What is self awareness? Taken quite literally, selt awareness’ means to be aware ot our selves. It is having a clear understanding of our personality, Including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs. motivation. and emotions. Self awareness also allows us to understand other people, how they perceive us, our attitude and our responses to them In the moment. We are all different and so too is the way we react to things, learn and put together Information. In order for us to gain a better understanding of ourselves we need to spend time in self-reflection.

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Examples of self awareness include our: Values (i. e. ethical. moral, with integrity) Beliefs (i. e. religious, political) Learning styles Personality traits (I. e. Introvert, extrovert, sensitive, Judgemental) Why is self awareness important? In a general sense, self awareness Is Important because as we develop a better understanding of ourselves we are empowered to make necessary changes in our lives. We can build on our strengths and identify areas where we would like to make improvements. Self-awareness is often the first step In setting goals!

Self-awareness and the helping relationship Self-awareness Is at the core of developing as a helper or counsellor. However, becoming self-aware as a counsellor is an ongoing process. not a final state of being. Counsellors must therefore be engaged in an ongoing ‘process of improvement’ (Sanders, 2011) Self-awareness is necessary In counselling/helplng work for three main reasons: 1. to check whether the view we have of ourselves is the one received by others 2. to discover if we have hidden agendas that are influencing us and may affect the elping relationship 3. ew self-awareness makes It possible for us to change if necessary. By engaging in self-reflection as a counsellor/helper we come to understand how ‘Of2 vulneraDle people seeking our nelp mlgnt Teel . I ne conaltlons wnlcn we need as a counsellor/helper to feel safe enough for self-exploration, are similar to the conditions people seeking help need if they are to feel safe enough to disclose their private feelings. These ‘core conditions’ (Rogers, 1957 cited in Sanders, 2011)are: empathy genuineness congruenceSelf-awareness and empathy

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Empathy was described by Carl Rogers as ‘the ability to be able to sense the client’s world as if it were our own’ (Sanders, 2011) He placed emphasis on being able to understand the client’s feelings without getting them confused with our own. By being self-aware wecome to better understand our own feelings and so can better understand our clients feelings, as they differ from our own. We must also be aware that although we may have had a similar experience to our client, we will not have felt exactly the same way about it. How we develop self-awareness

We can develop our self-awareness through focusing our attention on the details of our personality and behaviour. Learning to be self-aware has been likened to learning to dance: the same way we need to pay attention to how and where our feet, hands and body move when learning to Tango, so to do we need to pay attention to our thoughts, feelings and behaviour when learning about ourselves. Practical stuff: a self-awareness quiz And if there’s time for another: a little exercise in developing empathy [Worry in a Hat activity] (courtesy of Donna Brandes www. nurturingpotential. net)

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