Advanced Counselling Skills.
1. Understand the process of a series of counselling sessions.
1.1 - Identify the stages of a series of counselling sessions
During each counselling session there should be a beginning, middle and end. All are important in their own ways, as valuable as one another and there are reasons for each.
A beginning is the first stage of rapport building, it is to welcome the client, introduce you to one another. Complete safety, i.e, fire exits, medication, next of kin. It is a chance for the client to find out more about what is on offer and about the counsellor, who he/she is. For example, the client may want to know what type of theory the ...view middle of the document...
Some people can get to the middle quiet quickly and may feel they just need to be heard whereas for others it maybe a slower process and the client needs to build trust in the counsellor before they start to explore their feelings. Some clients may get stuck and some may even regress.
Clients may go up and down in the stages and others go through stage to stage in order and the need for the counsellor reduce.
The middle of a counselling session is the most intense as the story is developing, the counsellor may challenge more and client should hopefully feel more willing to take risk and explore the feelings, thoughts and behaviours.
During the middle and throughout the counselling session the counsellor will use some of the following skills:
This is good practice to make sure the counsellor has a clear understanding of what has been said, confirms to the client they are being heard and often helps the client to hear back both feelings and words they have used, being a great reflection. I feel this is especially effective in a person centred approach to counselling.
The ending of a counselling session or sessions should be made aware to the client before it happens. The counsellor will summarise what has been discussed, feelings the client may have disclosed and ways in which the client has chosen to deal with the issues they may face. Some good practice is to have a clock in view, do not ask open questions, state to the client we are coming to the last 10 minutes of today’s session now. This is also a good opportunity to make sure the client is ok and in a safe place to leave things there.
1.2 - Evaluate the importance of an appropriate opening of a series of sessions.
The importance of an opening is to empower the client to feel at ease and remind them they are now here for them and this is there time to continue to explore feelings, thoughts and behaviours in a safe and non-judgemental environment. “together, we can see what might be a way forward" (Mearns and Thorne, Person Centred Counselling in Action, 4th edition, p.133).
The opening of a series of counselling session is also important as it briefly will recap about feelings, thoughts and behaviours the client may have been unravelling. It is also an important point to confirm the time you have with the client today.
‘ We have 50minutes today, what would you like to talk about?’
A disingenuous or rushed opening can have a negative effect and could prevent the client from opening up as they feel judged.
1.3 - Explain the purpose and importance of a working agreement for a series of counselling sessions.
The clients first session should be spent completing a working agreement, which is the contract. This is important as it establishes clear boundaries of how the counsellor and client will manage their time spent together. Outlining boundaries helps keeps the relationship professional and the BACP states its 'good practice...