As the term specialist wellness counsellor is basically unknown, I would like to introduce the specialist wellness counsellor. The first question usually asked is what is a Specialist Wellness Counsellor. They are members with an applicable postgraduate qualification on NQF level 8 and at least 100 hours of practical experience. They serve to enhance the total wellbeing of their clients by making use of a systems approach to counselling – working towards achieving wholeness within the integrative unity of body, mind and spirit. Their level of counselling is on a primary health care level.
A Specialist Counsellor usually specialized in one or more of the following areas of counselling/coaching:
- Individual counselling,
- Marriage counselling,
- life style coaching,
- Counselling for problems,
- Trauma counselling,
- Drug and alcohol abuse counselling,
- HIV/AIDS counselling,
- Counselling for gambling,
- Research in the domain of counselling,
- Bereavement and grief counselling,
- Hospice counselling,
- Loss and dying,
- Support and assistance in human development
They are competent to lend comprehensive and specialized counselling support towards the improvement of the quality of life by assisting client’s in resolving conflicts, improving relationships, sorting out general problems, coping with life’s challenges and finding inner peace. They are required to refer clients to medical and psychological professionals if they identify needs that require specialized intervention such as mood, personality and anxiety disorders and health related problems that require medical attention. The specialist wellness counsellor is bound by a scope of practice and does not included psychotherapy, social work, medical health work and occupational therapy.
The generic scope of a life skills practice is that of wellness which includes, but is not limited to:
- Providing support in interpersonal social relationships,
- Spiritual growth,
- Marital relationships,
- Parental relationships,
- Health related issues such as stress management,
- Lifestyle management in prevention of chronic diseases,
- Victim empowerment,
- Domestic violence,
- Trauma debriefing,
- Household planning,
- HIV/AIDS, counselling,
- Workplace adaptation,
- Risk taking,
- Study methods,
- Management of anxiety and depression,
- Substance abuse,
- Support of vulnerable people,
- Meeting cultural issues and diversity in the workplace,
- Improvement of employment prospects,
- Support to people with disabilities,
- Mental preparation for retirement, and any other general problem that people encounter in day to day living.
Take note that work on primary health care level, and are thus obliged to terminate counselling and refer clients to a professional (doctor, psychologist, social worker or psychiatrist) where possible pathology or dysfunction, falls outside the scope of their practice has been identified.
THEIR COUNSELLING COMPETENCIES WITHIN SCOPE OF PRACTICE INCLUDE THE ABILITY…
- To apply interpersonal skills by entering into a helping relationship.
- To apply counselling tools and techniques to assist, support, guide, debrief and encourage a client in need.
- To apply knowledge of health and wellness in a counselling context in order to screen for a health profile.
- To manage a counselling consultation with reference to record keeping, confidentiality, ethical codes, legal requirements and professional conduct within own scope of practice.
- To apply communication and numeracy skills in order to be able to analyse, interpret and evaluate information in a counselling context.
AS A SPECIALIST WELLNESS COUNSELLOR THEY ARE ALSO REQUIRED TO DEMONSTRATE THE FOLLOWING CRITICAL CROSS-FIELD OUTCOMES IN COUNSELLING:
- Identify and solve problems in order to make responsible decisions using critical and creative thinking in the counselling process.
- Work effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organization or community.
- Organize and manage him/herself and his/her activities responsibly and ethically with reference to scope of practice and ethical code of the profession.
- Organize and manage a practice by keeping routine records of counselling interventions according to the work context.
- Collect, organize and critically evaluate information in screening a client to determine needs and recommend appropriate interventions.
- Communicate effectively with clients and colleagues.
- Make use of science and technology in maintaining records in a database.
- Demonstrate cultural, religious, gender, social standing and language sensitivity across a range of counselling contexts in applying knowledge of interpersonal relationships to enhance the effectiveness of the counselling process.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognizing that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the integration between human behaviour and health and wellness in terms of short-term interventions and potential long-term effects.
- Reflect on and explore a variety of strategies to learn more effectively in reflecting on own practice.
- Participate as a responsible citizen in the life of local, national and global communities in counselling within a structured environment.
ASSOCIATION OF SUPPORTIVE COUNSELLORS AND HOLISTIC PRACTITIONERS (ASCHP)