counseling process involves the counselor and client exploring together
places or situations where the client feels stuck, dissatisfied, or is
experiencing pain. The process begins with the counselor coming
to an understanding of each individual whose life is being affected by
the problem. This requires the counselor's growing awareness of how
clients view themselves, as well as how they view the people who they
are in relationships with. Together, clients and counselor will
examine processes and patterns which are related to a client's concerns.
In addition, counselor and client will seek out together new processes which can improve the client's situation or experience.
It is important that clients feel as comfortable
as possible during counseling. For that reason, it's best to let
your counselor know about any discomfort you may experience in
counseling. It also helpful for the client to ask questions, as
process moves forward. Good counseling involves a good, working, partnership between
counselor and client. From a counselor's perspective, there are no dumb or off limit questions. A client's questions help the
counselor to do a better and more effecient job, and that's why
questions are welcome!
It is also important for clients to be aware that sometimes,
discussing the details related to a painful situation can itself be
uncomfortable, or even painful. However, a good counselor will
pace discussions according to the client's level of comfort. It is essential that the client feels respected throughout the therapy process.
It is also possible for individuals to experience discomfort as
relationship processes begin to shift. Occasionally, feelings may
become more intense before they get better. Also, it's good to be
aware that some clients will change their goals as therapy
progresses. Such changes can occur in ways which a client may not
anticipate at the beginning of therapy.
Sometimes, a client may even sabotage their own progress, in order to remain in a place which feels more natural to them (even though they are attending therapy for things to get better).
Old habits are hard to let go of, but it can be done! A good
counselor will avoid being discouraged or intimidated by setbacks. They are another way of shedding light on the
there is always a real possibility for new, helpful changes, and for
new solutions in a client's life. When clients are sincere about
working towards goals they are most likely to benefit from the
therapeutic process. Of course, almost everyone has some reservations about counseling at first. So, it's common for new clients to save their best work until after after they have developed a feeling of trust for the counselor, and for the counselor's ability to help.
Being ready to change necessitates being ready to work (or at
least being willing to explore). Change is not effortless (though most
of us would prefer that it were). A good counselor will be concerned
with trying to understand each client's experience, and he/she will
avoid blaming, shaming, or put-downs. A good counselor will
want to be a partner and a collaborator, so she/he usually refrains from
assuming the role of authority.
The counselor helps the client to cultivate a sense of safety and trust, because such an environment is vital for successful therapeutic work.
This type of safe environment also helps to bring about more satisfying
- more productive - and more fulfilling processes, perceptions, and
relationships for the client.
In order to help clients make quicker progress, a good counselor
will sometimes suggest projects for the client to try out between
meetings. These projects should be tailored to the specific needs of
the client(s). However, it's best when a counselor does not become
pushy about the completion of such projects. It's really up to
the client whether or not they choose to do such tasks. A good
therapist will only assign them when he (or she) believes that they will
help clients to meet their own goals, and to meet them sooner.
If you'd think counseling might be helpful for you, and for
your situation, and you would like to explore it further, you are welcome to try a low-cost, initial, counseling visit with Marc Leibson, M.Ed. LMFT at the Human Process and Development Group.
You may reach Marc at his office: