Integrating Learned Theories about Counseling with Your Personal Values
As the world has modernized, people have started experiencing more psychological problems and other problems than ever. Despite the normal behavior that most of the people depict, they are a victim of psychological disturbances which ultimately makes them sick. Therefore counseling was introduces as a means to address various kinds of problem that people find difficult to tackle. There are many theories of counseling that help us deal with the problems but it is important to know how these theories integrate with our personal values. The impact that these theories have on the personal values of each person will be different due to the fact that personal values are different for each person.
Definition of Counseling
Ever since counseling has emerged has a professional field, the need for a definition has been increasing. However, it is extremely difficult to devise a scientific definition of counseling. There have been various attempts at developing a definition in a systematic manner. One of these attempts defines counseling as a relationship that is portrayed through the application of communication skills along with the psychological theories. The relationship aims to improve the problems that the client is facing by addressing his intimate concerns and feelings. The definition defines facilitation and the client's welfare as the aim of counseling. Counseling session can be carried out in any professional or personal setting depending upon the client's comfort (Feltham & Dryden, 2005).
Now that a systemized definition of counseling is known, it is important to know what the concept of counseling is in our understanding. The concept of counseling in mind emerges from the word relationship. Counseling is understood to have developed into a professional field that deals with all the professional and personal problems related to relationships and career. Counseling was developed to solve problems of the people that were never taken seriously and had a very strong negative impact on a person's life.
Helping characteristics in a relationship
The most important thing to note here is that we are dealing with two kinds of relationship. Helping characteristics fall under the category of personal values which might differ from person to person however the general values remain the same.
One relationship that we are considering is that of the client and the counselor, the other relationship that we are considering is that of the client and his peers. For any relationship to develop positively, there are a few helping characteristics that help the relationship flourish. Each helping characteristic is explained below.
Trust & Dependability -- A relationship can flourish positively only if both the parties that are in a relationship consider each other trust worthy and dependable. In case of a counselor -- client relationship, if a client doesn't consider the counselor trust worthy, the counseling session will be completely ineffective. The counseling session will also be ineffective if the counselor doesn't have trust on what the client is telling him or her. Similar is the case with client -- peer relationships. Trust and dependability are one of the main helping characteristics of a relationship (Rogers, 1958).
Being Expressive - The second helping characteristic of a relationship is being expressive. Expression can solve a problem on its own. When a person is expressive, there's nothing difficult to be understood about him or her. This leads to a better understanding between the people that are in the relationship. Thus, being expressive can help you attain a standard level of understanding needed for a relationship (Rogers, 1958).
Positive Attitude - A positive attitude can make a negative relationship positive. Even if one relationship party is giving negative vibes, the positive attitude of the other party can give the relationship a positive turn. Positive attitude requires individuals to see the better side of things. The glass should be seen as half full, not half empty (Rogers, 1958).
Emotional Strength -- Emotional strength is another important helping characteristic of a relationship. For people to survive in a relationship, emotional strength is a must. Every relationship goes through one problem or the other in a given time. These problems can be fatal for the relationship. However, if the people in the relationship have sufficient emotional strength, the problems can be handled maturely. Therefore, for a relationship to survive in the long run it is important for at least one person to have emotional strength (Rogers, 1958).
Openness and Acceptability -- Openness and acceptability to the difference that other person in a relationship might bring in your life, serves as another helping characteristic of the relationship. The openness not only contributes towards developing a positive relationship attitude but also creates a level of acceptance in the other relationship partners (Rogers, 1958).
Sensitivity -- Sensitivity is one of the most important helping characteristics of relationships. Sensitivity depicts how much you care for the other person. The feeling of being cared for is something human kind craves for since the era of Stone Age. The need for care and love is embedded in the nature of all humans. Therefore, a relationship cannot flourish if this helping characteristic is absent (Rogers, 1958).
These helping characteristics provide a generalized view of all the helping characteristics of a relationship. While there are many unmentioned, most of them fall under either of the broadly categorized helping characteristics explained above.
Key Elements of Counseling for the First Session
The first counseling session can be very challenging, both for the client and the counselor. The first counseling session acts as the foundation of a developing relationship between the counselor and the client. There are many things to take care of before having that first session of counseling because if that goes bad, it is going to have a very negative impact on the client. Broadly, there are two key elements to be considered for the first counseling session as explained below.
Behavioral & Environmental Elements
Behavioral elements consist of all the elements related to the nature and attitude of both the client and the counselor. These elements include the above mentioned helping characteristics of the relationship along with the characteristic of emotional safety.
The environmental elements are different than the behavioral elements. The environmental elements include the following:
Professional Environment -- The first and foremost environmental element required in the first counseling session is the professional environment. The need for professionalism is important in the counseling environment because otherwise the client might develop a person relationship with the counselor with ruins the counseling therapy (Gladding, 2012).
Comfortable Environment -- Along with the professional environment, a need for comfort in the counseling environment also prevails. If the client or the counselor do not feel comfortable in the counseling environment, the counseling will not be beneficial (Gladding, 2012).
The systematic elements of the first counseling session include all the elements that are required by the counselor to keep a track of the client in his professional records. The systematic elements include the registration forms that are required to be filled by the clients, the consent authorization that the client provides to the counselor for getting the counseling treatment, expressive client analysis that includes assessment of the story that the client is explaining to the counselor, identifying the problem and assessment of the severity of the problem. The last systematic element needed in the first counseling session is that of the summarized wrap up that provides the client in the understanding of counseling development for the day and also informs him about the counseling plan for the coming weeks (Gladding, 2012).
Theories of Counseling
The theories of counseling that I'd like to seek to learn more about and practice in my counseling career or anywhere in my personal life are briefly explained below.
Psychoanalytical Theory -- The theory was given by Sigmund Freud and focuses on giving the client a sense of acceptance. The concepts applied in this theory are that of conscious and unconscious, dream analysis, resistance analysis, interpretation and etc. (Safran, 2012).
Individual Psychology Theory -- This theory was given by Alfred Adler and focuses on the development of a healthy and social lifestyle. The concepts applied in this theory are that of therapeutic processes to help the client with the development of a healthy relationship (Sweeney, 2009).
Person Centered Theory -- This theory is Carl Roger's theory that is basically centered on the individual himself. The theory focuses on helping the client with developing a realistic self-perception, learning to cope with stress of various levels and developing an adaptive and mature behavior.
Existential Counseling Theory -- This theory was given by Viktor Frankl and Rollo May and basically focuses on increasing the sense of accountability in the client's life and the self-awareness level.
Gestalt Theory -- Gestalt theory is Fritz Perls's theory that focuses on the current experiences of the client. The theory basically includes various exercises and experiments consisting of methods to increase a client's interaction (Wollants, 2012).