Q6 Discuss how effective the use of core counselling skills have been in developing the helping relationship. (3.2)
I found using the core counselling to be extremely effective. I believe I:
provided the core conditions (empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard);
provided the processes for checking and demonstrating understanding (reflection, paraphrasing, reviewing progress);
managed interactions (space to think, allowing silence, open and closed questions);
and used immediacy, non-verbal communication (e.g. eye contact, body language, mirroring), minimal encouragers (e.g. listening sounds mm and yeah, head nodding) as appropriate.
Q7 Describe useful strategies for ending relationships. (4.1)
A helping relationship will develop through different stages towards achieving its objectives. It can be difficult for the client to move away from the relative protection of this type of relationship, as compared to other types of relationship they may have which feel less helpful or safe. It can therefore be easier for those involved if the ending is managed gradually rather than suddenly. It is also helpful if the impending end of the relationship is openly discussed beforehand so that any feelings about it can be shared.
In a formal counselling relationship, the boundary setting at the outset of the relationship could have covered agreement to how many sessions would be required. Sometimes the boundary can include an option to continue, again for a finite period of time, if counsellor and client agree. In either case, the ending will come and is best managed on the basis of no surprises and with all expectations and concerns about it managed in advance.
In other types of helping relationship, like that between parent and child concerning a specific issue, it might help to draw the line upon how much time will be spent discussing that particular issue, so that both can move on.
Other useful strategies to end the helping relationship are:
1. to summarise and agree the progress made and how far the objectives have been met
2. encourage a two-way feedback about the relationship, the effect it has had on the client and the counsellor and what has been learned
3. explore other means of future support for the client which could include further counselling or other kinds of support at a future date with current or different counsellors, therapists or medical practitioners.
4. accept that, sometimes, it may be the client who wishes the relationship to end for any kind of reason, and this should be accepted and supported by the counsellor
A useful strategy in ending a helping relationships to set out from the beginning how many sessions are likely to be needed and the frequency of the sessions so the client’s expectations of the helping relationship and its ending are managed from the beginning. Moreover, that they are aware of what the ending looks like for example informing them that a pre review and an evaluation will take place and what it is likely to cover.
A useful strategy for ending a helping relationship is to conduct a review a couple of weeks prior to the anticipated end of the helping relationship. This will signal to the client the end is due and give them time to adjust. It will also serve to determine if an extended period is required. The re-negotiation of extended sessions should have been addressed at the setting of boundaries stage and followed as set out.
Another useful strategy following on from the pre review is a final summarization or evaluation. This will cover the journey so far, their achievements, insight, growth and if appropriate discuss any referrals to other counsellors’ therapists or medical practitioners.
A further strategy could be for the counsellor to discuss with the client what support the client has outside the sessions and how they will cope going forwards and if follow-up sessions might be necessary at a later date.