9 Counseling Mistakes That Psychologists Should Avoid


As a psychologist with a master’s degree in psychology, you must take care during your counseling sessions. Your clients will likely hold onto your words and actions since they look to you as someone to guide them. You’ll need to be aware of any common mistakes, so you can avoid making them.

This article contains nine counseling mistakes you’ll need to avoid, so you can thrive in your position and help your patients more efficiently. Here’s what you’ll need to know!

1. Not Taking Notes After a Session

No matter how good you think your memory is, you should always take some notes after a counseling session. You want to write down important elements from your client’s life. It’s very upsetting to clients when their psychologists don’t remember important something since they’ll have to explain it again, causing a waste of time during a session.

You don’t need to take notes during the session, so your client can see that they have your full attention. However, making notes immediately after a session is crucial— you can review them as needed and will remember the important details much better.

You shouldn’t rely only on your memory, especially with multiple clients. You wouldn’t want to confuse them with each other, so taking effective therapy notes is important.

2. Losing Focus During a Session

Next, staying focused on your client during a session is also essential. They need to know they have your full attention or won’t feel comfortable talking with you. You shouldn’t daydream or not respond to them when they want an answer.

There are stories about psychologists checking out during sessions, which negatively impacts their patients. You might think you’re not being obvious, but the client always knows when you’re not interested.

You’ll need to do your best to stay as focused as possible on the client as they speak with you. How you achieve that is different for everyone, but staying engaged with the conversation and listening well will help you drastically.

3. Being Too Judgemental


It’s also important that you aren’t too judgemental towards your clients as they speak with you. Trust is what forms a good psychologist and patient relationship. Still, if your client senses that you’re very critical of them, they won’t be honest with you anymore. That would put a lot of strain on your relationship.

Plus, when your client feels like they can’t be open with you, you won’t make any progress with them. You should come across as non-judgemental, so your patient can honestly talk about what’s happening in their life with you.

4. Talking Too Much

Talking too much and not letting your client talk can cause more problems. The sessions you have together shouldn’t be about you but about your clients. They will likely become frustrated if you talk too much because they don’t believe you’re listening to them.

From time to time, it is appropriate to tell your clients about events in your life if they relate to something they’re talking about. Doing so can make you more relatable and build a stronger sense of trust in your client. However, overdoing it would have the completely opposite effect.

5. Not Talking Enough

That doesn’t mean you should never speak during a session! That would make your client just as uncomfortable. You need to respond to them as they speak, and you should be asking them questions. 

Overall, you must find a balance between talking too much and not enough. Otherwise, you’ll be uninterested in what the client wants to speak about, making them frustrated with you.

6. Telling a Client How To Live Their Life

Another common mistake is that psychologists tell their clients that they need to take certain actions. Your job is to guide clients to make their own choices while becoming more aware of their emotions and thoughts. When you give them advice, they won’t learn how to make important decisions independently.

It’s hard not to give advice sometimes, but a good counselor never tells clients how to live their lives.

7. Not Honoring Client Confidentiality

You must always honor client confidentiality. Otherwise, you’re breaking the law.

These rules are in place to keep clients safe and their lives private. You should only share this information if a client tells you something that threatens them or another person. For example, if a client describes a crime they plan to commit to you. However, you couldn’t tell anyone if the client shared a crime with you that happened in the past.

Not honoring client confidentiality could cause you much legal trouble, so always keep it in mind.

8. You Can’t Admit When You’re Wrong

You’re a person, too; you make mistakes! If a client points out that you’re wrong about something, you should do your best to accept their feedback. You’ll grow if you can take it in a positive light.

It can be extremely challenging for your client to progress if you take everything personally. No one’s perfect, but your client will trust you even more if you respond to their feedback maturely and professionally.

9. You Don’t Give Clients Action Items

If you don’t give your client action items at the end of the session, they won’t make as much progress. While discussing everything is important, your clients won’t know what to do when they leave your office. Giving them action items can help them build skills to deal with the things going on in their life.

Action items are tasks that a client can perform on their own. You also need the action to be easily measurable and possible. It may help if you break it down into smaller steps for your client to meet all their goals.

Always Build a Good Client Relationship



To summarize, you’ll succeed as a psychologist if you can build good relationships with your clients. That means expressing empathy, listening well, and offering clients tools to make better decisions. 

If you can avoid making the above counseling mistakes, you will surely experience steady growth within your career.

Sophia Jennifer
I'm Sophia Jennifer from the United States working in social media marketing It is very graceful work and I'm very interested in this work.


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