The role of the counsellor is to facilitate a person’s resolution to problem issues whilst respecting their values, personal resources, culture and capacity for choice. Counselling can provide people with a regular time and space to talk about their problems and explore difficult feelings in a confidential and dependable environment. Counsellors do not usually offer advice but instead give insight into the client’s feelings and behaviour and they may help the client to change their behaviour if necessary. They do this by listening to what the client has to say and commenting on it from a professional perspective.
Counselling covers a wide spectrum from the highly trained counsellor to someone who uses counselling skills as part of their everyday working role, for example, a nurse or teacher. Many people use counselling skills in their daily lives. However, sometimes it may be inappropriate for people to use their usual methods of support. They may not want to discuss their problems with a friend or family member. They may feel that the person is too close, that they do not want them to know their confidential problems. Alternatively, the person they would usually confide in might be part of the problem.
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Counsellors are trained to be effective helpers in difficult or sensitive situations. They should be independent, neutral and professional, as well as respecting of our privacy. Effective counselling can help people to clarify their problems, identify changes they would like to make, get a fresh perspective, consider other options, and look at the impact that life events have made on their emotional wellbeing. Counselling Skills II follows on from this course forming a tight foundation for your practice. Lesson Structure There are 8 lessons in this course: 1.
Learning Specific Skills: Methods of learning; learning micro-skills 2. Listening and Bonding: Meeting and greeting; helping the client relax; listening with intent 3. Reflection: Paraphrasing; reflection of feeling; client responses to reflection of feelings; reflection of content and feeling 4. Questioning: Open and closed questions; other types of questions; goals of questioning 5. Interview Techniques: Summarising; confrontation; reframing 6. Changing Beliefs and Normalising: Changing self-destructive beliefs; irrational beliefs; normalising 7.
Finding Solutions: Making choices; facilitating actions; gestalt awareness circle; psychological blocks 8. Ending the Counselling: Terminating the session; closure; further meetings; dependency, confronting dependency Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school’s tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading. Aims • Acquire the ability to explain the processes involved in the training of counsellors in micro skills. Demonstrate the skills involved in commencing the counselling process and evaluation of non-verbal responses and minimal responses. • Demonstrate reflection of content, feeling, both content and feeling, and its appropriateness to the counselling process. • Develop different questioning techniques and to understand risks involved with some types of questioning. • Show how to use various micro-skills including summarising, confrontation, and reframing. • To demonstrate self-destructive beliefs and show methods of challenging them, including normalising. Explain how counselling a client can improve their psychological well-being through making choices, overcoming psychological blocks and facilitating actions. • Demonstrate effective ways of terminating a counselling session and to explain ways of addressing dependency. What You Will Do • Report on an observed counselling session, simulated or real. • Identify the learning methods available to the trainee counsellor. • Demonstrate difficulties that might arise when first learning and applying micro skills. Identify why trainee counsellors might be unwilling to disclose personal problems during training. • Identify risks that can arise for trainee counsellors not willing to disclose personal problems. • Discuss different approaches to modelling, as a form of counselling • Evaluate verbal and non-verbal communication in an observed interview. • Identify the counsellor’s primary role (in a generic sense). • Show how to use minimal responses as an important means of listening with intent. • Explain the importance of different types of non-verbal response in the counselling procedure. Report on the discussion of a minor problem with an anonymous person which that problem relates to. • Identify an example of paraphrasing as a minimal response to reflect feelings. • Discuss the use of paraphrasing in counselling. • Differentiate catharsis from confused thoughts and feelings. • Identify an example of reflecting back both content (thought) and feeling in the same phrase. • Report on the discussion of a minor problem with an anonymous person which that problem relates to. • Identify an example of paraphrasing as a minimal response to reflect feelings. Discuss the use of paraphrasing in counselling. • Differentiate catharsis from confused thoughts and feelings. • Identify an example of reflecting back both content (thought) and feeling in the same phrase. • Demonstrate/observe varying responses to a variety of closed questions in a simulated counselling situation. • Demonstrate/observe varying responses to a variety of open questions in a simulated counselling situation. • Compare your use of open and closed questions in a counselling situation. • Identify the main risks involved in asking too many questions. Explain the importance of avoiding questions beginning with ‘why’ in counselling. • Identify in observed communication (written or oral), the application of different micro-skills which would be useful in counselling. • Demonstrate examples of when it would be appropriate for the counsellor to use confrontation. • List the chief elements of good confrontation. • Discuss appropriate use of confrontation, in case studies. • Show how reframing can be used to change a client’s perspective on things. • Develop a method for identifying the existence of self-destructive beliefs (SDB’s). Identify self-destructive beliefs (SDB’s) amongst individuals within a group. • Explain the existence of self destructive beliefs in an individual. • List methods that can be used to challenge SDB’s? • Explain what is meant by normalising, in a case study. • Demonstrate precautions that should be observed when using normalizing. • Determine optional responses to different dilemmas. • Evaluate optional responses to different dilemmas. • Explain how the ‘circle of awareness’ can be applied to assist a client, in a case study. • Explain why psychological blockages may arise. Demonstrate how a counsellor might help a client to overcome psychological blockages. • Describe the steps a counsellor would take a client through to reach a desired goal, in a case study. • Identify inter-dependency in observed relationships. • Explain why good time management is an important part of the counselling process. • Compare terminating a session with terminating the counselling process. • Demonstrate dangers posed by client – counsellor inter-dependency. • Explain how dependency can be addressed and potentially overcome. • Explain any negative aspects of dependency in a case study. pic] Recommended Reading We have developed a great little ebook, full of practical advice on counselling, that complements this and other counselling courses we offer. It is called “Counselling Handbook” and is a collaborative effort from several of our staff. See http://www. acsebook. com/products/2249-counselling-handbook. aspx Buy as a download now and read on an ipad, computer, laptop or book reader EXTRACT FROM COURSE NOTES Micro Skills The techniques available to the counsellor to improve the effectiveness of the counselling process are known as micro skills.
