Personal Approach to Counseling (Final Project) Assignment
Personal Approach to Counseling (Final Project)
The assignment is designed to help you integrate the theories of counseling you have learned to develop a personal approach to counseling. This paper must be written in APA format, typewritten, proofread, and is expected to show evidence of clear thought and application of theory. This paper will be a minimum of 15-pages in length (not including the references page/s or cover page). Suggested page ranges to help guide you are listed for each section of the paper.
In this paper, you will describe your personal approach to counseling and then apply your approach to a specific case.
Is there a template? In week one you were provided a template to help you organize your writing for the week 1-4 assignments. You may have noticed that in addition to formatting the template in APA, we used the assignment instructions to create heading to organize the paper. Next, we copy and pasted the questions that needed to be addressed under each section with screen clips of the rubric. We also suggested that you use transition sentences to begin each paragraph that included some of the same words used in the question that you were addressing in a paragraph. Last, we suggested that after you complete a section, that you should review your work against the rubric to ensure you addressed all requirements. For the final project, we would like to see you generalize those same strategies to create your own template to organize your writing for the final project. For example, the below prompts are organized into two major sections with 9 subsections, how might you organize your paper using level one and two headings? The above strategy is a sure-fire way to clearly organize your writing and make sure you do not ever forget to address a question or rubric point. Personal Approach to Counseling (Final Project) Assignment
Personal Approach to Counseling
In this section, you will describe your personal approach to counseling. Please address the following:
- Philosophy of Human Nature: Discuss your personal philosophy of human nature (e.g., are humans innately good or bad, what motivates us, what is the cause of stress and suffering, how does change occur, how do we grow, how does wellness occur, how do we function?). Address at least 5 areas of human nature. –suggested 1-2 page in length.
- Counselor Role: Discuss what you believe your role to be as a counselor in the following ways:
Discuss the counselor role in terms of qualities important for building a therapeutic relationship (being non-judgmental, demonstrating empathy, unconditional positive regard…etc.). Discuss what role you feel a counselor should play in helping clients/students make changes, work toward goals, and overcoming obstacles. Additionally, address roles that are specific to your preferred future work setting (e.g., clinical counselors and school counselors will certainly share some roles; but, there are other roles unique to each position). –suggested 1-2 page in length.
- Theoretical Approach: Select at least three theories of counseling (that you learned in weeks 1-4) that you could see yourself drawing from in your preferred, future, counseling setting. Remember to identify your preferred setting (in-home, outpatient, population, elementary/middle school/high school, etc.). Discuss at least three central concepts of each approach and explain how they fit with your philosophy of human nature and role as a counselor. –suggested 4-5 pages in length.
- Critical Evaluation of Approach: Describe the strengths and limitations of your personal approach to counseling. Also address strengths and limitations for working with a culturally diverse population. -suggested 1-3 pages in length.
After reviewing the below case, use your personal approach to counseling to address the prompts listed below.
Background: Jasmine is an 18-year-old high school senior that comes from a very close family, and in general, she feels that she can typically go to her parents for help when she has a problem. However, this time is different and she feel that she cannot turn to them for help with her with her current problem. Jasmine and her boyfriend have been sexually active for the past year without using birth-control. She was sure that she would not get pregnant. However, she recently learned that she was pregnant. Jasmine informed her 15-year-old boyfriend (high school sophomore), and expected him to make the commitment to marry her. He did not agree, in fact, he even doubted whether he was the father. Jasmine felt deeply hurt and angry over her boyfriend’s reaction and sought out some friends for advice. On the advice of a girlfriend, she considered an abortion for a time. But she decided against it because she felt she could not deal with the guilt of terminating a life. Adoption was brought up as another option by a friend, but she was certain she could not live knowing that she had created a life and then “abandoned” the child. Last, Jasmine considered becoming a single parent. However, doing so would certainly prevent her from traveling out-of-state to attend college. Her pregnancy is moving into the end of her first trimester, and her panic is mounting.
For school counseling students, image that this student came to your office one day with the above concerns.
For clinical mental health counseling students image you are working at a non-profit community clinic and this high school student set up an appointment.
- Values: What are your values as they pertain to Jasmine’s case, and how do you think they will affect the way in which you counsel her, if at all? Explain. -suggested 1-2 pages in length.
- Presenting Concern/s: What do you see as Jasmine’s presenting concerns/basic conflicts (identify and discuss at least two)? How would you summarize the nature of her struggle through the lens of your personal approach to counseling? Based upon the concerns you identified, discuss which you would address first and why based upon your personal approach to counseling. -suggested 1-2 pages in length.
- Strategies and/or Techniques: Drawing upon your personal approach to counseling, what strategies and/or techniques might you utilize when working with Jasmine and why (i.e., connect the strategy/techniques to theory)? Provide three examples. -suggested 1-2 pages in length.
- Critical Evaluation of Approach: What limitations did you notice when applying your personal approach to counseling to Jasmine’s case. What where some of the strengths you noticed when applying your personal approach to counseling to Jasmine’s case. -suggested 1 pages in length.
- Professional Compliance: With consideration of your work setting (school vs. clinical), discuss any legal, ethical, or professional responsibilities you might have as a counselor.-suggested 1-2 pages in length.
TIP: Review the rubric while writing each section of your paper. The rubric contains specific information regarding how your responses to the above prompts will be evaluated and scored.
Rubric for Final Project
(A to High A)
(B to Low A)
(C to Low B)
(Less than a C)
|Philosophy of Human Nature: 30 points
Discuss your personal philosophy of human nature (e.g., are humans innately good or bad, what motivates us, what is the cause of stress and suffering, how does change occur, how do we grow, how do we function?)
At least 5 areas of human nature were presented with clear descriptions.
At least 5 areas of human nature were presented with general descriptions.
5 areas of human nature or less were presented, with unclear descriptions in some areas.
5 areas of human nature or less were presented, with unclear and incomplete descriptions.
|Counselor Role: 20 points
Discuss the counselor role in terms of qualities important for building a therapeutic relationship. Discuss roles you feel a counselor should play in helping clients/ students make changes, work toward goals, and overcoming obstacles. Discuss roles specific to your preferred future work setting.
