Tuesday, June 29, 2010
COUNSELING PROCESSES .
COUNSELING PROCESSES .
2 Basics of Counseling
3 Salient Features of Counseling
4 Qualities of an Effective Helper/Counselor
5 Counseling Outcomes
6 Process Goals in Counseling
7 The Basic Conditions of Counseling
8 Further Readings
First let us distinguish between the two terms `counseling' and `psychotherapy' which have been used interchangeable, though the process and implications for both are different, if not totally but to a great extent. Psychotherapy is practiced mostly by psychiatrist, the clinical psychologist and, sometimes psychiatric social workers. The goal of psychotherapy is to bring about a deep personality change in psychotic and chronic psychoneurotic patients, in terms of a more effective reorganization of psychological process. This is a time consuming process and may last for months or years. Counseling on the other hand is used for marital problems, family set ups, schools, work organizations and in other social situations. The goal is to achieve better personal/social adjustment and growth in maturity, by stimulating the counselee to exploit his/her potentials and optimize use of resources. The people who go for counseling are normal people who need help to cope with different kinds of problems. The personal changes to be achieved may or may not be as deep as in psychotic patients. They consist mainly of a deeper self-knowledge, a change of attitudes, a modification of self-perception and a modification of perception of others. The temporal length of counseling is much shorter than psychotherapy.
2 BASICS OF COUNSELING
People seek the service of professional helpers - counselors, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrist - when their capacities for responding to the demands of life are strained, when desired growth seems unattainable, when
important decisions elude resolution, and when natural support systems are unavailable or insufficient. Sometimes the person in need of help is urged or required to seek counseling by a third party, spouse, parent, employer, teacher, or judge who believes the individual is failing to manage some important aspects of life effectively.
The purpose of counseling, broadly conceived, is to enable the client to cope with life situations, to reduce stress, to engage in growth related activity, and to make effective and important decisions. Counselors increase their control over present adversity and present future opportunity as a consequence of counseling process.
Persons of any age, in any walk of life, and with almost any kind of problems can be helped to gain power over the adversities and opportunities of their lives. Counseling to achieve client empowerment is viewed by some as a generic process that includes same elements inherent of the context in which it is used. It does not matter whether it is performed in an organization, school, hospital or in a community counseling clinic, the basic structure of the helping process remains same. Let us examine a few salient processing of counseling in general in the next section.
3 SALIENT FEATURES OF COUNSELING
To be truly effective, the counselor must have a thorough understanding of human behaviour in its social and cultural context and be able to apply that understanding to the particular set of problems or circumstances of each client.
Diagnosis and hypothesis generating are critical and inevitable parts of counselor's work. The process of diagnosis has two interrelated functions: first, to describe significant patterns of cognition, behaviour, or affective experience and second to provide casual explanations for these significant patterns. The process includes of developing tentative hypotheses, confirming their validity, and using them as the basis of making critical decisions concerning the. focus, process, and directions of the counseling experience. The process of arriving at a diagnosis is a mutual one in which the client and counselor work together to identify these patterns and their root in the client's experience.
This diagnostic and hypothesis-generating process has four dangers. One is that the process often becomes a game that applies labels to clients, that puts them into categories. Once categories, the clients is stereotyped. The client's uniqueness as an individual may be lost. Worse, other important attributes of the client are overlooked because categorizing creates perpetual blinders for the counselor. A. second danger is that helping professionals often make mistakes in their diagnoses, resulting in effective and sometimes counter productive helping efforts. Third, not all counselors use the same. diagnostic terms for the same client experiences. One may identify a
set of problems as depression, another as a manifestation of a dysfunctional social system. Fourth, as is true of many aspects of counseling, the diagnostic and hypothesis-generating process is sometimes affected by the cultural or societal attitudes towards oppressed or culturally diverse groups can reduce the objectivity and fairness.
These dangers are real. But they are not inherent in the diagnostic process itself; rather, they are dangers of the misuse of the process. Counselors who accept the role as an understanding of human behaviour and its social and cultural context plays in their works and who comprehend the proper function of diagnosis will work hard to avoid these dangers. It is part of their ethical responsibility.
2. Change in the Client
The ultimate purpose of the counseling experience is to help the client achieve some kind of change that s/he will regard as satisfying.
