Counselling – A Relationship That Empowers Diverse Individuals and Groups

Counselling is a relationship that empowers diverse individuals and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education and career goals (ACA, 2015). It involves an ongoing process of helping clients learn new skills for emotional well-being and problem solving, and working together towards a positive outcome.

During counselling the client will talk about their problems with their counsellor in an open, non-judgmental and confidential relationship. They may also be encouraged to share personal history, family dynamics, cultural beliefs and other factors that impact on their world view. This can be done face to face in a therapy room, by telephone or through online counselling which is becoming increasingly popular.

The first step in the counselling process is building a therapeutic relationship. This is a crucial process that requires the counsellor to be attuned to both verbal and non-verbal cues. During this stage the counselor assesses the client’s needs and reasons for seeking help. This information will be used in the subsequent stages of counseling.

There are many different models of counselling, each with their strengths and weaknesses. Depending on the depth and severity of the problem, some models may be more appropriate than others. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for example, aims to change negative patterns of thinking and behaviour by replacing them with a more rational evidence based approach. Alternatively, some people respond better to a more humanistic model of therapy and this is known as Person Centred Therapy. Some therapists use an integrative approach and combine different models of therapy to best suit the client’s situation.

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