Response demonstrated clear and concisely represented ideas. Each prompt was thoroughly addressed.
Ideas were generally represented. Responses to each prompt were adequate.
Not all prompts were responded to and/or ideas lacked thoroughness and clarity in some areas.
Not all prompts were responded to and/or ideas contained unclear and incomplete descriptions.
|Theoretical Approach: 70 points
Select at least three theories of counseling that you could see yourself drawing from in your preferred, future, counseling setting. Remember to identify your preferred setting (in-home, outpatient, population, elementary/middle school/high school…etc.). Discuss at least three central concepts of each approach and explain how they fit with your philosophy of human nature and role as a counselor.
Three theories were identified. A strong understanding of at least three central concepts of each approach was evident. Key concepts were clearly selected with consideration of the student’s philosophy of human nature and role as a counselor.
Three theories were identified. An adequate understanding of at least three central concepts of each approach was evident. Key concepts were selected with consideration of the student’s philosophy of human nature and role as a counselor.
Three theories or less were identified. An underdeveloped understanding of three central concepts or less was presented. Key concepts were not clearly selected with consideration of the student’s philosophy of human nature and role as a counselor.
Three theories or less were identified. A weak understanding of three central concepts or less was presented. Key concepts were not selected with consideration of the student’s philosophy of human nature and role as a counselor.
|Critical Evaluation of Approach: 30 points
Describe the strengths and limitations of your personal approach to counseling. Remember to also address strengths and limitations for working with a culturally diverse population.
Limitations and strengths were clearly explained with thorough consideration of working with a culturally diverse population.
Limitations and strengths were explained, with some consideration of working with a culturally diverse population.
Limitations and strengths were identified, but the explanations were unclear in some areas.
Limitations and strengths were unable to be determined or were unclear throughout the section.
|Values: 20 points
What are your values as they pertain to Jasmine’s case, and how do you think they will affect the way in which you counsel her, if at all?
Personal values and their influence, or lack thereof, on the case were clearly explained in detail.
Personal values and their influence, or lack thereof, on the case were adequately explained.
Personal values and their influence, or lack thereof, on the case were not clearly explained.
Personal values and their influence, or lack thereof, on the case were either not explained or unable to be determined.
|Presenting Concern/s: 20 points
What do you see as Jasmine’s presenting concerns/basic conflicts? How would you summarize the nature of her struggle through the lens of your personal approach to counseling? Based upon the concerns you identified, discuss which you would address first and why based upon your personal approach to counseling.
Identified and discussed at least two presenting concerns. Responses to prompts demonstrated clear, thorough, and concisely represented ideas.
Identified and discussed at least two presenting concerns. Responses to prompts were not fully explained, but ideas were still clearly represented.
Identified and discussed two presenting concerns or less. Responses to prompts lacked thoroughness and clarity.
Identified and discussed two presenting concerns or less. Responses to prompts were either unable to be identified or contained unclear and incomplete descriptions.
|Strategies and Techniques: 20 points
Drawing upon your personal approach to counseling, what strategies and/or techniques might you utilize when working with Jasmine and why? Provide three examples.
Three strategies and/or approaches were clearly described with a well thought out rationale that was strongly connected to theory.
Three strategies and/or approaches were generally described with a rationale that was adequately connected to theory.
Three or less strategies and/or approaches were partially described with a limited rationale for use. Not well connected to theory.
Three or less strategies and/or approaches were described and not connected to theory.
|Evaluation of Approach: 20 points
What limitations did you notice when applying your personal approach to counseling to Jasmine’s case? What where some of the strengths you noticed when applying your personal approach to counseling to Jasmine’s case?
Limitations and strengths were clearly explained, with a strong connection to the case.
Limitations and strengths were explained and adequately connected to the case.
Limitations and strengths were identified, but the explanation and connection to the case was unclear in some areas.
Limitations/strengths could not be identified or were unclear throughout the section. Connection to the case could not be determined.
|Professional Compliance: 20 points
With consideration of your work setting (school vs. clinical), discuss any legal, ethical, or professional responsibilities you might have as a counselor.
The identified potential legal, ethical, and/or professional issues were clearly explained and well connected to the case and counselor work setting.
The identified potential legal, ethical, and/or professional issues were generally explained and adequately connected to the case and counselor work setting.
The description of identified potential legal, ethical, and/or professional issues was unclear in some areas not well connected to the case and counselor work setting.
The description of identified potential legal, ethical, and/or professional issues was unclear throughout the section and a connection to the case and counselor work setting could not be determined.
|Writing Mechanics and APA Format: 20 points
No more than three grammatical, spelling, punctuation, and/or APA errors. Clarity of paper was not influenced by the errors.
More than three grammatical, spelling, punctuation, or APA errors. Clarity of paper was not strongly influenced by the errors.
More than three grammatical, spelling, punctuation, or APA errors that had a negative influence on the clarity of the paper.
More than three grammatical, spelling, punctuation, or APA errors that had a strong negative influence on the clarity of the paper.
|Page Length: 10 points
A minimum of 15 pages were submitted (not including the cover or reference pages).
A minimum of 14 pages were submitted (not including the cover or reference pages).
A minimum of 13 pages were submitted (not including the cover or reference pages).
12 pages or less were submitted (not including the cover or reference pages).
|Sources: 20 points
5 professional sources or more are used throughout the paper as appropriate to support ideas, and documented in the references list. Personal Approach to Counseling (Final Project) Assignment
4 professional sources or more are used throughout the paper to support ideas, and documented in the references list.
3 professional sources or more are used throughout the paper to support ideas, and documented in the references list.
2 professional sources or less are used throughout the paper to support ideas, and documented in the references list.
Since we are in CNDV 5311, you will be learning about counseling theories. In part, theories help to guide how we use our counseling skills. You may have notice that between your assignment and discussion boards, there are a handful of time when you will be create a practice dialogue to demonstrate use of the theory to guide your work with a client or student.
Although you will take the CNDV 5310 Skills class next semester, we would still like to provide you with some BASIC counseling skills so that you can begin the process now of allowing your theoretical approach to guide the use of your skills. Think of the theory as the blue print to design a building and the skills as your building materials.