Virtually every significant theory of counseling states that creating growth-oriented change in the client is the ultimate intended outcome of the counseling experience. Some say over behaviour change is the sine qua non of the experience. Others say that behaviour change is just symptom change, real and lasting change comes when the client develops new perceptions on self, signifies others, and life. Furthermore, some counselors take a remedial approach; they attempt to help the client change dysfunctional behaviour to more functional patterns, such as overcoming shyness, reducing anxiety, controlling counterproductive anger, or reducing interpersonal conflicts. Others believe that the goal of counseling is to help people make important life decisions, here the counselor's role is to help the client use a rational thinking process to resolve confusion and conflict. Still other counselors view their works as stimulating favourable personal and interpersonal growth. Remediating dysfunctionality and assisting in decision making may become important contributions to the overall growth experience of the client for them.
It is often difficult to document the change in the client. Behaviour change, if it occurs, is probably the easiest to observe because it is the most tangible. However, clients may also change their views about certain behaviours that they previously regarded as undesirable, they may change in the extent to which they experience stress related to an unwanted situation, or may reduce their general levels of emotional distress or their values as they progress through counseling. For example, a person may come to value family relationships more and work achievement less or may become more tolerant of persons with different political, religious, or social philosophies. It is thus quite difficult to conclude about change.
3. The Quality of the Relationship
The quality of the helping relationship is significant in providing a climate for growth.
The critical elements of the helping relationship that promote openness are described often in the literature of the field: respect (rather than rejection), empathy (rather than shallow listening and advice giving), congruence or genuineness (rather than inconsistency), faculative self-disclosure (rather than being closed), immediacy (rather than escapism to the past or future), and concreteness (rather than abstract intellectualising). Counselors must communicate respect for clients as persons with rights who are trying to live the best lives they can. Genuine caring is shown when counselors try to understand the client's world as if it were their own and give the client's cues about that understanding. Effective counselors share their reactions to the client with the client, using the feedback as a way of helping the client to reach deeper level of self-understanding.
The quality of the relationship not only provides a safe and comforting context from which interventions that may help the client are introduced but can also be therapeutic in itself. The experience of a genuine and immediate relationship can itself sometimes be transforming even if there is no other counseling intervention.
4. Self-Disclosure and Self-Confrontation
The counseling process consists primarily of self-disclosure and self-confrontation on the part of the client, facilitated by interaction with the counselor.
For counseling to take place the client must disclose personal information to the counselor, who will try to understand the client's world in a context of what s/he knows about how people respond to life situations. Although clients may reveal significant personal information in their nonverbal behaviour, communication in counseling is primarily verbal. Clients reveal their thoughts and feelings to a perspective counselor by what they say, the affect with which they say it, and what they choose to leave in their verbalisations. The more the totally self-disclosure, the more effectively the counselor can help the client discover new ways of coping. Some clients may find self-disclosure easily and for others it is more difficult. Counselors need to be aware of the potential difficulty with self-disclosure, especially with clients from diverse cultural and family backgrounds, where such behaviours are not so commonly fostered. In such circumstances, counselors must be particularly attentive to the establishing trust and must have skills for facilitating client self-disclosure.
As the counselor becomes more confident of his/her understanding of the client, s/he may choose to move to a more comprehensive form tentative view point. Because such feedback comes from the counselor's frame of reference, frequently, it will be viewed that the client has not previously considered. It is important for the counselor to be a free of vested interests as best possible in using confrontation as a counseling tool.
The client must confront the self with new ways of seeming and understanding it in life situations. Through this process, a new understanding of personal needs, desire, perceptions, assumptions, and cognition's emerge and new coping skills are developed and used.
5. An Intense Working Experience
Counseling is an intense working experience for the participants. Sustained energy is required for the counselor. For the related activities of attentive listening, information absorption, message clarification, hypothesis generation, and treatment planning. Beyond these, largely intellectual activities are the emotional experience of caring for another being is lost in those emotions and therefore diminished as the facilitator.
The client's hard work comes in the effort to understand what is difficult to understand, in the endurance of confusion, conflict, and in the commitment to disclose to him or herself that which it is painful to think about. This effort, endurance, and commitment require a level of concentration that may never have been experienced before. Growth through counseling is always demanding on the client and is often painful, though at the same time fulfilling and rewarding.
Counseling is not the same thing as conversation. In conversation, two or more people exchange information and ideas. The experience is usually casual and relaxed. Counseling, on the other hand, is characterised by much higher level of intensity. Ideas are developed slowly, experienced at a deeper personal level, and understood more carefully than in casual conversation.
6. Ethical Conduct
To provide professional people helping service obligates the helper (counselor, social worker, psychologist, and so forth) to function in an ethical manner. Codes of ethics published by the relevant professional associations will serve to set some needed parameters.
