04 Feb Counselling
Life is dynamic it is not static. When we go to sleep at night, we wake up the following day different. Some cells (the basic structure of our bodies) die and are eliminated from our systems, while new ones are created. We might wake up with a different mood from the one we slept in. Our resilience, joy,motivation, hope and stamina might all be different from the previous day. Life is about change and we are all undergoing a change at all times. The author of The Power of Maturity – Louis Binstok explains that we are more of “Human in Becoming” than human beings. An important goal of every human being is to grow up both pysiologically, psychologically, spiritually and socially- become mature. Maturity is a continual state of becoming, and it is shown as one deals wisely with the phenomena of ones own life. Maturity is reflected through our attitudes, moods,motivations, our spirituality, self concept, self- esteem and how we handle our emotions especially negative ones. All of us, every day, are given opportunities to be mature or to be immature – according to the way we react to circustances. Ultimate maturity, though never complete ( because we never stop becoming), is the joint product of the inheritance within our core and the impact of our environment upon it. The environment is made up of all the human relationships and other non leaving and living relationships.
As an example of learning maturity, Epictetus (born around A.D 60) offers a very practical suggestion: “if you would not have an angry temper, then do not feed the habit. Give it nothing nothing to help it increase. Be quiet at first and reckon the day in which you have not been angry. I used to be angry every day; now every other day; then every third or fourth day; and if you miss it so lng as thirty days, make a sacrifice to God.” Because the process of becoming is both internal and external, it poses major challenges to all of us. The process of understanding ourselves, others, and manouvering through delicate and complex human relationships is both frustrating and at times impossible. Counseling then becomes an effective tool and it is used to remove clients out of their stuckness so that they can resume and continue with their task of becoming. Counseling is a helping process which involves creating a warm relationship using skills and techniques to help a client undestand and deal with his or her own issues.
“Life is a school, those who learn to love and help others graduate with honors.
Counseling is a process, a journey walked together by the client and the counselor. The counselor supports the client and helps him or her clarify, understand and deal with issues in their lives that are hindering psychological growth. Psychological growth comes as a result of the counselor helping the client to think through their problems in a realistic manner culminating in change in one or more of the following; attitudes,perception of self or others, habits or behavior which then helps them overcome stressful and emotionally laden issues in life. Through exploration, understanding and action stages, the client is able to have clear insights about their issues and then they can make specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound goals.SMART goals train the client on decision making skills as well as monitoring and evaluating their behaviors to be able to achieve their purpose and to life happy and more fulfilling lives.
- . A good number of the issues that bring people to counseling have to do with wrong decisions, choices and wrong attitudes and behaviors towards God and people. Personal issues such as sex, anxiety, fear, loneliness, doubt, pride, sin, and discouragement.
Unique Methods. All counseling techniques have at least four characteristics.
- They seek to arouse the belief that help is possible,
- Correct erroneous beliefs about the world,
- Develop competences in social living, and
- Help counselees accept themselves as persons of worth.
To accomplish these goals, counselors consistently use such basic techniques of listening, showing interest, attempting to understand, and at least occasionally giving direction. Christians and non-Christian counselors use many of the same helping methods
There is evidence, however, that the counselor’s personal characteristics are of even greater significance in helping. After writing an in-depth book on theories of counseling, psychologist C. H. Patterson concluded that the effective counselor must be “a real, human person” who offers “a genuine human relationship” to counse1ees. “It is a relationship characterized not so much by what techniques the therapist uses as by what he is, not so much by what he does as by the way he does it.”
Several years ago, research studies found that counseling techniques are most potent when used by helpers who are characterized by warmth, sensitivity, understanding, genuine concern, and a willingness to confront people in an attitude of love. Counseling textbooks stressed the importance of counselor qualities such as trust worthiness, good psychological health, honesty, patience, competence, and self knowledge.
According to more recent research, helpers are most effective when they have these counselor traits, along with knowledge about human problems and good counseling skills. Best intentions, suggests Jay Adams, are no substitute for knowledge and skills.
One major goal of counseling is growth leading to maturity which translates to long-range character growth and finding an anchor in God. When people grow psychologically, they become more competent, more content, and more creative. Other goals of counseling include;
- Relief of pair
- Behavior change
- Self- insight
- Helping people access greater personal resources
- Improving people’s emotional health
Counseling is a recognized profession that works through certain ethical principles. The code of ethics identifies a number of ethical principles derived from the values to inform practice.
- Beneficence; What will achieve the greatest good?
- Non-maleficence; what will cause least harm?
- Justice; what will be fairest?
- Respect for autonomy; what maximizes the opportunities for everyone involved to implement their own choices?
- Confidentiality; Generally confidentiality is observed as a foundation for trust. However absolute confidentiality is not guaranteed.
