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Humans are created to be self-aware with different capabilities and emotions. Even though there are some factors which may affect the emotions of human beings resulting in psychological issues. However, psychological issues can now be resolved due to the evolution of human mind, science and technology which can now help in understanding the human brain through the use of therapies and counselling. Counselling can also be described as therapy because it allows people to talk about their challenges and feelings which they are encountering. According to Reeves (2015 pp 14), counselling is the process which people use when they what to change certain aspects in their lives for the better, through exploring their feelings and thoughts in more depth to a specialist who can also be called a counsellor.
Nweze, (2014 pp 15) describes a counsellor as a specialist who listens to your thoughts and feelings and is ready to offer help through encouraging and uncovering the root cause of what may be bothering the mind. Counsellors reason from the client’s perspective hence giving the necessary help needed. A good counsellor should have appropriate communication skills to be able to listen to the client and offer a strategy which may either assist the client through offering encouragement and assistance. However, there are various stages of the counselling process.
A good relationship has no barriers. Therefore, the clients become more open and are willing to disclose their issues without fear hence exposing matters that are directly affecting them. The first meet with the client is always important because the client is very cautious on the nonverbal and verbal gestures. The more the counsellor is open, the more the client will be willing to open up. Therefore, it is important to create a friendly environment. A good relationship will build a foundation of trust, break any barriers and create an open environment for expression. At this stage communication is an important aspect because the counsellor has to create a free environment to the client which can only be achieved through communication either verbally or nonverbally (Dagli, 2014 pp 14). An example is when a client says they are battling from drug addiction but then the counsellor shows signs of discomfort it indicates that the client will not be free to communicate because the environment of expression has been destroyed.
In the process of relationship building, there will be problem assessment going on by knowing what may be bothering the client and the reason for seeking assistance. Then the counsellor will identify the nature of the problem presented, therefore, building hypothesis starting from this stage. Communication is essential at this time because the client has to communicate the issues bothering (McQuoid 2014 pp 30). Before making a suitable treatment plan, the client has to express himself well for the counsellor to know the in-depth problem.
Setting and commitment to action
The third stage is more collaborative between the client and the counsellor because they have to set a target, establish responsibilities and outline the course outcome of the process. The primary goals should be:
In this stage, there should be already a friendly relationship going on and working collaboratively to solve the client’s difficulties (Reiss 2014 pp 89).
Intervention and the problem-solving
The moment the goals are outlined it is important to start the process of solving the problems. However, a collaborative plan works best because the client and the counsellor should be both comfortable of the decisions they make (Rosenberg 2015 pp 54). The behavioural approach will help to ease the counselling process. However, there are characteristics of a good counselling plan:
A treatment plan should be articulated to the client’s need
Evaluation and Termination
All counselling process are aimed at successful termination of the procedures. Therefore, the counsellor is always aware of the needs of the client, and there is always an open door in case the client has a future need. It is also important to keep the client aware of the process and let them know it is the end of the process (Loewentha, 2015 pp 45). Communication is very vital in this stage because the client will be willing to express how the process has been and if it has been of assistance to them.
Barriers of communication impacting counselling process
Communication plays and important role in counselling though according to statistics done by The Editors of Salem Press (2014 pp 54) notes that an average of 80 percent of counsellors and clients encounter communication barriers. Communication barriers lead to a misunderstanding during counselling, therefore, keeping people from getting beneficial professional counselling. There are a few factors which affect effective counselling like:
When someone fakes attention, they just hear and not listen. It may happen that a counsellor may fake attention of the client through listening to what they are saying but in a real sense, they can’t remember what they said. It happens when a counsellor is listening and even nodding, but the mind is somewhere else hence making the client feel lonely and becoming a bother resulting to limiting what they wanted to express (Conyne 2015 pp 35). Faking attention is a barrier to communication and portrays disrespect and dishonesty to the client because it shows that the counsellor is not interested in what they are being told.
Insensitivity is known as lack of empathy and its failure to recognise the feelings of other. Insensitivity is a bad aspect of a counsellor because it shows an unwillingness to listen and caring for the need of the client. Insensitivity courses poor listening skills which cause lack of attentiveness which may divert the concerns by switching the conversation focus back. Insensitivity affects clients because they perceive that the counsellor is not willing to listen to them (Tuhovsky 2015 pp 78). Such occurrences may occur when the counsellor is not comfortable with the topic which may be discussed
Judging and labelling
Judging is the worst deed that can happen to a client who has come for help. Judging and labelling create some mental disorder through gaining power over motions. Labelling is an excellent barrier to communication while judging demeans the client. Therefore, they won’t open up as expected according to Bach and Grant, (2015 pp 93) one of the significant barriers to communication is the natural tendency of labelling and judging. Approving and disapproving what the client says and showing them how terrible they are may even lead to a poor expression of emotions.
According to Reeves (2015), Fear is a significant barrier to communication; it courses resistance. People who are afraid during counselling are not likely to open up about their feelings, neither listen to the counsellor who leads them to be rebellious and argue every point. An Example is when a client visits a counsellor, and they are asked a variety of profound questions which they fear to talk about they become afraid which results to arguing and being defensive therefore communication will be disrupted, and the client may become angry. Keeping it calm and friendly may reduce fear and give the patient mental strength to face the situation.
How potential communication barriers may be addressed
Clarify ideas before communicating
In counselling, it is important to be objective and having in mind what to say which cannot provoke the other person. Clarifying communication someone has to be attentive to listen from the other person. For counsellors, it is important to attentively listen to the client to show attentiveness and interest to what they are saying and give them objective responses to solve their difficulties. According to Loewenthal (2015 pp 100), listening shows interest of the subject matter and portrays respect to each other.
Awareness of language, tone and the content of the message.
According to Coyne (2015 pp 103), a message is portrayed through the tone and the language used. Therefore, the counsellor should be able to frame the message in a beautiful language. Tonal variation is a great determinant of how the message is received therefore it should not be harsh to inflict fear or cruel to injure the feelings of the client. Most of the clients are emotionally broken so it is important if they are communicated in a soft manner. The communication should be brief and straightforward with less of difficult words, therefore, welcoming a friendly tone between the two parties.
Good listening skills
It is of great importance when both have excellent listening skills. When both the client and the counsellor listen to each other, it becomes easy to come up with a conclusion of the problem at hand. It is important to listen with attentiveness, patience and positive attitude and respond to the other with respect (Rosenberg 2015 pp 199). Listening carefully emits fear within the parties, and both will communicate freely.
Dagli (2014 pp 89) Communication is important in every aspect of counselling because there have to be an exchange of communication to offer help to the client and also for the counsellor to understand the needs of the client.
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