Person-centered counselling — Barbara Borello

Coach of the Month — interview by Laura Fontanari

Each month we proudly present one of our best Coaches and let ourselves be inspired by them. This week we give the floor to Barbara Borello, a Person-Centered Counsellor from Verona, Italy. Barbara focuses on individual and relational well-being.

Please, tell us a bit about yourself

The pleasure of working with and for people has always been a part of myself. Many years ago I have chosen to specialise, at first in teaching and training, and later in educational and vocational guidance. It was a very natural thing to continue my path into relational support, towards Counselling.

Awareness is the name of the door I open every morning. It has as many keys as the situations that may worry us every day, that make us feel bad, that make us suffer, but that also make us love, smile, rejoice, exult. Recognising and honouring all of these allows us to change and grow.

The people I meet, life-long learning, curiosity, Yoga and my passion for photography are the things that accompany me in my personal growth.

What does “Person-centred counselling” refer to?

Counselling is a practice that aims at guiding a Person to develop and enhance the internal resources they need in order face any challenging situation in the private or professional spheres. These are delicate moments of transition, or important decisions that should be made consciously.

Counselling consists of a short path, in a protected time and space, where someone can feel heard and understood, without judgment. The main goal is to fully and freely express the resources to improve individual and relational well-being, thereby facilitating an auto-determined and responsible change.

Counselling is “Person-centred” (as defined by Carl R. Rogers, one of the fathers of human psychology) because it focusses on the Client, rather than the problem. The counsellor does not lean on a specific technique, but rather to a way of being that he has internalised during his/her training. It is a non-directive approach, based on three main characteristics that each counsellor should have:

  • Empathy: tuning on another Person’s emotions
  • Congruency: being aware of one’s feelings and thoughts, emotions, fears, values, in order to avoid creating barriers in the communication.
  • Positive and unconditional acceptance: welcoming and accepting the Client as she/he is, without any judgment stemming from a personal bias.

In your presentation to Coachademy you told us: “I love change and the courage it takes”. How can we find this courage?

When we have to take an important step, we feel scared for the consequences. Yet, we do it. Why? Because we trust our legs; because we have considered the pros and cons of the terrain and of the distance; because we are well equipped; because we are trained; and because we feel that we can do it. The counsellor has a special role in this process: with a Client, she/he goes through all the useful moments, recognising the Client’s emotional mood. The counsellor trains the Client not to loose sight of her/himself and then, with trust, waits until she/he jumps.

What advice would you give to Coachademy’s users?

Giving advice is cheap; receiving advice, on the other hand, can be very costly. I prefer to sit next to the Client, listen to them, and making them aware. They are the ones who have to find the answers, figuring out what is good for them. Once they discover it, they will be proud to have achieved it on their own.

It is not about what we think, but about what we feel. If we listen to our inner compass, it’s difficult to make the wrong decision and we do not loose sight of ourselves.

“What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly” — Carl R. Rogers

This is what I mean, to let the Client Be!