In psychological term, counseling is one of the most prevalent interventions for resolving client’s psychological issues. As the process is based on the mental health care and deals with mental health related issues, the counselor or the psychiatrist should have some specific skills, needed for dealing with these kinds of clients. These skills are very important for establishing a good relationship with the client, which is the key step in the counseling therapy. In this assignment, I am going to evaluate my own skills and associated performance, while dealing a client. In addition, before initiating the process, I will assess the background information of the client briefly. It helps to plan the effective way of establishing the therapeutic relationship with the client. Here, the client is facing some money issue, as he has lend a huge amount of money from banks as well as his friends and unable to pay back. Through the counseling, his frustration can be reduced.
Initially, I have planned the counseling session by using the checklist of a counseling process. Here, I have planned to limit the first session within 30 minutes. As it is the first session, the aim of the session will be to listen carefully, recognize and understand client’s issues. Before that, I need to introduce myself and ask his permission for participating in this counseling session. This is very important step for giving the client value and respect. According to Van Deurzen (2012), the session should follow the basic five stage of a successful counseling process, including empathic relationship, story and strength, goals, restory and action. I have tried to follow these five basic steps in my counseling process with the client. While going through these basic and essential steps of the counseling process, I have applied my skills and expertise to make the process successful.
After meeting the client, initially, I greet him and introduced myself to him. It is very important to build a good rapport with the client. Here, I have used my effective communication skills for attending the client. I have demonstrated such essential skills including tracking, monitoring, attentive listening, pacing and empathizing. I have included some essential tools in my counseling process, such as informed consent, self-disclosure, reflecting client’s feelings, paraphrasing and using the therapeutic metaphors. In this context, I have reviewed the counseling checklist first, for ensuring that I am not undertaking any wrong step for my client. Initially, after introducing myself, I took my client’s consent and then asked him about his issues. I allowed my client to express his views, by cooperating with him through empathic listening. Here, I explored my excellent listening skills. While listening to his issues, I have used paraphrasing skills, for making him feel that I am giving value to his words. It helps to build his confidence and make him easy to feel free to say, whatever he wants. I revealed that my client is very much depressed about his loss of money and he wants to share his issue with someone, as he feels relaxed, while telling his feelings to someone.
The first step of the 5 stage counseling process is the establishment of empathic relationship with the client, for which showing empathy is very important (Manthei, 2012). While listening to my client’s issues, I have used the terms, “ok”, “oh! Dear”, “I see”, “I am feeling sorry for that”, “I understand” and “wow”. These words assured the client that I am trying to understand his situation, instead of identifying his faults like others in his community. It helped him to express his further views with more confidence. In this way, he accomplished my views.
In the next step, the in-depth story of the client is assessed for identifying the key problem or issue of the client. For identifying client’s problem, he should be allowed to talk and appreciated, which I have done accordingly. I have appreciated him by telling such sentences “I think you have tried to solve this problem from your own end”. I have helped him to understand the reason behind this counseling. This critical thinking skill helped him to be motivated and share his issues more precisely (Feltham & Horton, 2012).
The next step in the counseling process is setting goal for the client. In this context, I have attempted to explore his strengths for his well being. In this counseling, the client’s key issue is his unnecessary spending of money and inability of balancing between spending money and returning the earned money back to the resource. Now, as he has already taken a lot of money from more than one bank as well as his friends, he is not able to return the money back to them. As a result, he has lost his close friends and has been isolated. Now, he wants to share his feelings through this counseling, to feel relax. It has been revealed that, through the tough situation, he has tried to return the money taken from different resources. He did all these for purchasing some necessary equipments including camera, computer and others related equipments for photography, as inspired by his boss. Through my critical thinking skill, I have identified that the client has the willing to recover from his depressed status and finding the best solution for his problem. It is one of his major strength. From his story, I also revealed that he has lost some of his good relationship, for his inability to return the money within the promised period, which has enhanced his symptoms of depression. Therefore, the key goal of his treatment is to enhance his self-confidence, which can help him to be socialized again.
The next step is restorying and planning intervention for him. Here, I have reviewed the goal set for him and discussed his needs through the counseling process. He has highlighted that, some people might want to help, but as he was not able return the money on time, it harmed their friendship, as his friends lost trust on him. I have tried to highlight his strengths through his words. Such as, when he told that he was being desperate, I highlighted “what do you mean by desperate?” I tactfully highlighted his strengths, that he can do something good by being desperate sometimes, it is not only bad. It will help the client to enhance his self-esteem.
The final step is to take action. Based on the client’s history and his background, I have set the next appointment with the client in the next week. In the first session, it is better to strengthen the therapeutic relationship by exploring the client’s perception and feeling to build trust (Hébert, Caughy & Shuval, 2012). My communication skills helped me a lot in this case. I used the paraphrasing skills for encouraging him. I encouraged him to work in some other company to gather his spent money. Emphasizing on her strength, I encouraged him that he is going on the right track and he can clear all his debts soon. He just has to work hard and think positively. I have planned to encourage him for some different work, other than photography, for avoiding the depressive symptoms related to his previous work. It will help to enhance his willingness of work and to reduce frustration.
I have assessed the client during the counseling session through my essential counseling skills. From the beginning of the counseling session, I have used my specific skills to establish a good rapport with my client. I have demonstrated a good listening skill, while interacting with him. I have always shown a smiling face in front of my client, to assure him that I am obliged to meet him and listening his problem precisely. Through my observation skill, I have understood his verbal and nonverbal approaches and replied accordingly. I have shown him empathy by addressing his feelings in each step. However, I think I should talk a little more in my next session with the client. I have evaluated this from my performance as I observed that the client was expecting some solution of his issues from me, rather, he wants me to help him by finding the right solution for his money related issues.
The third important skill that I have demonstrated was the genuineness and unconditional positive regard. It helped me to establish a good rapport with the client. I have shown respect and supported his views positively. I have utilized my effective communication skills. Based on the client’s situation, I have lowered my voice pitch and interact politely with the client. I have used open questions, which is another important skill of mine that helped me to highlight and prioritize his strengths for planning his intervention (Tolan, 2012). Finally, I understood that in the first session, I have successfully established a positive relationship with my client.
I have shown respect and dignity towards the client throughout the process, to build up client’s self-confidence. However, before conducting the counseling session for the specific client, I made a plan for the first counseling session with the client and reviewed brief background of the client. Then, I have undergone the five basic steps in the counseling process, while evaluating my own essential skills for the counseling. I have assessed my client through his appearance and the way of interaction. My client experienced initial empowerment for attending the next session of the counseling, for sharing his issues with me.
Feltham, C., & Horton, I. (2012). The SAGE handbook of counselling and psychotherapy. Sage Publications.
Hébert, E. T., Caughy, M. O., & Shuval, K. (2012). Primary care providers' perceptions of physical activity counselling in a clinical setting: a systematic review. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 46(9), 625-631.
Manthei, R. (2012). Counselling effectiveness at a city counselling centre.New Zealand Journal of Counselling, 32(1), 37-55.
Nelson-Jones, R. (2015). Basic counselling skills: a helper's manual. Sage.
Tolan, J. (2012). Skills in Person-centred counselling & psychotherapy. Sage Publications.
Van Deurzen, E. (2012). Existential counselling & psychotherapy in practice. Sage.
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