Characteristics and Behaviors of Effective Counseling
The characteristics that I chose war: the counselor using reflection of feelings to identify the client’s feelings about coming home to an unclean house and the counselor was nurturing and empathetic to the client when they discussed a difficult topic.
The first effective characteristic that I noticed was how the counselors used reflection of feelings to help the client recognize his feelings regarding coming home to a messy house. By using this method, the counselor makes the client more aware of their feelings, and helps build trust from the client to the counselor (Cooper, 2014). A person cannot acknowledge what they are not aware of, and a person cannot heal or learn from events when they have not acknowledged their feelings about the topic. This method is effective because it allows the client to feel heard and understood which can create a bond between the client and counselor. It is crucial to develop that bond at the beginning of the therapeutic relationship, and for the counselor to realize that it is easy to lose.
The second effective characteristic that I noticed in the case study was the counselor was encouraging and nurturing to the client when he struggled with discussing his need to be perfect for his family. I really liked how the counselor praised and acknowledged the client’s effort that they made in discussing a difficult topic. Levitt (2001) states, “At the heart of counseling is listening, the experience of being heard and accepted that enables growth and change (p.101). Encouraging the client lets them know that they are being heard, and it lets them know that the counselor supports their efforts. It is effective because it helps build up the client instead of discouraging them. In this instance, the positive feedback encouraged the client to dig deeper into the topic. If the counselor had said something negative, then it might have caused the client to display resistance, and might leave a permanent negative impression about counseling.
The two ineffective characteristics that I chose were: The counselor forgot to go over informed consent with the client until the end of the session and barely covered it with the client, and was too judgmental towards client at times during the session which made it awkward and caused the client to clam up or be defensive.
The first characteristic that I thought was ineffective was: forgetting to adequately discuss informed consent with the client, and the counselor barely covered it at the end of the session. Informed consent discusses various things such as confidentiality, payment for services, duty to warn, etc… (Sheperis & Ellis, 2014). This method was ineffective because the counselor did not have enough time to properly go over informed consent, and make sure the client understands their rights and their responsibility in the counseling relationship. By rushing through the informed consent process, it also makes the counselor appear to be incompetent and unprofessional.
The second ineffective characteristic that I noticed was: The counselor asking the client if he threatened his wife because it sounds too judgmental and could put the client in a defensive position. It would have been better if the counselor used active listening skills by trying to grasp the hidden meaning of what the client is really saying (Levitt, 2001). I would have asked the client an open question such as: How do you feel when your wife expresses her concern that she feels intimidated? Another possible question could be: Could your actions come across as intimidating to your wife even though that may not be your intent?
Impact of Counselor’s Characteristics on the Session
The counselor forgetting to adequately go over the informed consent process could lead to miscommunication and cause the client to not trust the counselor. If the client does not feel like they can trust the counselor, then that does not make for a good therapeutic relationship. However, when the counselor reflected the client’s feelings earlier in the session, it helped build trust between them, and made it easier for the client to open up. The counselor gained trust by using the effective behaviors, but the negative behaviors might have negated that trust.
In conclusion, this week I got to analyze effective and ineffective behaviors in a case study. I also had the opportunity to consider how the characteristics could have influenced the therapy session.
Cooper, J. B. (2014). Counseling microskills. In B. T. Erford (Ed.), Orientation to the counseling profession: Advocacy, ethics, and essential professional foundations (2nd Ed.).(pp. 194–214). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Levitt, D. H. (2001). Active listening and counselor self-efficacy: Emphasis on one microskill in beginning counselor training. Clinical Supervisor, 20(2), 101–115.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
Sheperis, D. S., & Ellis, C. M. (2014). The counseling process. In B. T. Erford (Ed.), Orientation to the counseling profession: Advocacy, ethics, and essential professional foundations (2nd Ed).(pp. 160–193). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education