Week One: Reflecting on a Mock Counseling Session
CNDV 5310: Counseling Skills
In this article, we will delve into the details of a mock counseling session conducted during Week One of the CNDV 5310 course. The session involved a 46-year-old woman who sought counseling voluntarily to discuss her job-related troubles and financial adjustments. The primary objective of the session was to focus on the counseling skills covered during the week. As a first-time counselor, the individual conducting the session was confident in their ability to demonstrate their skills and gain valuable experience. After reviewing the video recording of the session, they identified both strengths and areas for improvement, providing an exceptional opportunity for growth and learning.
Areas for Improvement
One area that the counselor identified for improvement is the tendency to give advice, particularly when they have personally experienced what the client is going through. It can be challenging not to empathize and share personal feelings and actions. For instance, when discussing the client’s job loss and its impact on her personal and financial life, the counselor explained how she could navigate this change and take accountability for her own actions rather than others’. Focusing on the client’s problem first can help her accept the current situation in her life. Additionally, the counselor noticed instances of rambling and struggling to find the right words. They observed themselves repeating words and speaking too quickly, necessitating a pause to gather their thoughts.
Despite the areas for improvement, the counselor also recognized several strengths during the mock counseling session. One notable strength was their body language, as observed in the video recording. The counselor maintained an open posture, which helps create a comfortable and relaxed environment for the client (Young, 2017). They noticed that the client became more engaged in the conversation when the counselor leaned in to speak. Another strength displayed was the use of eye contact, which demonstrated empathetic listening. By making consistent eye contact, the counselor conveyed their active engagement and genuine interest in the client’s expressions during the session.
Goals for Development
Moving forward in the course, the counselor has set specific goals for their development. Firstly, they aim to become a confident and versatile professional mental health counselor. This involves working on their own sense of security during counseling sessions with clients. Additionally, they aspire to develop a repertoire of different strategies and techniques that can guide them effectively in their counseling sessions. By brainstorming and exploring various approaches, they can enhance their ability to address the unique needs of each client.
The counselor applied Carl Rogers’ person-centered theory during the mock counseling session. According to Rogers (1957), there are six core conditions necessary for successful behavior change in clients. The first core condition is establishing psychological contact between the counselor and the client. Transparent and incisive communication, along with basic skills such as positive body language, eye contact, and minimal encouragers, ensure that the client feels actively listened to. Another core condition is empathy, which comes naturally to the counselor. Unconditional positive regard allows the therapist to accept the client in every aspect of their experience (Rogers, 1957). By creating a non-judgmental space, the counselor helps the client feel safe and encourages vulnerability. It is crucial to avoid making the client feel worthless or judged. The counselor explicitly communicated to the client that their sessions were a safe zone where complete honesty and openness were encouraged. The final core condition is achieving effective communication with the client. While the counselor acknowledges the need for improvement in this area, they plan to work on it while building trust with the client.
Verbal Informed Consent Statement
Before commencing the counseling session, the counselor provided a verbal informed consent statement to the client, Katrina. They introduced themselves as Ms. Pettaway and explained their role as a counselor. They clarified that their work as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) involved assisting individuals and families facing hardships and dealing with stressors that impact their daily lives. The counselor assured Katrina that they were available to help her navigate through tough times. They emphasized that the discussions held during the sessions were mostly confidential. However, they also explained that if they sensed any risk of self-harm or harm to others, they would have to report it, as such situations could be perilous and not considered confidential. The counselor ensured that Katrina understood the statement and provided an opportunity for her to ask questions or express any concerns before proceeding with the session.
Reflecting on the mock counseling session conducted during Week One, it is evident that the counselor has identified both strengths and areas for improvement. By focusing on enhancing their skills, such as refraining from giving excessive advice, avoiding rambling, and improving communication, the counselor aims to become a confident and versatile professional mental health counselor. By utilizing Carl Rogers’ person-centered theory and establishing the core conditions necessary for successful behavior change, the counselor creates a safe and non-judgmental space for clients to explore their thoughts and emotions. With continued practice, self-reflection, and dedication to professional growth, the counselor is on a promising path towards becoming an effective and empathetic counselor.
Rogers, C.R. (1957). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21, 95-103.
Young, M.E. (2017). Counseling and therapy skills (5th ed.). Cengage Learning.
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