Ethical practice may be defined as providing with care, and conscientious effort a helping service of which one has been appropriately trained. Unethical practice occurs when counselors practice outside the limits of their competence, fail to situate clients' interests ahead of their own needs, or fail to respond sensitivity. Because counselors present themselves to the public as persons with special skills
help people in need, they have a great burden not to do harm than other citizens who do not purport to be expert helpers. Counselors need to be aware of the great responsibility they take on. Counseling that is incompetent or insensitive or that serves the interests of the counselors not only cause harm to the clients who receive it but also damages the reputation of the counselor's employer and the profession as a whole. Ethical practice means valuing each client as a person with rights to fair dignified and compassionate service.
There are ethical dilemmas that present themselves in counseling practice. Understanding ethical principles underlying the codes and broader ethical theories are necessary for resolving some complicated ethical dilemmas. In the long run, the responsibility for ethical action always rests with the judgment of the individual practitioner.
Through the years, the characterisics of effective helpers have been among the most popular dissertation subjects. An extensive research literature on this subject by established scholars as well. Most studies attempt to relate particular characteristics, such as dogmatism or experience in the professional, to counselor effectiveness. Counseling is so complex that each study contributes but a small part of the total pictures of what makes an effective counselors. Counseling has often been taken as professional help rendered to those who need it. What qualities are required to be an effective helper, let us now examine them.
4 QUALITIES OF AN EFFECTIVE HELPER/ COUNSELOR
2 Effective helpers are skillful at reaching out: Helpers are able to encourage other to communicate openly and honestly with them. They avoid creating defectiveness. This is done by participating in active and involved listening. The ability to concentrate fully on what is being communicated and to understand the content of what is being said but also to appreciate the significance of that verbalisation to the client's present and future well-being. Effective helpers listen actively for feelings, beliefs, and perspectives and assumptions about self, significant others and life circumstances.
3 Effective helpers inspire feelings of trust, credibility, and confidence from people they help: The presence of effective helpers facilitate the clients to sense that it is safe to risk sharing their concerns and feelings openly and that they will not be made to feel ashamed, or criticised for the thoughts, feelings and perceptions they share. Nothing "bad" will happen as a consequence of sharing and there is a very real chance that something productive will come of it. Effective helpers are also credible. What they say is perceived as believable and hones with no hidden agenda. Finally, they ought to be attractive to clients, not because of their personal beauty but because of their likeability and friendliness. Clients who see their counselors as experts, attractive, and trustworthy are more likely to gain from counseling than those who fail to see their qualities in their counselors.
4 Effective helper are able to reach in as well as to reach out.: Effective helpers do a lot of thinking about their actions, feelings, value commitments, and motivations. They show a commitment to non-defensive, continuous self-understanding and self-examination. They are able to respond with depth to the question "Who am I?" They can help others think openly and non-defensively about themselves and their own concerns because they are not afraid to participate in these experiences themselves.
5 Effective helpers also like and respect themselves and do not use the people they are trying to help satisfy their own needs: People who only satisfy their own needs can eventually alienate others and make them afraid. This
interpersonal pattern blocks honest communication and instead leads to game playing. Truly effective helpers feel secure about themselves and like themselves and thus are not dependent on the people they are trying to help for respect, recognition and acknowledgement.
Counselors who are under great stress in their personal lives are at a risk of focusing on their own needs rather than the client's during counseling sessions. In order to avoid burnout, counselors must take time away from work to care for themselves, nourish their own personal support system and get a clearer perspective on their accomplishments as professionals.
1 Effective helpers communicate caring and respect for the persons they are trying to help: By their demeanor, effective counselors communicate to their clients the following unspoken statement: "It matters to me that you will be able to work out the concerns and the problems you are facing. What happens to you in the future also matters .to me. If things work out well for you and you achieve success, I shall be happy about it. If you encounter frustration and failure, I shall be saddened." The opposite of caring is not anger but indifference. Effective helpers agree to offer time and energy to other because the future well-being of the people to whom they are reaching out matters to these counselors.
2 Effective helpers have expertise in some area which will be a special value to the person being helped: Employment counselors have special knowledge about the career development process, the skill needed for decision making, and jobs available in their local community. Counselors who work with children have special knowledge of child development, special counseling tools effective with children, and skill in family counseling. Counseling employed in geriatric settings understand human aging and its positive and negative effects on psychological, social and physiological functioning.
3 Effective helpers attempt to understand the behaviour of the people they try to help without imposing value judgements: People tend to make value judgements about the behaviour of others-to judge the behaviour of others by one's own standards. Though appropriate when casting a vote, this value judging tendency seriously interferes with the process of effective helping. Effective helpers work hard to control the tendency to judge the values of their clients. Instead, they accept a given behaviour pattern as the client's way of coping the same life situation, and they try to understand how the pattern developed. The helper will develop opinion about whether the behaviour pattern is effective or ineffective in serving the client's goals but will refrain from classifying the client's values as "good" or "bad".
