Explain the process of counseling in detail
The initial interview describes the first contact with the client who is the individual in need of counselling. It completes the intake process, a sort of admission of the client into the formalities of counselling. Importance of the Initial Interview: The initial interview is of much importance for several reasons: 1) It helps the counsellor get to know the client better, and make appropriate plan for intervention.
These plans include taking up the client for counselling or referring the client to another, appropriate, treatment service. 2) It helps the client to get to know the counsellor etter, and to obtain reassurance and even crisis support, when necessary. 3) It affords the counsellor the opportunity to explain the nature and goals of counselling, and to agree upon the practical arrangements for counselling with the client. In short, the initial interview will help the client and the counsellor to begin the process of understanding and accepting one another.
The initial interview normally should proceed along the following lines: 1) Statement of the problem in clear, unambiguous terms 2) Systematic evaluation of the problem, its causes and its effects 3) Identification of circularity 4) Feedback to the client 5) Evaluation of the client’s motivation for counselling 6) Clarification of expectations 7) Setting of goals 8) Establishing a contract 9) Making the practical arrangements for counselling. Let us examine each of these steps that will enable us to actually understand the process involved.
Statement of the problem in Clear, Unambiguous Terms More frequently, their thoughts are muddled, and heavily laden with emotional content. Clients do not say, “l am anxious”, or “l am depressed”. Instead, they frequently commence with an account of what happened, where and when and how. Often, a client comes for counselling because he has been compelled to do so by a family member, friend, or well-wisher. Such clients are, more often than not, unlikely to cooperate whole-heartedly with counselling.
Clients sometimes have difficulties in complying with the practical arrangements for counselling; for example, they may reside too far away, or may not be able to obtain leave from work. A greater problem, however, is that many clients are unwilling to make the personal or life-style changes that are necessary if they are to benefit from counselling. For . example, a husband, ho is convinced that all his problems originate in his wife’s behaviour, may not be willing to accept that he is responsible in many ways for them, and that he needs to make certain changes in his attitudes and behaviour if his marriage is to survive.
Or, while a drug addict may realize that his addiction is ruining his life, he may not be willing to give up the company of the friends who are encouraging him in his deviant habits. It is important that the client realizes that the counsellor can only facilitate change; the client must make the primary effort. Breaking maladaptative habits is difficult. Making life-style changes is difficult. The client must be willing to make the necessary efforts with the guidance of the counsellor. It is important, for several reasons, to assess motivations that led the client to seek counselling.
If the counsellor understands that the client is poorly motivated for counselling, he can provide an appropriate feedback to the client. Then, in consultation with the client, he can arrive at a pragmatic decision concerning whether or not to proceed with counselling. If a client shows poor motivation and the counsellor decides not to go ahead with counselling, he saves for himself, and his client, a lot oftime. He also saves himself a lot of heartburn; had he proceeded with therapy, and had the client shown poor progress, he would in all likelihood have blamed himself, or questioned his competence.
If a client shows poor motivation and the counsellor does decide to proceed with therapy, he would probably set far more modest goals than he would have had the client been more motivated. It may be noted here that the evaluation of motivation is an ongoing process. A client may begin counselling enthusiastically but may later weaken his resolve when he realizes what behavioural changes are necessary. Clarification of Expectations The counsellor needs to find out what the client expects from counselling.
Some clients tend to believe that once they tell the counsellor their problems, it is the counsellor’s responsibility (and not their own) to fmd the solutions. Some clients believe that the counsellor will magically work out solutions for problems that have existed for years. The counsellor should, right from the early stages of counselling, put his client on guard against unreasonable expectations, such as expectations of dramatic cures, total cures, one-sided compromises, etc. From a practical perspective, t is imperative to ascertain what the client believes will occur during counselling.
Some clients believe that the counsellor will put them on a couch and psychoanalyze them. Other clients believe that the counsellor will ask questions about their childhood. Doubts, misconceptions and myths that clients come with should, General goals of counselling are to reduce emotional distress, to reduce dysfunctional behaviour, to promote adaptation, to develop potentials, and to assist in decision-making. After obtaining a general understanding of the client’s problems and expectations, specific goals of therapy need to be set.
The counsellor needs to guide the client in the setting of specific goals because the client is quite likely to be uncertain of what may be expected from counselling. Such goals are best explicitly stated as specific emotional and behavioural changes that are acceptable and desirable to the client and to society. Thus, an ethical element exists in all goal- setting exercises. It is important to break down important goals into their logical sub- components or sub-goals, which, by virtue of such identification, are more easily tackled.
For example, when engaging in marital counselling, goals may be stated as follows: 1) Mrs. A should feel less depressed. 2) Mr. & Mrs. A should improve their understanding and cooperation on the following issues: a) Disciplining of their children; b) Distribution of household responsibilities; c) Sex d) Relationship with the in-laws etc. Stating goals in such a specific manner may generate a long, laundry-like list; however, there is no bar to the number of goals as long as all the goals are specific, clearly defined, reasonable, and attainable.