There are many skills that a counsellor should possess, whether it’s gained through the education that one receives on the path of becoming a counsellor, or gained through one’s life experiences. One of the first, and most basic skill that a counsellor should have is attending and listening skills. Attending is the act of physically orienting yourself to the client. The goal is to indicate to the client that you are listening to what they are saying, and that you are not bored or uninterested. They may have experienced such disinterest while confiding in someone else, like a friend, which may in apprehension towards confiding in the counsellor. A few examples of the attending skill would be eye contact, nodding, mirroring the client’s posture or body language, leaning forward, and more. While applying the attending skill, the counsellor should also be listening for content, which is basically what the client is saying, and how they are saying it. The counsellor should pay attention to the client’s expressions, tone, and the words the client chooses to use, which could provide more insight into what the client is trying to say, and what the client is not saying. Apart from that, the counsellor should also be looking for nonverbal clues, such as body language, hand gestures, and facial expressions. Another vital skill that a counsellor should have is empathy, or empathic responding. It is not to be confused with sympathy. It is the ability to look at a person’s situation through their eyes and to communicate what you perceived back to the client to help gain clarity, or to accentuate their own perception of the issue or situation. Empathy is to reflect to the patient that they have our full and non-judgmental support. One of the primary aspects of empathic responding would be paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is the act of selectively focusing on parts of what the client is saying. The goal is to identify key words from what the client is saying, and repeating it back to them in a rephrased and summarised way. It is important to reflect in a respectful and open-ended manner what the client is saying both verbally and nonverbally. It is also vital that the counsellor chooses carefully what to say before saying it. This then allows the client to reflect and agree or disagree with the accuracy of the paraphrasing. Thirdly, probing is also a skill that a trained counsellor should have in their repertoire. Probing is the act of making statements and asking questions that will help the client to more efficiently explore the issue that they are having, or the situation that they are in. Probing is effective for a number of reasons. It would help the client pinpoint details of their situation to help them see the bigger picture, or help them realise the real story, the one they aren’t aware of. It will enable the client to progress forward in the search for a solution, or conclusion to their problems. It would also help them to uncover the blind spots in their way of thinking, or the way they are looking at the issue, which may be clouded due to their emotions and feelings towards the situation, or the people involved in it. In some cases, it may even help to encourage a difficult client who is perhaps unwilling or reluctant to open up. There are, however, things to look out for when utilising the probing skill. It is important to be careful when asking questions. There is always a chance that the counsellor could unintentionally ask too many questions. This could make the client feel as if they were being interrogated. It is also essential that the counsellor asks open-ended questions, which are questions that encourage descriptions and requires more than just a “yes” or “no.” Additionally, there is summarising. Summarising is also an important skill to have as a counsellor as it helps to provide focus and recollection of what was discussed previously, thus encouraging the client to move on toward to next subject. Summarising is particularly useful if at the start of a session, a client is unsure of where to start. It can also prevent the client from repeating what was said in the previous session, and it could possibly pressure a client into progressing or moving forward.