4 Effective helpers develop an in-depth understanding of human behaviour.. They understand that behaviour does not simply occur. Their approach is that all behaviour are purposeful and goal directed, that there are reasons and explanations for human behaviour, and that truly helping another means understanding the reasons for that person's behaviour must be understood rather than judging them.
9. Effective helpers are able to reason systematically and to think in terms of system: A system is an organized entity in which each of the components relates to each other and to the system as a whole. Examples of systems include the human body, the organizational setting in which a person works and the family unit. Effective counselors are always aware of the different social systems of which clients are a part, how they are affected and how they. in turn influence those systems. In other words, effective helpers are aware of the forces and factors in a client's life space and the mutual interaction between the client's behaviour and these environmental factors.
10. Effective counselors are able to understand the social, cultural and political Counseling Processes context in which people operate and have a world-view of human events: Counselors are aware of important present-day events in all the systems affecting their lives and the lives of their clientele. They are aware of the significance and possible future implications of these events. The counselor must have understood current social concerns and of how these events affect the views of clients -especially their views about the future. Among the important contemporary issues which a counselor must attend is how bias and discrimination against some groups in society affect their personal well-being and progress toward self¬actualisation.
11. Effective helpers are able to identify behaviour patterns that are self-defeating and help others change the behaviour to more personally rewarding behaviour patterns: People frequently do things that are counterproductive and goal disruptive. People run away from frightening situations rather than confront the aspect of a situation that cause anxiety. Others do things to betray trust and cannot understand why others do not trust them. Effective counselors are capable of seeing such patterns and of assisting clients in developing alternative patterns.
12. Effective helpers have a model or image of the quality and behaviour patterns of a healthy and effective, or fully functioning, individual: Included in this model is an elaborate image of effective and ineffective, ways of coping with the stressful situations of life. Effective counselors are able to help others look at themselves, at both their likable and less admirable aspects, without debilitating fear, to identify personal changes that would promote growth and improvements, and to develop approach to bring about those improvements.
5 COUNSELING OUTCOMES
Counseling is an interactive process which is characterised by an unique relationship between counselor and the counselee, and this leads to change in the counselee in one or more of the following areas:
(1) Behaviour (changes in the ways the counselee acts, copes, makes decisions or relates)
(2) Beliefs (ways of thinking about one self, others and the world) or emotional concerns about these perceptions.
(3) Level of emotional distress (uncomfortable feelings or reactions to environmental stress).
(4) Attitudes (negative attitudes towards self or others)
Possible Effect of Counseling
The desire for change can stem from identified problems, such as loneliness, uncontrollable anxiety, or poor social skills, or from a desire for fuller life, even in the absence of clear problems in functioning. In the latter case, a couple might enter counseling seeking a more intimate relationship even though neither partner feels dissatisfaction or frustration currently, or a worker might consult with counselor prior to an important job change. In all cases, counseling should result in free and responsible behaviour on the part of the client, accompanied by more insight into him or herself and an ability to understand and better manager of negative emotions.
Change in counseling can take several forms: over behaviour change, improvement in decision-making or coping skills, modification of beliefs or values, or reduction of the level of emotional distress. Here we examine each category of change, beginning with behaviour change.
Behaviour change is probably the easiest type of change to recognize because it is overt and observable. A behaviour change might be the solution of a problem, as in the case of a child who learns to get what he wants from others through verbal requests and negotiation, rather than through physical aggression. A behaviour change might also enhance one's potential for personal growth, as in the case of a middle-aged person who returns to school or embarks on a new career. Many counselors believe that changes in thought and attitudes must precede changes in behaviour, and they work to understand those changes.
Counseling may also enhance an individual's ability to cope with life situations. Certain environment conditions are adverse and difficult to change, but learning how to manage one's life in the face of adversity creates room for accomplishment and enjoyment inspite of such conditions. For instance, some people with terminal illness refer to the period after they got sick as one of the best of their lives because of the closeness to and honesty with loved ones that their impending death brought. Clearly, they are not glad that they got sick rather, they mean that they are able to appreciate the precious gains the illness provided, inspite of its devastating consequences.
Coping ability depends on the individual's skill in identifying the questions to be resolved, the alternatives that are available, and the likely results of different actions. Sometimes coping means learning to live with what one cannot change.