These skills are usually learnt individually and applied to the counselling process. They become mastered (like second nature) through practice. Before we begin to cover these skills, let’s take a look at what we might need to help practice them. Triads Triads are a valuable method of learning new counselling techniques for students. Within the triad, each person takes on once of the following roles: • Counsellor • Client • Observer For face-to-face practice, chairs should be arranged so that the counsellor and client face each other and the observer looks on (the importance of this will be addressed further on).
For telephone counselling the counsellor and client should face away from one another while the observer looks on. The observer can then relay back information to the other two with regard to their body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and so on. In counselling training, the students may be expected to meet weekly to practice. Each member of the triad should expect to receive feedback on their skills at each session. Therefore, each student must play each part of counsellor, client and observer each week. Videotaping of practice sessions is useful.
The supervisor/trainer will also meet with the triad to observe the students’ abilities to demonstrate the skills practiced and give written or verbal feedback. When the student takes on the role of the client, the triad experience is more meaningful if the student is able to role play a realistic situation. The situation can be taken from people you know, your own past situations which you have resolved, or situations you make up. The more real the role plays, the easier it is for the counsellor in the triad to use appropriate counselling skills. Problems with Triads
It is important not to use triads as a way to get counselling for your own problems. Therefore, it is important for students to only reveal information about themselves that they are willing for others to know about them. In other words, it is important to have clear limits on what you are willing to discuss in the triad. Whilst there is a need to set limits on the personal information revealed, but students should be willing to honestly evaluate their counselling skills development. A student’s openness and flexibility to consider their strengths and weaknesses is important.
It is also important for the student to seek out feedback as to their performance. Trainee counsellors or triad participants may be reluctant to reveal problems due to: • Lack of trust in others • A belief that they will be rejected as counsellors • A belief that they will become distressed • A belief that they will not receive adequate support from the trainee counsellor It is possible to role-play imagined problems or other people’s problem’s, however it may be difficult to simulate problems and solutions to problems that you yourself are not experiencing.
In such instances role-play may be a challenge and issues that are real life ones should be used instead. Case Study Alan is a member of a counselling triad playing the counsellor. Richard plays the role of client, Jeremy the role of observer. Richard pretends to have a history of depression. He is finding it hard to cope with his life as a full time worker, father and have a social life. Alan believes that this is truly how Richard feels and pushes for more and more information, using personal information he has of Richard’s life to delve further.
Richard, who is playing a role, starts to feel that this is intrusive and becomes reluctant to answer. Jeremy tries to encourage Alan to use this as a role playing exercise. Alan becomes more belligerent and argumentative with Richard, before finally storming out of the session. Consider the difficulties with this for Alan. Past and current life experiences can affect a person’s ability or inability to demonstrate helping skills within a class situation. Some helpers will try to take over more responsibility for the client’s problems.
If this was the case, a tutor or supervisor would have to intervene to discuss this with the student. There is also the issue that students must follow the correct ethical standards, such as those of the Australian Psychological Society, British Psychological Society and so on. Theory Into Practice When applying micro skills it is important to use one at a time, and to build upon each one when you feel a certain level of mastery has been attained of the current skill being learnt.
Even learning just one or two micro skills can produce an effective counselling session. The observer should literally observe without making any judgements or interpretations (they can write details down so that it can more easily be revisited after). The information gathered can include everything from tone of voice to movement of the hands. The observations are fed back to the counsellor and client at the end of the triad session for evaluation. Comments need not be evaluative, merely observational facts without any personal interpretation.