activity 1: restating & paraphrasing

Find a partner

Choose a speaker and a listener

Take 5 minutes for the speaker to talk about significant events or experiences of the day or week

Listener restates and paraphrases, where appropriate, to support the expansion of the story

Swap roles and repeat


Phrases for acknowledging and normalising

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

Phrases for acknowledging and normalising

  • I can hear how hard this is for you right now

  • With what you’ve been through, I’d be surprised if you weren’t feeling this way right now

  • I know you’re really suffering and you’re right, it’s just not fair


Scaling questions

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

Scaling questions

  • On a scale of ‘1’ to ‘10’, with ‘10 representing the happiest you’ve ever felt and 1 representing the most unhappy you’ve ever felt, where would you be today?

  • What has stopped you slipping below ‘2’?

  • What’s one thing you think you could do today to take that up to a ‘4’?


Questions for uncovering hidden skills possibilities exceptions

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

Questions for uncovering hidden skills, possibilities & exceptions

  • So, even though you felt like (shutting yourself away), you still managed to (venture out and seek support). How did you manage that?

  • Can you tell me about times when you don’t feel (depressed)? What are you doing differently then?

  • You seem to have the ability to cope with a lot of obstacles and not let them defeat you. Have you always had that strength? Where did that come from?


Activity 2 micro skills practice

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

Activity 2: micro-skills practice

Facilitator role-plays a peer

Two volunteers become peer supporters, drawing on the micro-skills to engage the peer in a supporting conversation

Reflect on the role-play


Emotional first a id for depression anxiety

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

Emotional first aid for depression & anxiety

  • Healthy eating (supports the body to support us)

  • Satisfying sleep (restores body and mind)

  • Regular physical exercise (releases endorphins)

  • Social connectedness (we are not an island)

  • Meaning (a purpose helps us get out of bed)


Emotional first a id for post trauma and panic attacks

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

Emotional first aid for post-trauma and panic attacks

  • What’s my name?

  • What day is it today?

  • Look around the room and name three things that include the colour green

  • Feel your feet pressing into the floor, place your hands on your thighs and describe the texture to me

  • Feel how your breaths are becoming slower and deeper

  • You are here with me and you are safe

  • What’s my name?


Building a safe supportive alliance

Counselling skills

for peer supporters & mentors

Building a safe, supportive alliance

  • The right place

  • Confidentiality

  • Contract / agreement

  • Admit to mistakes and limitations

  • Be congruent, be you


The rainbow service

The Rainbow Service

Feel free to contact Chris Pye at the Rainbow Service from Relationships Australia, to discuss any of this presentation or to explore further support for a peer

Ph: 1300364277


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