Non-Helpful Interview Behavior
Gladding (2013) explains that when building a relationship, counselors must know what, and what not, they should do. He explains four major actions that block communication and that should be avoided:
- Advice giving: advice denies a client the right to work through personal thoughts, feelings, and relationships about a subject and curtails the ability to learn decision-making.
- Lecturing: lecturing is actually preaching and is a disguised form of giving advice, setting up a power struggle in the relationship. The example Gladding (2013) gives is, if a sexually active girl is told, “don’t get involved with boys anymore,” she might just do the opposite to assert her independence.
Additionally, counselors are actually lecturing when they say more than three consecutive sentences in a row. Let the client lead.
- Excessive questioning: it is a common mistake by beginning counselors. You should instead provide statements, observations, and encouragers and a “few questions” and only when needed. Avoid asking more than two questions in a row and use open-ended questions as often as possible.
- Storytelling: Your stories might often not benefit a client. Use stories if you are trying to make a metaphoric point, or to help clients think about their own situation. Otherwise, stories only bring attention to the counselor and tend to allow a shift in roles.
Encouragers – Encouragers are a variety of verbal and non-verbal ways of prompting clients to continue talking.
- The skill implemented effectively encourages or discourages a client’s communication with the counselor or therapist. Minimal simply means “few” interruptions or influence. It is knowing exactly “where” to place your comments, so that the client’s thoughts are continuously expressed. It is believed that too few may give the impression of being aloof or disengaged, and too many may create an impatient feel in the session. Common examples are um-hm, hmm, I see, certainly, I get that or I understand, or please clarify.
Types of encouragers include:
- Non-verbal minimal responses such as a nod of the head or positive facial expressions
- Verbal minimal responses such as “Uh-huh” and “I hear what you’re saying”
- Brief invitations to continue such as “Tell me more”
Encouragers simply encourage the client to keep talking. For a counselor to have more influence on the direction of client progress they would need to make use of other techniques.
Questions that clients cannot easily answer with “Yes,”, “No,” or one- or two-word responses
- “What is important to you?”
- How did you feel when that happened?”
- “What did you do when she said that?”
- “What are your reasons for saying that?”
Purposes of Open-Ended Questions:
To begin an interview
To encourage client elaboration
To elicit specific examples
To motivate clients to communicate
Questions that the other can easily answer with a “Yes,” “No,” or one- or two-word responses
“Are you going to have the test done?”
“Did you drink before you got into the car?”
“Do you drink often?”
“Do you exercise?”
“Do you like your job?”
Purposes of Closed-Ended Questions:
To obtain specific information
To identify parameters of a problem or issue
To narrow the topic of discussion
To interrupt an over-talkative client
Closed vs. Open-Ended Question
C: Are you scared?
O: How do you feel?
C: Are you concerned about what you will do if the test results are positive?
O: What do you think you might do if the test results are positive?
C: Is your relationship with your husband a good one?
O: Tell me about your relationship with your husband.
- In short, avoid grilling a client with too many questions
- Use reflections, ask open ended question when appropriate, be cautious of your frequency of questions, use indirect leads
Alternatives to Questions
- Accurate paraphrases of content/message/feeling amongst many other counseling skills. See the attached document to this power point
- Furthering response statement
- Further Response Breadth: Direct leads: general
- “Tell me more about your mother” “Tell me about what lead you to being a counselor?”
- Further Response Depth: Direct lead: More specific request
- “Tell me more about that fight with your mother” “Give me an example of the last time you had a fight of your mother” “ Tell me more about that defining moment that lead you to becoming a counselor”
- Further Response Breadth: Direct leads: general
Restatement of Content
- Mirroring back what you heard a client say in your own words
- This skills is the beginning step toward your client feeling like you understand their statements/situation/problem.
- Careful not to state it as a question (by the inflection in your voice) as requiring a yes/no answer.
- Try not to make it a perception check. Careful not to do too early before you have a large enough chunk of information to paraphrase.
- Uses denotative language- noting specifics rather than using vague descriptors such as “stuff” “things”
- Give the paraphrase while looking at the person, try not to list off bullet items, be genuine, try not to add in or distort anything.
- Reflecting does not involve you asking questions, introducing a new topic or leading the conversation in another direction. Speakers are helped through reflecting as it not only allows them to feel understood, but it also gives them the opportunity to focus their ideas. This in turn helps them to direct their thoughts and further encourages them to continue speaking.
Purposes of Paraphrasing/Restating Content
- To show the speaker that you are trying to perceive the world as they see it and that you are doing your best to understand their messages.
- Help the client by simplifying, focusing and crystallizing what they said
- May encourage the client to elaborate
- Provide a check on the accuracy of your perceptions
- To allow the speaker to ‘hear’ their own thoughts and to focus on what they say and feel.
- Identify the content part of the message
- Use a Stem to begin the restatement: Some lead-in to your paraphrase
- “What your saying is” , “What I am hearing is” , “What your telling me is”
- Translate the key content into your own words
- Tip: When done properly, paraphrasing acts as a cue to the client that you understand what they said, and most often, the client will proceed to elaborate further or even correct you if they feel you didn’t get it completely right. In the occasion which you are corrected, follow up with a brief paraphrase of their corrective statement. “I see, your not necessarily concerned about _______, but more so with__________”
- CL: “I finally figured out that after 10 years, I can’t stay in this relationship with my husband anymore. I have been try know this for some time now, but every time I am ready to tell him I freeze. He is just going to be so upset and so angry.
- CO: “It sounds like you haven’t found the right way to tell your husband you want to end the relationship because of his possible reaction.
It seems like
It appears as though
Sounds like you feel
From my perspective
As I see it
I hear you saying
Something tells you
You’re telling me that
From my standpoint
I sense that
I have the feeling that
I sense that you’re feeling
I see what you mean
It looks like
As I hear it
Looks like you’re
Client Name, you appear
Restatement of Feeling
A skilled listener will be able to reflect a speaker’s feelings from body cues (non-verbal) as well as verbal messages. It is sometimes not appropriate to ask such direct questions as “How does that make you feel?” Strong emotions such as love and hate are easy to identify, whereas feelings such as affection, guilt and confusion are much subtle. The listener must have the ability to identify such feelings both from the words and the non-verbal cues, for example body language, tone of voice, etc.