Counseling may also contribute to a client's ability to make important life decisions. The counselor teaches the client about self-assessment procedures and how to use information to arrive at personally satisfying answers. Career decision making, for example, is still a major focus of school and college counselors. Counselors prepared in contemporary career development methods focus heavily on helping clients to identify relevant sources of information. Generally on refrains from giving advice and see career decision making as a life long process rather than a single decision made during young adulthood.
Though not directly observable, change in beliefs (also called personal constructs) may occur in counseling and can be assessed from the client's verbal output. A common goal of counseling is that the client will improve his or her self-concept and come to think of himself/herself as a more competent, lovable, or worthy person. People who think they. are incapable, feel embraced about performing in front of others and will act on those personal constructs by avoiding anything challenging.
An additional function of counseling is the relief of emotional distress. Many clients enter counseling because they feel bad and need a place where they can safely vent those feelings and feel sure that they will be accepted and understood. Their level of emotional distress may be interfering with their daily activities, and they need relief from their psychic pain.
Change that occurs in counseling can influence feelings, values, attitudes, thoughts, and actions. Among the broad variety of potential changes, some will be obvious and others very subtle. Because the scope of possible change covers essentially all dimensions of human experiences, it can correctly be stated that if change in at least one dimensions does not occur, counseling has not succeeded. The result of counseling may be inner peace with little outward sign of change.
One of the significant outcomes that are expected from counseling is the establishment of free and responsible behaviour
Freedom is the power to determine one's own actions, to make one's own choices and decisions. Throughout the history, human beings have migrated from one location to another in search of a social order that would allow freedom and many democracies were founded by people searching for freedom. However, freedom is fragile, and some of it must be sacrificed as the price for living in
any kind of social system. Freedom is also limited by the responsibility to consider Counseling Processes the freedoms of others as one determines one's actions, it is not license to do exactly as one pleases.
One of the roles of counselors is to help clients assess the true margins of their freedom by focusing their thoughts on the consequences of their actions and decisions. Clients who feel that freedom is license for must be helped to see that family, friends, teachers, employers, or the society at large will exact a price for behaviours that are perceived as threatening to the client's self-interest for others.
Counselors raised on cultures that places storing emphasis on the rights and freedom of the individual must also understand that not all cultures emphasize individual freedom to the same degree. Hence, counselors need to respect the value of clients who place the good of the group or the family ahead of the desires of an individual. Counselors are obliged to show respect for community along with their encouragement of personal growth.
Another very important domain in terms of outcome is understanding and managing negative feelings and attitudes.
It is a common misunderstanding that counseling eliminates negative feelings. In the beginning counselors are tempted to set the elimination of anxiety, sadness, or anger as one of their missions, and clients will reinforce them in this goals. The counselor needs only to look within self and to friends and family to realize that negative feelings are present even in people who are leading satisfactory lives. It is definitely a goal' of counseling to help people understand these feelings and to reduce debilitation anxiety, overwhelming sadness, or extreme anger.
6 PROCESS GOALS IN COUNSELING
The definition said that counseling is an interactive process characterized by a unique relationship between counselor and client. To understand counseling as a process, one must distinguish between outcome goals and process goals. Outcome goals (described in the previous section) are the intended results of counseling. Generally, they are described in terms of what the client desires to achieve as a result of his or her interaction with the counselor. In contrast, process goals are those events the counselors take as helpful and instrumental in bringing about outcome goals. Outcome goals are described in terms of change in the client that will manifest after the counseling and outside the counselor's office. Process goals are plans for events that take place during the counseling sections and in the counselor's office. They are events that the counselor considers helpful and instrumental in achieving outcome goals.
Process goals can also be described in terms of the counselor's actions and at other times in terms of effect to be experienced by the client. For example, a counselor may think, "If I am to help this client, I must actively listen to what he is saying and understand the significance of his concerns for his present and future well-being. I must understand how the attitudes he is describing influences the way he behaves towards significant others. I must understand the surrounding circumstances (including cultural background) that relate to his concerns, and I must understand the reinforcing events that support his behaviour". All of these statements are process goals that relate to the counselor's behaviour.
Another kind of process goal refers to the way the consumer can act as a model for new ways of behaving. By modeling appropriate responses to frustration, disappointment, or negative feelings, the counselors indirectly teaches the client alternatives to accustomed ways of responding. For example, a counselor who deals assertively to a chronically late client is demonstrating to the client an alternative way to cope with feelings of frustration.
