Advance Counseling Skills

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Counseling is a profession that frequently comprises assisting clients in coping with their problems. A counselor's key function is to provide expert advice to a client on how to deal with the challenges and stressors that he or she may be experiencing. As a result, a counselor must be empathic and have exceptional listening skills in order to comprehend the challenges that the client is dealing with (Frost, 2011). One of the therapist's key goals is to make the client feel at ease during the counseling session. Once the client is relaxed and confident, he or she can open up on the personal issues that he or she may be facing. Assisting the client to find closure in the set of circumstances that he or she is in is one other goal that the therapist has to seek in the interactive process that involved during the therapy sessions (Orlans & Van Scoyoc, 2008). The introduction bit of the therapy session is often critical in building a rapport with the client. During the introduction process, a counselor has to provide his or her full names, the purpose of the session and the objectives that the meeting intends to achieve (Hanley & Reynolds, 2009). Affirming of confidentiality to the client is critical in enabling the client to open with the confidence that what he or she shares cannot be accessed by a third party. This paper is an analysis of a therapy session between a counselor (John) and a client (Stacy). The paper details the summary of the session, self-assessment on the ability to build rapport, determination of the micro-skills that could be needed.

Summary of the session

Stacy is a client who is middle-aged and working at a job that she does not seem to like. Based on her account, she tends to push people away and also feels that she is not worth keeping family members close. Based on her statement in the interview, she prefers to stay alone and have time with self often. Within the context of an advanced counseling session, there exists a set of quality environmental procedure required by client and counselor to deliver the solutions. Such environment, devoid of freedom to express become insufficient to conduct any counseling practice intended for success. In this session, our client Stacy apparently comes into contact for the first time with a counselor and as such probably lacks acquaintance with some norms that guide these skills. A client as a primary requisite needs a precise definition and understanding of her environment to set free for expression and manifest her honest opinion. She seems somewhat tense and timid on the go than expected of her. By outlining some of the roles of the counselor and undoing the stereotype that a counselor knows it all, Stacy is made to understand that meeting standard solution is a collective responsibility. Both client and the counselor solve by mutual contributions that regard in a profound sense the opinion of both. This in order creates the right attitude for listening and speaking that otherwise may distort the outcome of the counseling session. The counselor, more professional than the client has the overall modulatory role to outline and identify the plan and ensure that procedure followed is set to achieve timeline and feedback goal throughout the session (Gazzola, De Stefano, Audet & Theriault, 2011).

Self-assessment on ability to build rapport

The client is a lady who is shy and speaks slow. She is profoundly introverted and does not open up quickly. Based on the interview, the rapport that I built was excellent owing to the ability to make the client open up on some of her issues.

Identification of crucial micro skills used

First, the use of attending behavior in enabling the client to open up on the issues that they could be facing has been critical to the success of the therapy (Muran & Barber, 2011). In the interview, the interviewer and the interviewee are seated in a coach with the client having an upright posture and maintaining a direct eye contact with the client. Such enables the client to build confidence and open up during the therapeutic sessions (Blair, 2010). When the client is talking, the interviewer lurches forward to indicate an interest in what the client is saying. Such has been crucial in affirming the client that indeed the counselor has excellent listening skills. The therapy is interactive, and the interviewer has made it be a conversation. Such reduces the tension that is on the client (Milton, 2010). The therapist also takes the client through a range of values that determine the rating of personality measure in her own perspective. Stacy is given a value range of one-ten units of confidence in herself. This is useful in assessing individual opinion of personality.

The second micro skill that is evident in the conversation is listening. The counselor offers an audience to the client and enables the client to describe the circumstances that she is facing. In the interview, the client provides the detailed experience of the bad experience that she has at her workplace and the need reason why she feels like having people away from her often. Additionally, the counselor exudes good listening skills when the client begins to detail what she needs to do to deal with the situation that she is facing (Shein & Chen, 2011). The client establishes that she wants to advance her education and find a better job that would be less stressful.

Third, the counselor has a show of empathy by recognizing the emotions that the client tends to have without necessarily being affected by the feelings of the client. Reading through the feelings of the client is evident in the manner in which the therapist adjusts his tone but does not show off the emotions. There is no scene in the therapy session where the face of the therapist turns red, an indication that he is not affected by the feelings that are brought out by the client.

The therapist also uses summarizing as a way of getting into the client and enabling her to proceed to the next topic. For example, when the therapist inquired from the client the goals that they need to focus on to address the issues that the client is going through, the client gives an account of advancing her education. The therapist proceeds to summarize the main point which enables the client to continue the conversation.

Finally, the therapist has excellent communication skills that enable him to have an interactive communication with the client. The communication process is not in the format of question and answer. The therapist has the skill of using both the open-ended and close-ended questions when probing the client while still enabling the client to talk more throughout the counseling session. Excellent communication is often evidenced by a mixture of listing and attending skills and also using probes and empathy in the process of communicating with the client. Excellent communication skills in the interview have enabled the therapist to be out the problems that the interviewee is facing.