As well as considering which emotions the speaker is feeling, the listener needs to reflect the degree of intensity of these emotions. For example:
|a little bit
Next, see the attached document for a feelings chart. I found this chart online about when I was a graduate student in my theories class and it helped me as I learned to develop my feelings words vocabulary. It is not perfect, but it is a great starting point. I would encourage you to also add to the chart and keep it for your records.
The feelings chart provides a language for counselors to identify feelings by the type of feelings as well as the intensity of a feelings. For example, if a client has recently lost a loved one and they decide to give you a glimpse into their inner world as they describe their feelings, it is important for the counselor to create a safe space within the session. Part of creating that space can be done by accurately identifying the appropriate type of feelings and intensity of the feeling. For example, there is a difference between saying “you’re feeling heartbroken and alone” vs. “I’m sensing you’re feeling pretty bad right now”. Neither statement is better than the other in and of itself (standing alone). However, within the context of the session, one of these statements may be more appropriate than the other. When thinking about how to put concepts like empathy into practice, part of demonstrating empathy is accurately identifying the type of emotion, intensity of emotion, and utilizing both your verbal (what you’re saying and how you are saying it…vocal tone) and non-verbal (your facial expression and body gestures) cues.
Purposes of Paraphrasing/Restating Content
- To show the speaker that you are trying to perceive the world as they see it and that you are doing your best to understand their feelings.
- RF is a beginning step toward demonstrating empathy
- Help the client by simplifying, focusing and crystallizing what they said
- May encourage the client to elaborate
- To allow the speaker to ‘hear’ their own thoughts and to focus on what they say and feel.
- Identify the content and feelings part of the message
- Use a Stem to begin the restatement: Some lead-in to your paraphrase
- “What your feeling is” , “What your telling me is your feeling…” “ your feeling”
- Identify the feelings type and feeling intensity of feeling
- Tip: When done properly, paraphrasing acts as a cue to the client that you understand what they said, and most often, the client will proceed to elaborate further or even correct you if they feel you didn’t get it completely right. In the occasion which you are corrected, follow up with a brief paraphrase of their corrective statement. “I see, your not necessarily concerned about _______, but more so with__________” Personal Approach to Counseling (Final Project) Assignment
Reflecting needs to combine content and feeling to truly reflect the meaning of what the speaker has said. For example:
- CL: “I just don’t understand my boss. One minute he says one thing and the next minute he says the opposite.”
- CO: “You feel very confused by him?”
- CL: I am still in disbelief that I didn’t get into Harvard, that was my dream, my entire family went to school there, I was supposed to go there too like them.
- CO: You’re feeling heartbroken that you won’t be following in the footsteps of your family
Reflecting meaning allows the listener to reflect the speaker’s experiences and emotional response to those experiences. It links the content and feeling components of what the speaker has said.
- A collection of two or more paraphrases or reflections that condenses the client’s messages or the session
- Covers more material
- Covers a longer period of client’s discussion
Purposes of a Summary
To tie together multiple elements of client messages
To identify a common theme or pattern
To interrupt excessive rambling
To start a session
To end a session
To pace a session
To review progress
To serve as a transition when changing topics
Steps in a Summary
Example- Client, a young girl
At the beginning of the session:
- “I don’t understand why my parents can’t live together anymore. I’m not blaming anybody, but it just feels very confusing to me.” [Said in a low, soft voice with lowered, moist eyes]
Near the middle of the same session:
- “I wish they could keep it together. I guess I feel like they can’t because they fight about me so much. Maybe I’m the reason they don’t want to live together anymore.”
1) Recall key content and affect messages
- wants parents to stay together
- feels sad, upset, responsible
Identify patterns or themes
- She is the one who feels responsible for her parents’ break-up
2) Use an appropriate sentence stem and verbalize the summarization response
e.g., “I sense,” or “You are feeling”
e.g., “Earlier today you indicated you didn’t feel like blaming anyone for what’s happening to your parents. Now I’m sensing that you are feeling like you are responsible for their break-up
4) Assess the effectiveness of your summarization
Practice: A 30-year-old man who has been blaming himself for his wife’s unhappiness: I really feel guilty about marrying her in the first place. It wasn’t really for love. It was just a convenient thing to do. I feel like I’ve messed up her life really badly. I also feel obliged to her. [Said in low, soft voice tone with lowered eyes]
Practice: A 27-year-old woman who has continually focused on her relationships with men and her needs for excitement and stability: First session: I’ve been dating lots and lots of men for the last few years. Most of them have been married. That’s great because there are no demands on me. [Bright eyes, facial animation, high-pitched voice]. Ø Fourth session: It doesn’t feel so good anymore. It’s not so much fun. Now I guess I miss having some commitment and stability in my life. [Soft voice, lowered eyes].
|Open ended questions used to initiate the beginning process of a session or the beginning of the counseling experience (depends on your variation of the statement. Utilized to control the process of therapy and move quickly into working interactions where the client has control over content, style, and sequence.
Careful not to engage in small talk
| “Tell me more” “give me a specific example” “tell me some things about you” “give me some background on you” “what brings you to counseling” “ where are you at now” “what’s happening for you today” “Pleases expand on that a little” “I want to make sure I fully understand, could you elaborate “ IF a client asks you to specify your questions, make a statement allowing for the client to still responded openly. “you decide” “whatever is happening with you” OR consider even using a multiple-choice lead “maybe something like your family background, what your doing now, relationships your in…”
Not: “soooo…. Tell me about you”, “what brings you here”, “ can you tell me what’s going on with you”
|Mirroring back what you heard a client say. A statement in your own words of what the client just said. No need to repeat them work for word; the same content said more briefly and precise. (This is the beginning step toward your client feeling like you understand their statements/situation/problem) Careful not to state it as a question (by the inflection in your voice) as requiring a yes/no answer. Try not to make it a perception check. Careful not to do too early before you have a large enough chunk of information to paraphrase.