Stages of the counseling process
A process is an identifiable sequence of events taking place over time. Usually there is the implication of progressive stages in the process. The stages if the counseling are discussed below:
Stage I: Initial Disclosure
At the beginning of counseling, the counselors and clients typically do not know one another well. Neither participant can know in advance the direction their discussion will ultimately take, and the client is probably a bit anxious about disclosing concerns because s/he is not sure how the counselor will receive the disclosures. Without disclosure, counseling is an empty process.
In the initial disclosure stage of counseling, clients must be helped to articulate their personal concerns and to place those concerns in a context so that the counselor can understand the personal meanings and significance the client attaches to them. To define the problem is the first step in learning the meaning of the situations of the particular client.
To encourage disclosure, the counselor must set conditions that promote trust in the client. Rogers (1951) described these trust-promoting conditions as the characteristics of the helping relationship.
1. Empathy - understanding another's experience as if it were your own, without ever loosing the "as if" quality.
2. Congruence or genuineness - being as you seem to be, consistent over time, dependable in the relationship.
3. Unconditional positive regard - caring for your client without setting conditions for your caring (avoiding the message "I will care about you if you do what I want"). Egan (1988) adds another condition that has relevance throughout the counseling process:
4. Concreteness - using clear language to describe the client's life situation.
Effective counseling procedures in the initial disclosure stage lead to sustained self-disclosure by the client for the following purposes:
• to let the counselors know what has been occurring in the client's life and how the client thinks and feels about (hose events;
• to encourage the client to gain some feeling of relief through the process of talking about his or her problems;
• to encourage the client to develop a clearer definition of his or her concerns and greater understanding about exactly what is disturbing;
• to help the client being to connect components of his or her story that may lead to new insight.
Stage II: In-depth Exploration
In the second stage of counseling, the client should reach clear understanding of his or her life concerns and begin to formulate a new sense of hope and directions. It is a useful rubric to think of emerging goals as the "flip side" of problems.
The process that facilitates formulation of a new sense of direction builds on the conditions of the initial disclosure stage and becomes possible only if trust has been built in that first stage and is maintained. But the relationship has become less strenuous and fragile than it was at the beginning and so the counselor can use a broader range of intervention tools without increasing tension beyond tolerable limits. The first stage merges into the second stage as the counselor perceives the client's readiness.
In the second stage, the counselor begins, subtly at first, to bring into the discussion his or her diagnostic impressions of the ciient's dynamics and coping behaviour. The empathic responses of the counselor now include coping behaviour. The empathic responses of the counselor now include material from prior sessions and focus more on the client's mind state that the counselor has an understanding of his or her world and provide an impetus for still deeper exploration.
As the relationship becomes more secure, the counselor also beings to confront the client with observation about his or her goals behaviour. Broadly speaking, constructive confrontation provides the client with an external view of his or her behaviour, based on the counselor's observations. The client is free to accept, reject or modify the counselor's impression.
Immediacy is another quality of the counselor's behaviour that becomes important in the second stage of counseling. According to Egan (1988), immediacy can be defined in three different ways. First, it refers to general discussions about the progress of the counseling relationship. The counselors give the client an immediate reaction the client's statements or asks the clients to disclose current thoughts about the counselor. The third kind of immediacy response is a self-involving statement that expresses the counselor's personal to a client in the present.
The focus of counseling is clearly on the client by the second stage, the counselor may begin sharing bits of his or her own experience with the client without fear of appearing to oversimplify the client's problems or seeming to tell the client's "Do as I did". Incidents in the counselor's life may be shared if they have direct relevance to the client's concern.
The second stage of counseling many a times becomes emotionally stressful, as the client repeatedly faces the inadequacy of habitual behaviour and must begin to give up the familiar for ' the unfamiliar. This stressful task must be accomplished within a caring relationship in which it is clear that the counselor is not criticising the client's past behaviour. The thrust is toward helping clients realise more clearly what they do not like in their responses to present situations or decisions making and to gain a sense of what kinds of responses might be more satisfying.
Stage III: Commitment to Action
In third and final stage of counseling client resolve how to accomplish any goals that have come over during the previous two stages. Concerns have been defined and clarified on the context of the client's life situation. The clients have to realised how his or her own behaviour related to accomplishing the goals that have been clarified through the counseling process. What remains is to decide what, if any, overt actions the client might take to alleviate these problems. If no action is indicated, then the third stage of counseling can focus on increasing the client's commitment to a view that s/he has done everything possible or desirable in the given situation.
This stage includes recognising possible alternative courses of action (or decision) the clients might choose and evaluating each of them in terms of the likelihood of outcomes. Once an action decision is made, the clients usually try some new behaviours are habitual and because new behaviours while remaining in touch with the counselor. Together, the counselor and client monitor the initial steps of the change process.
