In this paper it is necessary to consider the essence of psychological counseling, basic elements and characteristics. It is necessary to define the psychological counseling, and to study some theoretical aspects.
The paper includes overview of some theoretical approaches, highlighting their basic ideas, terms and techniques. Two techniques are considered in more detail and explain how they can be used in the practice of counseling.
My Thoughts on Counseling
The concept of counseling and its basic elements
Psychological counseling as a profession is a relatively new area of psychological practice, which has evolved from psychotherapy. This profession has arisen in response to the need for psychological help of people without clinical disorders. Therefore, in psychological counseling we deal primarily with people experiencing difficulties in daily life, and the range of problems is rather wide: difficulties at work (dissatisfaction with work, conflicts with colleagues and managers, the possibility of dismissal), personal life and troubles in the family, poor school performance, lack of self-confidence and self-tormenting, variations in decision-making, difficulties in making and maintaining interpersonal relationships, etc. On the other hand, psychological counseling, as a young area of psychological practice, has no yet well-defined limits, so its field of view and practice include a variety of problems.
Consulting can be described as a professional attitude and of a qualified consultant to the client, which is usually presented as a “person-to-person”¯ communication, although sometimes it involves more than two people. The purpose of counseling is to help clients understand what is happening in their life, and to reach a goal based on informed choice; or to resolve the problems of emotional and interpersonal nature. That is, the core of counseling is “advisory interaction”¯ between the client and consultant, based on mutual understanding.
There are many similar definitions of the counseling, and they include several key provisions:
– Counseling helps a person to make choices and decisions, and to act according to his own discretion;
– Counseling helps to learn new behavior;
– Consulting promotes personal development;
– Consulting emphasizes the responsibility of the customer, that is, it is recognized that an independent, responsible individual in appropriate circumstances should make own decisions, and the consultant creates only conditions that encourage the voluntary behavior of the client. (Bramer et al., 1992)
Definition of goals of counseling is not simple, because it depends on the needs of clients seeking psychological help, and theoretical orientation of the consultant.
According to Blocher (1966), the consultant should always seek to maximize the freedom of the client (taking into account natural social constraints), as well as to develop the client’s ability to control the environment and his own reactions to it.
Objectives of the consultant and the client eventually meet, although each consultant has his system of common objectives, consistent with his theoretical orientation, and each client has his own individual goals, which led him to a specialist. Very often, the formulation and reformulation of goals occur in the process of consultation, in collaboration of consultant with the client. Realization of the goals of consultant depends on the needs and expectations of the client. In order to successfully combine their common goals and specific objectives, it is necessary at first to ask the client such questions: “What do you expect from our dialogue?”¯, “What are your wishes?”¯ etc. (George et al., 1990)
The effectiveness of the specialist is largely due to his clear vision of his place in counseling. When there is no such clarity, a consultant in his work will be guided not by certain theoretical principles, but only the expectations and needs of the client, in other words, will do only what the hopes and what the client wants. Clients also often expected that the consultant will be responsible for the success of their future lives and solving pressing problems. The most common answer on the role of consultant lies in understanding the nature of the counseling process. The main task of the consultant is to help the client understand what he wants to be. Clients during counseling to be truly evaluate their behavior, lifestyle and decide how and in what direction they would like to change their quality of life. (Schneider, 1992)