Uses denotative language- noting specifics
Give the paraphrase while looking at the person, try not to list off bullet items, be genuine, try not to add in or distort anything.
|Some lead-in to your paraphrase “What yoursaying is” “What I am hearing is” “What your telling me is” “To make sure I understand…” “followed with the paraphrase” . See Gerber for Full Examples.
Tip: When done properly, paraphrasing acts as a cue to the client that you understand what they said, and most often, the client will proceed to elaborate further or even correct you if they feel you didn’t get it completely right. In the occasion which you are corrected, follow up with a brief paraphrase of their corrective statement. “I see, your not necessarily concerned about _______, but more so with__________”
Careful not to add inflection at the end that makes it a question
Avoid: “you’ve got a lotta stuff going on” too connotative
|Structure of Content
|Is essential a paraphrase of content in which you give it back to the client in an organized manor.
SC is the process of separating sometimes scattered client productions in the various focuses of time, degree of generality, others, and self.
Topic- Starting with the major idea in the clients descriptions.
Chronological- Arranged a clients scattered content chronologically
Parallel- When there are two sides of a coin, polarities. You arrange the content based upon these polarities.
|Counselor: you job is to organize this content in a way conducive to it being processed with the client
Example Topic: “You have many stressors in your life right now: A,B and C.”
Example Chronological: “Alright, you woke up this morning, and this happened then this, and then that.”
Example Parallel: “Part of you misses your old job, but the other part likes the pay of the new job.”
|Utilizing vague key words and phrases to go to a deeper level in the funnel. The counselor can simply pick out the phrase and repeat it back.
Client-“ I might tell john that I want to break up tonight”
Qualifiers- but, sort of, used to, a little, maybe, pretty much, sometimes, might, not really.
Generalizes– it, they, people, that stuff
Hiders- (in others- we, you, people do, everybody);(in time- I was, Isused to, someday, I will);(in blaming- because of him, if it hadn’t of been, it wasn’t my fault, I would be ok if)
Traps– I have to, I don’t want to, I should, I ought to, I must, I’ll try
Emphasis– I insist, He’d better, or else
Careful not to miss opportunities for using it; however, also be careful not to use it repeatedly. Careful not to add inflection at the end that makes it a question
|Further Response Breadth
|Direct leads: general
|“Tell me more about your mother” “Tell me about what lead you to being a counselor?”
|Further Response Depth
|Direct lead: More specific request, often.
|“Tell me more about that fight with your mother” “ Give me an example of the last time you had a fight of your mother” “ Tell me about that defining moment that lead you to becoming a counselor”
|Summary of Content
|A review of material discussed in the session. This will help you and the client organize some of the content discussed. Provides verification of content, allows both parties to look for patterns and themes. Used to slow or pick up pace of information.
|“Lets see, so far we have discussed…….” “ Lets see now, you’ve talked about three main areas……” “Up to this point, regarding your relationship with you husband, we have discussed….” See Gerber for full examples
TIP: can do this when you get stuck
|Reflection of Feelings
|The paraphrase of an emotional message, Being able to mirror client after by describing feelings in denotative terms… aka labeling feelings. These can also be made based on non-verbal cues you observe. Pull together multichannel communications, take a stab at a feeling.
|Make sure it is the present tense-“ Your angry as you sit here…..” ” your discouraged at your inability to communicate as a couple”
|Are a part of the context of a message transition and serve to partially alter the intensity and meaning of a message. You are to pick up on non-verbal cue and utilize them to help clarify the message of the client
|Client is smiling while talking about how she has a 20 page paper to write before tomorrow
Counselor “I noticed that you were smile while you explained how much work you have to complete before tomorrow”
Client- client is clenching first and teeth while talking about his mother
Counselor “ You are saying you are not angry at your mother, while also clenching your teeth and fists.”
|You are now paraphrasing the meaning of what the client is saying based upon the message their statement is sending. You are clarifying this message and stating it back to them. The Point of the story.
|Can be preceded by” what I am hearing is” “what you really mean to say is” “ What I understand your predicament to be is”“ You want very much you be successful, but can’t bring yourself to try for fear of failure” “WHile it is hard to admit out loud, you really dislike your mother an are angry at her.
Although the same statements as PC can be used it is different in that you are paraphrasing the message vs. the only verbal content of a client statement as in PC.
Careful not to just paraphrase the content and not the message
|The missing piece of the pie. Something that is relayed to you without necessarily being directly said. Relating a circumstance, condition, or happening, it is natural for the teller to leave out considerable amounts of data. Your task is to understand the circumstance, condition, or happenings… aka the situation that is being incompletely described by the client. One way to validate your understanding is to describe some of the missing parts to the client narrative. The missing piece of the pie. Something you see present in the context but the other person doesn’t.
|Put yourself in their situation, look around, so you may further build a framework to make general, tentative inferences. One strategy is to use incomplete leads. “You described all the reasons why your husband gets on your nerves,
|Summary of Message
|What are the points the client wants you to understand. Can pull messages from multiple sessions even. It is a reflection of themes that exist in your clients discussions with you. Messages from all channels are structure one by one. Throughout a session you will receive many messages. This is simply summarizing these messages, or areas of concern for your client.
|“you have describes three major concerns that work against each other, A….B….C. This differs from summary of content SC, in that you are not necessarily summarizing the points discussed, but more so the themes or messages.
|A moment of quite. A subtle pressure for the client to talk. It may permit time for the client to think, recall events, feelings, and develop awareness.
|Client- “ I want to talk to her that I don’t want children, but I am not sure how she will react”
Client- “It is import that she knows now, otherwise it will be more difficult to discuss later”
|That you can match the clients behavior, both verbally and non-verbally. You are in essence mirroring the client.
|Matching volume and speed of speech to the clients, matching breathing patterns.
|Appropriate physical contact between you and the client
|Handshake, touching a client’s hand as an invitation that it is ok to cry,
|In short, avoid grilling a client with closed ended questions
|Use reflections, ask open ended question when appropriate, be cautious of your frequency of questions, use indirect leads. Personal Approach to Counseling (Final Project) Assignment
|Checking to see if your understanding of the client is correct
|After or before a paraphrase, description of situation, or a statement that feels like you are making a hunch you can say…
“tell me if I am right”, “Let’s see if I am understanding correctly”, ”Correct me if I am wrong”, “ So I understand properly” “is this the way you see it” “Do I have that correct”, “ Is that right”,” Is that how you are thinking about this”
|Maintain Control/process or progress management
|Managing the therapeutic process. Clients don’t know how to be clients necessarily they must be guided.
