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Counseling can be defined as a course in which a therapist assists an individual or a group of people to understand the causes of their problems and give guidelines through the process of making positive decisions in life. During a counseling process, the role of the counselor is to guide the client through the process of making positive decisions, but not to dictate to the client what to do. Counseling is a profession and therefore, the counselor should be able to apply basic micro-skills in counseling psychology. These skills may include eye contact, proxemics, and disclosure among others (Knapp, 2007).
Proxemics. Definition. Reconciliation in Practice
Proxemics is the study of the distance and space between two interacting partners. Edward Hall outlined several types of space or distance which shows the way human beings interact. These include; intimate distance, personal distance, social distance, and public distance among others. On the other hand, disclosure is a commonly used skill in counseling psychology. Being the process of voluntarily revealing or unveiling some information that was initially hidden, disclosure involves asking open questions which could trigger the client to give more information in depth, openly, and voluntarily. Further, Psychologists argue that eye contact is the most powerful nonverbal channel of communication. The therapist can judge the magnitude of self-confidence by just looking directly into the clients’ eyes (Corey, 2008).
The above-stated micro-skills can effectively be used by a therapist in both family and couple counseling sessions. The counselor may decide to incorporate both or one at a time depending on the problem of the client. Several issues in a family may require a counselor’s intervention or otherwise, the family would break up. These issues may include; the instant cutoff of the family’s income, irresponsibility of one of the family members, drug abuse among others. In a couple of setups, problems that frequently arise may include; unfaithfulness, stress, incompatibility among others (Corey, 2008).
Proxemics is a counseling skill that may work well when a therapist is counseling a couple affected by a feeling of mistrust among the partners involved. In this case, the above-stated problem may arise as a result of the way the partners spend their time daily. More specifically, one partner moves out for work conferences and reports home late most of the days in a week. The other partner may think that his or her lover might be moving out with others instead; thus a feeling of mistrust might build up. In such a case, the therapist would find a way of shortening the distance between the two partners. This would be achieved by introducing the couple to things like sports which would make them spend most of their free time together. This would rebuild their trust again because the distance between them would be shorter most of the time (Knapp, 2007).
In a family setup, proxemics would also be applicable in solving a problem like drunkard-ness among the family members. One may turn to it as a way of consolation when he thinks that he or she is being ignored by other family members. In this case, the therapist may decide to show this family the need to move out together, share things like parties and birthdays. As a result, there would be rebuilding and bonding between the members of the family (Hammond, 2002).
Eye contact as a skill in counseling psychology can be applied by a therapist dealing with family issues like the lack of confidence of the children in their parents. The therapist would hold a group counseling of the family members to rebuild the confidence again. He would then use eye contact to judge whether the confidence is rebuilding up or not. Eye contact shows personal involvement and creates intimate bonds. It has also been revealed that eye contact skills can also be applied when dealing with the problem of unfaithfulness in a couple. When the counselor is holding counseling sessions for the two partners, he or she would look directly into the eyes of the clients and get the message of whether the trust is coming up again or not (Corey, 2008).
As noted earlier, disclosure in counseling psychology is the process of unveiling or revealing some information that was initially hidden. A therapist counseling a family with the problem of an immediate cutoff of their income would find the skill more applicable. He or she would engage them in open questions and discussions and eventually, the members would bring up suggestions which, if implemented would earn something for the family again. disclosure may also be applied when counseling a couple with a stress-related problem like drunkards. the therapist would bring up discussions that would reveal the causes of their stress. Afterward, the therapist would take up the initiative of guiding them on ways of avoiding stress (Barbara & Theodore, 2009).
Counseling, as noted earlier, is a profession, and therefore, the counselor has to be well informed of the tools which have to be used to perfect his or her work. These are the micro-skills and must be well applied to bring out their effectiveness. The skills can either be used together or one at a time depending on the situation. I would also wish to stress the role of a counselor which is not dictating the client but just giving guidelines on how to avoid the circumstances leading to the problem.
Barbara, H. & Theodore, R. (2009). Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Counseling. Washington, DC: Prentice Hall Publishers.
Corey, G. (2008). Case Approach to Counseling and Psychotherapy. New Jersey: Brooks Cole Publishers.
Hammond, D. (2002). Improving Therapeutic Communication: a Guide for Developing Effective Techniques. New York: Words-Worth Publishers.
Knapp, H. (2007). Therapeutic Communication: Developing Professional Skills. New York: Sage Publications, Inc.