Perception of Others
If the interaction with the self-expression patterns of clients is essential for the success of counselling, then very much depends upon the counsellor’s ability to perceive other people meticulously. This competence is partly talent or an expression of previous practice. However, it can and must be developed and refined. How much I can perceive in others is also directly dependent upon the breadth of my own self-perception. If I cannot perceive things like hurt in myself, then it is unlikely that I will recognise the signals of hurt in the client. The personal experience of the counsellor plays an important role here. In order to appropriately utilise this perception material, you require a comprehensive vocabulary. By means of stories, metaphors and similar, fine differentiations in the expression of behaviour can be made recognisable and comprehensible. Both, the perception of the client and the description of the perception, requires non-selective perception, but only little cognition. Many counsellors, though, are strongly or exclusively occupied with the subject matter of the client, i.e. with thinking and wanting to understand. Such a one-sided attitude by the counsellor shows itself to be dysfunctional in this connection, because it gives up the orientation of the ‘how’ and, with it, what is being expressed in the here and now by the client. The counsellor then begins to work on the change, and not on supporting the client to find out how he prevents this.