Reference to literature

According to the psychodynamic theory, the personal factors and previous experiences that an individual has gone through tend to play a significant role in the psychological state that he or she finds herself in (Moskalenko & McCauley, 2011). Therefore, in the assessment of the issues that a client could be facing, there is need to make reference to the personal history and the interactions that the individual has had previously in enabling the client to identify what could be the lead cause of the stressful situation that he finds himself going through (Kumary & Baker, 2008). Often, during the counseling session, a client may fail to know the issue that could be leading to his or her psychological state and may tend to bank on the therapist as the only professional who would enable him or her to find the exact cause of the state of depression.

In psychology, depression is recognized as a mood disorder that is exacerbated by the previous experiences of the client (Davis, Corrin-Pendry & Savill, 2008). Therefore, the cognitive behavioral therapy is a practical framework that ought to guide a counselor when deciding on the treatment plan and set of goals to manage the situation of the client. Some of the symptoms of depression as analyzed by the DSM-IV, under the cognitive behavioral therapy that is also evident in the psychological state of the client include sadness and experience of low moods (Beaumont, Galpin & Jenkins, 2012). The cognitive behavioral therapy that can also be used in the analysis of the condition of the client further establishes that the negative thoughts that an individual may have against him or herself tends to be a principal cause of the depressive state that he or she finds him or herself in. The theory is crucial for use in the setting of the weekly goals with the client (Collins & Arthur, 2010). Based on the discussion between the client and the therapist, the client affirms that she is ready to attend the weekly therapy session upon which the goals that have been set have to be evaluated. Based on the conversation, the client tends to emphasize the bad experiences that she has at the workplace and does not focus on the positive aspects of the workplace. Therefore, the therapy would be beneficial in the future interactions as they could enable the therapist to request the client to speak of some of the positive experiences that she has been able to realize in the course of working for the company (Brear, Dorrian & Luscri, 2008).

Aaron Beck cognitive theory of depression can further be used in the analysis of the condition of the client based on her account. According to Back, the feelings of hopelessness that a patient tends to experiences are premised on three schemas (Moskalenko & McCauley, 2011). The schemas include the skills that one goes through all lead to depression, there is a feeling of inadequacy in self and the future being hopeless (Bedi, et al, 2011). The three schemas are all evident in Stacy’s case. First, Stacy has the sense of not having the expertise needed to deliver on her duties efficiently, thus, a feeling of inadequacy. Second, Stacy is the feeling that her efforts at her workplace are not well appreciated, therefore, a feeling of failure in the previous experiences. Third, she is of the view that she needs to find a new job, thus, a sense of hopelessness in the current position.

Reflection on learning from this assessment

The assessment has offered a practical experience on how counseling ought to be provided to a client, in this case, a client going through depression. Additionally, having the opportunity to offer to counsel to the client has been useful in enabling me to have an excellent session and setting of the first goal for the next personal therapy session (Strawbridge & Woolfe, 2010; Cutts, 2011). However, there is need to advance some of my skills in interviewing a client. First on how to efficiently use probes when talking to a client. In the interview, the interviewer tends to ask many questions as a way of enabling the client to indulge in the conversation (Hicks & Milton, 2010). Furthermore, when asking the close-ended question, about where the client has to gauge herself in the scale of 1 to ten, there is need to offer a further elaboration on the score that the client has granted herself and the implication of such in a depressive state (Marie Taylor & Neimeyer, 2009). Third, there is need to advance my communication skills. The interviewer has done more talking than the client. However, the interviewer should only lead the discussion with the client opening up more and talking more (Butterfield, Borgen, Magli & Amundson, 2009). Talk therapy is also a tool that can be used to manage the depressive situation of a client.


The conversation that the therapist has with the client builds up through the course of their interaction. First, the client only gives fixed responses, as is evident in the “alright” answers that she gives to the client. However, the therapist sets out to provide confidence to the client by telling the client his name and the objectives of the study. Once the therapist sets out to explain to the client that the discussion between him and the client is confidential, and the straight posture and maintaining of an eye contact, the client builds confidence that enables her to start opening up on the stress factors that tend to lead to the issue. The fundamental skills that have been exuded by the therapist throughout their interaction including excellent communication skills, attending skills, empathy and summarizing. Additionally, the therapist is not affected by the emotions that the client is showing. For example, there are incidences where the face of the client turns when she is discussing the reason why she does not like her job and affirming that her career is the primary source of depression that she is facing. Through the set objective and procedural outfit of the therapy session conducted and observed by therapist, the goal is considered achieved as function of different roles played out in the skills and modules entrenched. Having met all qualifications of the appropriate advanced counselling skills by the client and therapist, including correct probe and response environment as most critical, the personality confidence is reassessed to determine what outcome is observable. In all precision, the client is considered to record positive feedback to the test of moral upscale when the therapist finds out that character sets yield profound improvement in personality.


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April 26, 2023

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