Are you managing the session in the client talks and counselor listens dynamic.
Also consider how you end the session. You have to help work the client back through the funnel . When ending a session, and a client door knobs you, consider the options of bridging forward or bringing backward in the next session.
|Things to consider?
Who is doing most of the talking?
Who is in control of the process?
Is there lots of paraphrasing of messages?
Are you interrogating?
Are your responses consistent/appropriate to the state of the client?
Personal Approach to Counseling
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PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 2
Personal Approach to Counseling
Entering this course, I had an overview of what counseling meant and what counselors
do. This course has led me understanding human nature from a counselor point of view, but also
personally. In having a better understanding of human nature, I can see the role of a counselor
clearer. My view of human nature and what is understand the role of a counselor to be, help me
lean towards certain theoretical approaches more than others. In these approaches, each has
concepts more useful in my future professional setting. Of course, the approaches that I gravitate
to are going to strengths and limitations within my future profession.
Philosophy of Human Nature
When you actually think about human nature it is very interesting. Are humans innately
good or bad? How I see it, humans are innately good. Humans are caring, we take care of others
and are concerned when others are not doing well. In taking care of others, humans provide
emotions (whether happy or sad). Humans help others learn. Humans help each other grow into
different individuals. Humans make decisions that are not always good. Humans make the
decision to do bad things because of how we view the situations around us.
What motivates us? I strongly believe the world around us motivates us as humans. We
see others doing something, eating something, buying something, trying something new and we
want to do those same somethings. We want to those somethings because someone around us
has it or has done it. The world around us motivates us for the better most of the time. We want
to be better individuals because of the good and bad around us. Of course, humans also motivate
themselves. Each day, we have to motivate ourselves to function and to do whatever it takes to
be the best individual we believe we can be. So, as I see it, the world and ourselves motivate us.
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 3
What is the cause of stress and suffering? There a so many factors in one’s like that
causes stress and suffering. I believe, we cause most of our own stresses due to overthinking.
Depending on the situation and how we perceive it, that is when stress and/or suffering arises
within our mind.
How does change occur? For change to occur, I think one must change their mindset.
One must see things differently than they once did. In order to change, one must see that change
needs to occur for the better and one must want the change to happen.
How do we grow? Many things in one’s life help them to grow. To me, growing means
changing. Not that one is changing to be completely different in order to grow, but something
has changed in one’s life to help when grow external or internally. We grow when we realize
change has occurred within our mind to see things differently in the world around us.
In today’s world a school counselor is one of the most vital positions within the school
walls. With the rise of so many mental health concerns in children and many needing socialemotional support, an active school counselor is extremely important. Building relationships
with the students that need support, but also building a rapport with all students on the campus is
a must. These relationships are specifically important for the students that a counselor services,
as they should be judgement-free, especially during discussions. Students within the session
should feel free to discuss anything without feeling they are wrong. Counselors should show
empathy for the students, this way students feel like that are safe to speak and open up. School
counselors need to help and guide students to set goals, make changes, and overcome obstacles.
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 4
Counselors can work with students and help them see that in setting goals for themselves, we
know what steps to take to reach that goal. Whether the goal is to do better in school, at home,
or with friends if a goal is set and known, it will be easier for one to see the plan and the steps to
take to achieve that goal.
In being a school counselor, there are many different roles to do besides servicing
students in small groups and individually. School counselors, in the elementary setting,
implement guidance lessons for classes. Within these guidance lessons, counselors proactively
assist all students to develop skills for education, career, personal, and social growth during the
school year (NISD, n.d.). In my district, school counselors are also responsible for standardized
assessment preparation and data. Counselors interpret standardized test data to make decisions
in student development (NISD, n.d.). The role of a school counselor effects each person that
enters the campus, whether it’s directly or indirectly. A school counselor’s role is to make a
difference in student, by helping them grow during the year and beyond, by given them skills to
use in and out of the classroom.
A school counselor should use a variety of approaches to help meet the individual needs
of the students. As a school counselor, I could see myself using person-centered counseling,
rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT), and solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT).
Created by Carl Rogers, in person-centered counseling, the client, in my case the student,
develops an understanding of self in the environment that helps them resolve their situation
without direct intervention (Ackerman, 2020). During the sessions the client will lead the
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 5
discussion, but the counselor will keep an open questioning position to create empathy and
courage for the client. Person-centered counseling, I believe will work with students, as students
want to be listened to and the school counselor is the person, they are seeking connection to.
Neukrug (2018) stated, Rogers believed when a person is with another person that demonstrates
genuineness, empathy and unconditional positive regard, person one will feel safe to experience
themselves (p. 247). Some key concepts of this approach, I believe in student will benefit from
are need for positive regard, self-determination, and nondirective counseling.
Need for positive regard.
Children have a need for positive regard by important people in their lives; they need to
feel loved, supported, and appreciated (Neukrug, 2018, p. 248). School counselors are an
important person in the students’ lives. To show this positive regard to students, school
counselors can make eye contact, be open, and accepting when building a relationship.
Self-determination. Personal Approach to Counseling (Final Project) Assignment
In person-centered counseling, this concept is the process of looking inside to make selfchoices, instead of allowing others to direct one’s life (Neukrug, 2018, p. 250). With a student, a
school counselor can guide them to understand that it is important to make choices for them self.
At the school age, this is important for students to understand, as they will be influenced by the
outside each day, but with this understanding the student can look within to make the right
decision for them.
In providing nondirective counseling, a student would feel free to look inside themselves
and discover who they are and initiate positive growth and choices (Neukrug, 2018, p. 250). A
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 6
school counselor does this by offering a facilitative session and being genuine and empathetic
with the student.
Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)
Developed by Albert Ellis, rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) motivates the
growth of rational thinking to facilitate healthy emotional behavior (Good Therapy, 2015). In
other words, how we think influences how we feel. Using this approach as a school counselor
will help the students realize that their thoughts are what control the feels that they are having.
Some key concepts of REBT to use as a school counselor are unconditional acceptance, rational
and irrational beliefs, and the ABCDEs of feelings and behaviors.
Students need to be praises for their successes, through the unconditional acceptance
concept of REBT, school counselors can do this with students during sessions. Neukrug (2018)
stated, “accepting that we are fallible human beings, and that some things in life may be unfair or
unjust, helps us move on and make better, more effective choices (p.324). Students will be able
to build positive self-esteem and not rely on others to feel good about themselves. This concept
will help the student develop a rational belief system with feelings that have a positive view on
life (Neukrug, 2018, p. 325).
Rational and irrational beliefs.
Students can have many different beliefs (good/rational or bad/irrational) about situations
in school and out of school. A situation that causes one to feel poorly, is how one filters the
situation through their cognitive distortions, which impacts the development of irrational beliefs
(Neukrug, 2018, p. 327). School counselors can use this concept to help students see their bad
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 7
beliefs in a different way. School counselors can show the student how to see their irrational
belief in a different way that helps them have more rational beliefs.
The ABCDEs of feelings and behaviors.
This concept of REBT can teach students how beliefs are the cause of emotional and
behavior responses, and not that situations cause our emotional behavior (Lieber, 2018). For a
school counselor working with a student, the ABCDEs of feelings and behaviors can be helpful
in the explanation as it is a blanket outline to guiding that student to understanding their
irrational thoughts. The ABCDEs are known as activating event (A), irrational belief (iB) of the
activating event, the consequences (C) in feelings and behaviors, dispute (D) the irrational belief,
and develop new effective responses (E) (Neukrug, 2018, p.329).
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)
This theoretical approach, created by Insso Kim Berg and Steve De Shazer, focuses on
finding a solution to the problem as soon as possible. In counseling students, school counselors
are limited in time spent with students during sessions, so in this approach being brief a student
can make growth in the short amount of time. With the focus being on the solution rather than
the problem, will help students shift their thinking. “Of course, you must discuss the problem to
find a solution, but beyond understanding what the problem is and deciding how to address it,
solution-focused brief therapy will not dwell on every detail of the problem you are experiencing
(Ackerman, 2019). For school counseling not dwelling on every detail is significant to
maximizing growth in as little time as possible. SFBT has many concepts, but for me I feel in
school counseling I could use non-pathologizing, exceptions and client strengths, and basic
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 8
As a school counselor, I believe you must approach each session with a student in a
nonjudgmental way. Counselors that take a non-pathologizing stance address clients in a
positive way, with the belief a strength-based approach can be helpful (Neukrug, 2018, p.489).
When a counselor desires to help a student find a solution in a positive way, the counselor has
built that trusting relationship with that student, which will help the student throughout the
Exceptions and client strengths.
With this concept of SFBT, a counselor will ask about times the student has felt good
about themselves and help them realize how they successfully survived so that the process can be
supplemented and used in the future (Neukrug, 2018, p. 490). Often students dwell on the
problems in their life, a school counselor can use this concept to shift a student’s focus to a time
in a similar situation that they felt good about themselves.
The basic assumptions give the student a different way to look at their problem. If a
school counselor can guide the student to looking at their problem different using some basic
assumptions, it will help the student in other situations to reflect and make changes in reactions
as needed. Neukrug (2018) states these basic assumptions are (p. 492-493):
1. Change is constant and inevitable.
2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
3. If it works, do more of it.
4. If it’s not working, do something different.
5. Clients come to us with resources and strengths.
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 9
6. Small steps can lead to big changes.
7. There is not necessarily a logical relationship between the solution and the
8. The language for solution development is different from that needed to describe a
9. No problems happen all the time; there are always exceptions that can be utilized.
10. The future is both created and negotiable.
Critical Evaluation of Approach
Anything we do in life has strengths and limitations. My personal approach to
counseling is no different. I believe that a strength is building relationships with students,
parents, and staff. In having a good rapport with the community of the school, you as a
counselor can make such a difference in and out of the school walls. The theoretical approaches
I chose are ones I feel need some sort of relationship built with the client in order for them to be
effective. For any approach to be successful, clients must buy in to what the counselor is saying
or not saying and how they are being guided through a session. Having that therapeutic
relationship makes the approach much more effective for the student in any situation. I believe
the strengths of my person approach to counseling are it is flexible, yet structured, and goal
Being in a school and having a diverse group of students will and can have its limitations.
As a school counselor, you will have approaches that you find have limitations with certain
groups of students. This could be because of the student’s cultural upbringing and how they
perceive discussion, if it’s a directive approach not all cultures like being directed and some have
issues with leading discussion with others. When thinking of cultural limitations, you have to
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 10
look at how positive behaviors are different between cultures. Also, depending on a student’s
socioeconomic background this could limit understanding and how they view change that an
approach wants them to make. With limitations, I believe a counselor will have to adjust. In
building those relationships with students and families a school counselor is aware of what some
of those limitations may be before a session occurs.
Case of Jasmine
A senior in high school, Jasmine, 18, comes from a close family. She finds it easy to talk
to her parents about most of her problems. Her current problem is different, she does not feel she
can talk to her parents about it. Jasmine has been sexually active with her 15-year-old boyfriend
for the past year. Not on birth control, she has ended up pregnant. The boyfriend has questioned
that they baby is his and she has seeked advice from a few girlfriends. Jasmine is nearing the end
of the first trimester and she does not know what to do. Personal Approach to Counseling (Final Project) Assignment
My values in Jasmine’s case, I know it is something difficult to discuss with your parents,
but I believe when she was becoming sexually active, she should have talked to her parents about
the precautions to take. I feel abortion is a choice that is available, if needed. It may not always
be the choice you want to make, but to me you must look at the situation. In terminating a life,
one must think about the impact that life would have on their everyday life and it means lots of
change, can they handle that change. It also means, not regretting the decision if abortion is her
decision. Adoption is another choice available. This choice involves the child growing and
bonding with you for the duration of the pregnancy. This may be even harder to give up in the
end. It will mean moving on with your life knowing that you have a child out there that may
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 11
never know about you. Again, you must look at the situation you are in to decide the choice that
is best for you. I believe the choice is yours to make. I don’t think that anyone should judge you
based on the decision you mad for yourself, even if it not the decision they would make.