Often the client needs to be reinforced to behave in new ways, both because the old behaviours are habitual and because new behaviours may not bring about immediate results. Especially when the goals involve improving interpersonal relationships with one or more people, the other parties may not respond instantly
to the client new direction, which can be discouraging.
Particular actions cannot be evaluated for a goal that has not been defined, and a goal cannot be defined if a concern has not been explored and clarified. Even so, the segments of an individual's life cannot be fully separated and treated as independent problem. Eventually, each sector must fit back into a whole picture of the individual's life, much as the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle fit together to procedure a complete picture. The process of counseling may involve refining the edges of one piece so that it fits the picture.
7 THE BASIC CONDITIONS OF COUNSELING
To support client's disclosure of meaningful issues during the initial disclosure stages of counseling, the counselor maintains an attitude of receiving the client, often referred to as the core condition of counseling. Three of these conditions - empathy, positive regard and genuineness -were described by Carl Rogers (1957) as the significant and sufficient conditions of personality change. The fourth condition, concreteness, is the counselor's skill focusing the client's discussion on specific events, thoughts and feeling that matter, while discouraging a lot of intellectualised storytelling.
Rogers (1961) defined empathy as the counselor's ability "to enter the client's phenomenon world -- to experience the client's world as if it were your own without ever losing the as if quality tailing how it is perceived in client-centered, psychoanalytic, behvioural and cognitive, postmodernist".
The important components are:
• Empathic rapport - primarily kindness, global understanding, and tolerant acceptance of the client's feelings and frame of reference.
• Experience near-understanding of the client's world - what it is like to have the problems the client has, to live in the life situation the client lives in ... what it is like to be him.
• Communicative attunement - the therapist tries to put himself or herself in the client's sic shoes at the moment, to grasp what they are trying to consciously communicate at the moment, and what they are experiencing at the moment.
Empathy focuses on two major skills: perceiving and communicating. Perceiving involve an intense process of actively listening for themes, issues, personal constructs, and emotional. Themes may be thought of as recurring patterns, for example, views of oneself, attitudes towards others, consistent interpersonal relationship patterns, fear of failure, and search for personal power. Issues are questions of conflict with which the client is struggling: "What do I want for my future?" Relative to each theme or issue a client will have emotional of elation, joy, anger, anxiety, sadness, confusion, and so forth. Understanding the emotional investments is a critical part of the perceptual element of empathy.
In the communication component of empathy, the counselor says something that tells the client that his or her meaning and feelings have been understood. If a counselor listens carefully and understands well but says nothing, the client has no way of knowing what is in the counselor's mind. Sometimes the client may even misinterpret a counselor's lack of response as a negative judgment about what they have, said. It is often through hearing his or her meanings and feelings repeated that the client takes another look at life events and begins to perceive them differently.
Effectively communicated empathy has a number of desired effects in the initial disclosure stage of counseling. First, the energy required to listen actively expresses caring and affirmation to the client. The counselor is saying, "I care enough for you that I want to invest everything into understanding clearly".
Second, the feedback that comes from the counselor's contact with significant themes helps the client see his or her own themes more clearly. This helps the client understand himself/herself more deeply and re-examine relevant perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs.
Third, such responding establishes expectations about the nature of the counseling experience. Counseling is conveyed to the client as a process that involves attending to oneself, exploring, searching, and perceiving oneself more clearly. Counseling is established as an experience involving work, not simply conversation. Indeed, the counselor's work is to stimulate the client's work of self-discovery.
A fourth effect is that is the counselor is careful to offer a level of empathy that is consistent with the client's level of readiness, the client will feel safe to continue the counseling experience. The client learns that nothing bad will happen as a result of communicating and that something helpful is likely to occur.
A fifth effect is that empathy communicated to the clients that the counselor has social expertise to offer. Empathy is not routinely experienced in the events of daily life. A counselor who can make empathic contact establishes himself/herself .as having some special skill, which in turn helps the client experience a sense of optimism about future sessions.
Positive regard is caring for your counselee for no other reason than the fact that s/he is human and therefore worthy. Caring is expressed by the enthusiasm one person shows for being in the presence of another and by the amount of time and energy one is willing to devote to another's well being. The experience of being cared about helps develop and restore a sense of caring for oneself. It creates energy and encourages a person to respond to the demand of life. A counselor's caring can increase the client's enthusiasm for work and growth.