Counseling as a Vocational Activity
It is a basic principle that counseling is a voluntary activity for the client. The client soughts out a counselor as a matter of choice rather than feeling obliged to receive counseling or having been sent for counseling as an alternative to something worse.
Choosing a Counselor
Four steps to help you choose a counselor;
- Decide what you want
- What do you want to get out of therapy- why are you seeking it, and what result would mean it has been successful?
- Do you want long term support or help with a short- term problem? How much can you afford?
- What type of therapy would suit you?
- Find possible therapists
- A recommendation by a friend, or The Therapeutic Rescue International (TRI) or Kenya Counseling and Psychologist Association would be a good way to start.
- Contact therapy organizations to ask whether any of their members practice in your area of need.
- Choose a therapist
- Contact a few therapists and discuss the following points;
- What qualifications do they have, and what was the training that led to the qualifications
- How many years have they been practicing and how many hours of experience have they acquired?
- Are they members of any professional body?
- Don’t be pressured
- Don’t be afraid to rely on your gut feeling; If you don’t like the therapist, or feel they aren’t helping you, then stop. Therapy is for your benefit.
Types of Therapy
In individual counseling the counselor and the client meet in the counseling room where the counselor provides a therapeutic environment using the co-conditions and appropriate skills to help the client deal with his or her issues. The counselor ensures that the client understands what counseling is and is not, explains the roles and responsibilities within the counseling sessions and discusses the issue of confidentiality. The issue of the structure of counseling is also dealt with.
Group counseling involves 8-12 individuals who come together to work through a particular issue. Counseling groups focus on growth, development, enhancement, self- awareness and releasing blocks to growth. Group counseling involves the use of group dynamics within group process for the purpose of affecting member’s behavior, emotions, thoughts and self- awareness. Groups are a natural way to communicate and interrelate with one another .The group provides the context within which socialization and the formation and development of self occurs.
Goals of Group Counseling
- To learn to trust self and others
- To increase awareness and seif- knowledge; to develop a sense of one’s unique identity
- To develop a sense of universality
- Learn more effective social skills
- To become more sensitive to the needs and feelings of others To learn how to challenge others with care and concern, honestly and directness
- To increase self-acceptance, self-confidence, self-respect and to achieve a new view of oneself and others
- To increase self-direction, interdependence and responsibility towards oneself and others
- To become aware of ones choices and to make choices wisely.
TRI as an organization has been able to help very many people from all walks of life with a number of issues including; Families in distress, suicide cases, addictions, work burnouts, deliquency trauma related issues..
A trauma is an intensely stressful even during which a person suffers serious harm/wound or threat of serious harm or death or witnesses an event during which another person is killed, seriously injured or threatened.
Trauma events can be classified as:
- Abuse: This could be mental, physical, sexual, or verbal. Verbal attacks could be together with sexual or violent in context.
- Catastrophes: This includes harmful fatal accidents, natural disasters e.g. floods, earthquakes, terrorism including hostage taking and tribal cleansing. violent attacks by animals, assault, battering and domestic violence and rape.
- War, battle and combat, death, explosions and gun fire.
The process of psychological debriefing
This is a group meeting of the survivors of a stressful even who gather to discuss their experience of the traumatic event. It prevents development of adverse reactions and unnecessary psychological after effects. It is considered an emotional first aid. The objectives of psychological debriefing are: ventilation of impressions feelings, reactions and thoughts, promotion of cognitive organization through clear understanding of both the events and the reactions, decrease in the sense of uniqueness or abnormalities for reactions. This will help anticipants to achieve normalcy through sharing, mobilization of resources within and outside the group, increasing solidarity, group support and cohesion, preparation for experiences such as symptoms reactions which may arise and identification of avenues for further assistance including medication, long term counselling etc.
This is a normal response to threat and a powerful motivator. Anxiety disorders are common, often distressing, disabling and chronic. They are characterised by fear and the target of that fear helps to identify the specific disorder.
There are several different conditions that can cause severe anxiety. They include phobias, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder.
A panic attack occurs when your body experiences a rush of intense psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. You may feel an overwhelming sense of fear, apprehension and anxiety. As well as these feelings, you may also experience physical symptoms such as nausea, sweating, trembling and a sensation that your heart is beating irregularly (palpitations).
People who are depressed reduce the frequency and type of their usual behaviours. Symptoms of depression include lasting feelings of sadness, losing interest in the things you used to enjoy, feeling constantly tired, having difficulty getting to sleep, loss of appetite and feeling life is not worth living.
If you think you might be affected by any of these conditions, please get in touch. Call our helpline and talk to someone who understands, or fill in our Get Help form and we’ll call you.