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Counseling is a client-oriented practice that aims at solving patients’ problems or helping them live positively with the problems. For a beginner in this profession, several concerns may surface before a counselor gets the flow of things.
While taking part in a self-inventory about the concerns of novices in counseling, I found it difficult to respond to some of the questions. This paper looks at some of these concerns and how they can be handled.
My first difficulty is on involuntary clients. It is hard dealing with unmotivated clients and conducting therapy if they do not cooperate.
Some clients come to therapy uncertain of what to say and can take a long time to choose words that precisely describe the way they feel or the predicament they face. Such hesitant behavior puts the counselor in an awkward situation not knowing how to proceed.
To handle such a situation, the counselor must be patient with the client. The counselor can sit quietly and simply be present (Corey, 2013).
Some of these involuntary clients have been coerced (by family of legal agencies) to take part in therapy against their will. In most cases, they withdraw physically or emotionally from therapy. An unwilling client who cannot pull out from counseling (physically) can retreat emotionally.
Such a client lacks motivation to agree to suggestions made by the counselor. Imposing a counselor’s ideals upon the client is a sign of judgment and is disrespectful.
Over-Identifying with Certain Clients
My second concern is over-identifying with some of the clients’ problems. Empathy is a valuable characteristic of good counseling, which makes it possible for the counselor to understand the predicaments, experiences, beliefs, and feelings of the client (Corey, 2013).
Connecting with the client positively persuades the client to open up. Most counselors often use their personal experiences to express empathy and understanding towards the client.
However, getting involved emotionally in clients’ lives blurs counselors’ professionalism and hinders their ability to work objectively.
Working with clients may offer many personal challenges. However, it presents a good opportunity for the counselors to gauge their own strengths and weaknesses as they connect to other people.
It is common for counselors to experience a feeling of familiarity as they relate to the patient. Nevertheless, counselors must stay emotionally removed from clients all the time.
Giving Too Much Advice
Though much talking can be useful in later counseling sessions, the client should be allowed to do most of the talking in the initial sessions (Corey, 2013).
The counselor’s goal is to comprehend, listen and empathize with the client so as to create a cooperative and trusting bond that is suitable for therapy. Counselors ought to refrain from diagnosing the patient.
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The counselor should not translate the events of the client’s life and of those around the client. If the client is not prepared for this, it may make him feel that the session is about confronting him with issues he is not prepared to face.
Too much advice can be a demonstration of disrespect where the counselor seems to show that he has more knowledge than the client (Corey, 2013). Another problem is extending too much advice based on very little information.
While giving too little or withholding advice is improper, giving too much advice gives the picture of a counselor who is trying to impress the client rather than helping him.
At the beginning of every practice, all professionals have their concerns about what to expect. These fears stem from a need for perfection in one’s practice and the drive to offer the best service to one’s clients.
These concerns can be ironed out through practice and by consulting supervisors. What is essential in the end is the clients’ recovery.
Corey, G. (2013). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.