I do not think the value I have will affect the way I would counsel Jasmine. I think the
way I see it; my values will help me to be nonjudgmental in her case and help guide her to
making a decision that works for her.
Jasmine has a few presenting concerns that need to be identified. She is pregnant and
needs to make a decision about having the baby. She is 18 years old and plans on going away to
college, so depending on her decision she may not be able to go away as planned. Jasmine has
not discussed this situation with her parents. She is close with her parents and usually is able to
discuss problems with them, but this situation she has not been able to discuss with them for
maybe the reason of feeling she let them down. Jasmine is struggling with herself on what to do.
She is needing someone to talk with that she feels safe with to guide her through this process.
She needs to know that she is not being judged for the situation she is in and for any decision she
decides to make.
With Jasmine, the first concern I would address would be talking with her parents about
what is going on. I feel that she close with her family and they have helped her through other
situations throughout her life, this is another situation where their support is needed probably
more than ever. Once, Jasmine opens ups to her parents about what is going on, I believe the
other concern of what to do will, they will help her get through that decision.
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 12
Strategies and Techniques
There is a variety of strategies and techniques to use with Jasmine as I feel at this point,
she can benefit from so many.
I would use empathy, as a technique from person-centered counseling. Right now,
Jasmine needs to feel she is being her and understood. Neukrug (2018) stated, understanding can
be expressed in different ways, reflecting the meaning and affect of what has been expressed
accurately to show the client they were heard; simply nodding head or touching the client during
their deepest moments (p. 254). Being understood will help Jasmine in seeing that her family is
her support system and can offer her so much support.
Being an ambassador, from solution-focused brief therapy, is a technique I would also
use with Jasmine. I believe this can be integrated with empathy. Jasmine needs someone to be
respectful of her situation, be curious of what she feels, and accept her for the choices she has
made. A solution-focused therapist comes to the relationship humbly and is curious about
client’s situation, respectful of the client’s way of being, and accepting of what they are being
told (Neukrug, 2018, p.494).
Staying within the solution-focused brief therapy, another technique I would use with
Jasmine is use of presuppositional questions, specifically preferred goals questions and solutionoriented questions. I believe Jasmine needs to see that change is happening in her life not matter
the decision she makes. Asking her preferred goals questions, will help her identify where she
wants to end up and it will also let me know how she wants her life to look and how long she
thinks it will take for a positive outcome; these questions focus on the future not on the problem
(Neukrug, 2018, p. 495). In asking Jasmine solution-oriented questions, she can zero in on how
her life would be different if there was not this problem (Neukrug, 2018, p. 495).
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 13
Critical Evaluation of Approach
Jasmine being 18 years old, pregnant, and about to graduate high school, sets for some
limitations when trying to help her through her case using my personal approach. What is she is
afraid to open up fully? What if culture is keeping her from talking to her parents about this
situation? What if I do not have a good rapport with her for her to feel safe with me? As I was
going through to decide what techniques to use with Jasmine all those questions came pouring in
my head. I had to trust that I could be the best support for Jasmine at this time and that is why
she came to my office. Which lead me to thinking about some strengths. If Jasmine did not feel
I was a safe person to talk with, then she may not have ever walked in my office. I realized I
have made a good relationship with her, at least good enough for her to feel she can trust me to
guide her in the right direction when dealing with this situation. My personal approach is
nonjudgmental, which in Jasmine’s case is completely necessary for her to feel accepted in her
decisions she has made and will make.
As a school counselor there are many different expectations to uphold, whether it be state
law, district policies, or your counseling code of ethics. In having a certificate to practice within
a school, you want to make sure you are doing what is right in order to keep your job and
certificate, as well as doing what is needed to support the student. You must first follow state
law to make sure you are doing what is necessary legally. You also want to make sure you are
ethically doing what is correct for your counseling certification to not be taken away. Lastly,
you also want to make sure you know your district’s policy on the situation, as you do not want
to lose your job. ASCA (n.d.) states, it is important to know state laws on the subject, as well as
school board policies; you will want find out how pregnancy was confirm and if sex was
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 14
consensual on both sides; understand relationship with parents to provide advice to inform
parents. In Jasmine’s case, she is 18 years old, even though she is still in high school, in the state
of Texas she is an adult and does not need her parents’ consent or acknowledgment. Knowing
her background with her parents, they are close, talking with her and letting her know it is in her
best interest to have her parents involved in the situation.
PERSONAL APPROACH TO COUNSELING 15
Ackerman, C. E. (2020, March 18). 10 Person-Centered Therapy Techniques Inspired by Carl
Rogers [ PDF]. Retrieved March 31, 2020, from https://positivepsychology.com/clientcentered-therapy/
Ackerman, C. E. (2019, November 19). What is Solution-Focused Therapy: 3 Essential
Techniques. Retrieved April 4, 2020, from https://positivepsychology.com/solutionfocused-therapy/
American School Counselor Association (ASCA). (n.d.). Legal & Ethical FAQ. Retrieved April
5, 2020, from https://www.schoolcounselor.org/school-counselors-members/legalethical/legal-ethical-faq
Good Therapy. (2015, March 7). Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). Retrieved April
3, 2020, from https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/rational-emotivebehavioral-therapy
Lieber, A. (2018, November 19). REBT: A Smarter, More Effective Approach to Treatment.
Retrieved April 4, 2020, from https://www.psycom.net/rebt/
Neukrug, E. (2018). Counseling Theory and Practice (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Cognella.
Northside ISD. (n.d.). Guidance & Counseling: Roles of a professional school counselor.
Retrieved April 2, 2020, from https://nisd.net/guidance-counseling/gc/guidancecounseling-requirements. Personal Approach to Counseling (Final Project) Assignment