Counseling - A Three Stage Method

This is a simple three-step approach to counseling. This process is for people who come to you with a problem or simply wants to talk about something. This is for normal neurotics, like me and you" and not to deal with people with serious psychiatric disorders.

It does not give advice (a trap for any counseling method). If you follow this approach you will do no harm and will likely do a lot of good.

Stage One: Listening

Listening involves being able to comprehend the message and the emotions that accompany it.

Cerebral understanding is not enough.

Don't make statements that determines the problem or other person's feelings; ask instead. Not, "You're feeling . . . " but instead, "Are you feeling . . ? ". Not, "The issue is . . ." Instead, "You think the problem is . . ." Or "The method you think of it . . . ". At this point, it might suffice to be able to say "uh-huh" or shake your head.

The process ends when the person begins to talk about the root of the issue. You'll know that you've done well when you get agreement to your suggestions of what the issue is and the feeling behind it.

Stage Two Stage Two: Exploratory Listening

If the person who is talking to you feels heard they will move on to deeper things. At this stage you can begin to ask questions. You can ask if they've ever had this experience before. What have they attempted to do in similar situations - whether or not it worked and if there are any additional thoughts or feelings that are going on for them. If you can clearly see something provide observations about what you see. For example, "You seem happy/sad/angry . . ." and etc. Even here it is probably more appropriate to ask questions rather than make a statement.

The critical issue in this moment is to stay connected to their feelings in the way they are feeling them.

If you're unable to handle this, tell them and don't make it appear like it. It could be something like, "Sorry, I can't handle this right now." They'll appreciate it more than pretending (and they'll be able to tell if you are just pretending).

This phase is finished when the issue is seen differently, and a Teen Counseling Articles fresh perspective is achieved.

Stage Three: Doing Different Things

Once they see things differently they will begin to approach things differently or at least plan to.

When someone arrives at you with a problem is to jump to this point immediately. This is a mistake. What is needed is time to explore what is happening and to look at it in a different way.

At this point, you may make suggestions of what has been successful for you.

Don't be enticed by the phrase "Yes But . . . ".

If they give reasons that your suggestions aren't working Don't be a defender. Instead, ask them what they've tried, why it didn't work, and what they can do differently this time.

It is possible to arrange the possibility of them checking in with you to ensure that they can monitor the progress they make with their new approach to performing things.

The stage is finished when they test their new behaviours with you or when they've an idea of the new behavior they would like to test with other people.

The process is largely about listening.

The other person is always aware more about their own situation than you do.

Don't give any advice on what people should do. In the final stage, you might want to share your experiences if you have dealt with a similar issue yourself.

With a bit of practice, you'll become quite proficient very quickly in this area. You could end up becoming someone people come to 'for advice'. So long as you follow this method and do not offer any advice, you will do lots of good and aid many others.

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