Effective Counselor Qualities

The American Counseling Association defines the profession of counseling as: a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.  At the Department of Education and Counseling at Villanova University, we are committed to facilitating both the professional development and personal growth of our students, to ensure that our counselors are trained to be effective in their future work.

Following are core criteria for effective counseling, used in teaching and supervision of counselors in the Villanova Program

  • Demonstrates the ability to adapt counseling approaches, theories, and techniques to make them culturally appropriate for diverse populations. 
  • A knowledge and awareness of the importance of individual differences in race, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disability, and the ability to work effectively with a broad range of individuals from diverse backgrounds. 
  • Possess an awareness of a) their own cultural world views/values, and b) any biases held toward other racial and ethnic minority groups.
  • A knowledge of sociopolitical influences on race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, including issues of immigration, poverty, racism, stereotyping, and powerlessness.
  • Knows evidence-based practices and basic strategies for evaluating the counseling process and outcome in counseling. 
  • A knowledge and understanding of methods of research and investigation for the purpose of keeping abreast of current developments in the field to insure the effectiveness of workplace programs and counseling outcome.
  • Demonstrates the ability to apply and adhere to ethical and legal standards in counseling. 
  • A knowledge and understanding of one’s self and his or her impact upon the counseling process in order to deliver ethical and effective services (i.e., the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselors Association), and by current legal precedent. 
  • Demonstrates the ability to recognize one’s own limitations as a counselor and to seek supervision or refer clients when appropriate. 
  • Recognizes the importance of family, social networks, and community systems in the treatment of mental and/or emotional disorders. 
  • Demonstrates appropriate application of culturally responsive treatments such as, individual, couple, family, and group in schools and community agencies for initiating, maintaining, and terminating counseling. 
  • Recognizes the importance of the role of the counselor as an agent of social change and possesses skills to implement change. 
  • Demonstrates an awareness of systemic inequalities. 
  • Demonstrates a high level of interpersonal skills such as the ability to respectfully communicate opinions with colleagues. 
  • Demonstrates the ability to receive and apply feedback from supervisors and colleagues. 
  • Demonstrates ability to provide appropriate feedback to others.
  • Demonstrates effective delivery and use of counseling skills. 
  • Demonstrates a cognitively complex understanding of client problems and the counseling process.
  • Demonstrates competent treatment delivery.
  • Demonstrates the ability to establish working therapeutic relationships
  • Demonstrates and applies knowledge of counseling theories and approaches.

Villanova’s faculty members have developed a professional performance review process for students in the Counseling program, whereby students are regularly assessed according to specific attributes, characteristics, and behaviors that researchers and scholars have identified as necessary for effective counseling.

Please review the Professional Performance Review document below.