The Problems the Counselor may Face Personally
To work through feelings of disregard for a client, the counselor must first acknowledge them and take responsibility for their existence. After recognition, the counselor's task is to identify specific characteristics of the client that s/he does not like. Lying, defensiveness, manipulation, destructiveness to oneself and others, unwillingness to conform to reasonable social rules, and irresponsibility to others the traits that often trigger dislike for many counselors.
Several parameters of human behaviour may help counselors work through their own emotions. One is that the counselor may be tempted to impose "should" statements on the client.
A second parameter is that anxiety often accompanies feelings of dislike for a client. The counselors may feel threatened by client's behaviour that raises concern about his or her own unresolved issues or by the fear that the client's problems are beyond his or her ability to help. Excessive resistance by the client or power struggles in the counseling sessions can also trigger counselor anxiety.
A third parameter is that some characteristic of the clients may remind the counselor of some other person for whom there are feelings of anger or resentment. In such circumstances the counselor does not perceive the client with full accuracy but instead has some distortion in his or her image of the client.
An effective counselor will experience positive regard for this vast majority of his or her clients. Although caring is usually not as directly expressed as empathy, it will become apparent to the client thought the counselor's spontaneous statements that acknowledge the validity of the client's struggle for a more satisfying life.
As stated earlier in the chapter, it is the counselor's responsibility to identify which of the client's statements are central to his or her reasons for being a client and to encourage talk about those issues. The client is still the person who determines what will be introduced as the content of the session, but the counselor manages to process in such a way as to make it easier for the client to talk about what matters. What the counselor responds to, the client will probably follow up on; what the counselor ignores will likely to be dropped. As diagnostic skills improve with experience, it becomes easier for the counselor to identify important themes to be pursued, but at the beginning counselors can easily distinguish between small talk and self-disclosure. Beyond initial social amenities that may contribute to client comfort. Small talk wastes valuable counseling time of specific interaction between the client and the other person will shed much light on the relationship dynamics. "Picking on me" may actually mean "Every time I don't have my homework done, the teacher calls attention to it in a public way and embarrasses me".
The language used by the client and by the counselor can also contribute to unfocused discussion. Vagueness, abstractness, and obsecurity are the opposites of concrete communication. Therefore, the counselor should model direct communication as well as challenge the client to become more specific. The more fully and concretely the troublesome events in the client's life are re-created, complete with affective tone, within the counseling session, the more likely it is that new understanding and more positive feelings can be developed.
The following example includes three counselor responses, each of which is at least minimally responsive to the client's statement. The responses increase in their level of concreteness and thereby increase in their potential to focus the client's self-exploration.
CLIENT: I feel so frustrated with my teenage daughter. She is completely out of control. No matter what I do she stays out till all hours and won't get up for school in the morning. I've tried everything but I just seem hopeless.
Response with little concreteness:
• You seem very upset and worried.
Response with moderate concreteness:
You seem pretty frustrated with your daughter's behaviour and are running out of ideas.
Response with a high degree of concreteness:
You are frightened that your daughter is harming herself and feel powerless and hopeless. At the same time you haven't given up. You are here and ready to try. to work out some other way to help.
Although the first response identifies something of the client's feelings, the second adds more of the client's meaning as well. The third response included feeling and meaning in more detail, and it begins to structure towards hope that exploration might lead to new possibilities for helping. Any of the three responses would likely sustain the conversation, but the more concrete the response, the more likely the client will focus energy productively.
8. FURTHER READINGS
Bull, A. (1995), Counseling Skills and Counseling at Work: A Guide for Purchaser and Procedures, Rugby: British Association for Counseling Publications.
Carroll, M. (1994), `Making ethical decisions in Organizational Counseling', EAP International, (4): 26-30.
Carroll, M. (1995), `The Counselor in Organizational Settings: Some Reflection', Employee Counseling Today, 7 (1): 23-32.
Carroll, M. (996b), Workplace Counseling: A Systematic Approach to Employee Care, London: Sage.
Clarkson, P. (1990), `The Scope of Stress Counseling in Organizations?' Employee Counseling Today, 2 (4): 3-6.
Critchley, B. and Casey, D. (1989), `Organizational Get Stuck Too', Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 10 (4): 3-12.
Gerstein, L.W. and Shullman, S.L. (1992), `Counseling Psychology and the Workplace: The Emergence of Organizational Counseling Psychology',, in R. Brown and R.W. Lent (eds.), The Handbook of Counseling Psychology (2nd edition), New York: Wiley, pp. 581-625.
Hirschhorn, L. and Barnett, C.K. (1993), The Psychodynamics of Organizations, Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Kets de Vries, F.R. and Miller, D. (1984), The Neurotic Organization, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.