Counselling Tutor

Counselling Tutor
By Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes
About this podcast
The Counselling Tutor podcast serves student counsellors and psychotherapists in training. Rory Lees-Oakes and Ken Kelly examine the theory and practice of counselling and deliver academic content in an easy to understand and fun podcast.

Students of Person Centred counselling, Transactional Analysis and behavioural models such as CBT will find something relevant to their studies on the Counselling Tutor Podcast.
In this podcast

Counselling Tutor

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Latest episodes
Feb. 10, 2018
068 – Expressive Therapies – Reviews in Counselling – Working with Goals In episode 68 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes talk about the strengths and hazards of expressive therapy, before ‘Practice Matters’ examines reviews in counselling. Then, the presenters discuss goal-setting with clients. Free Download: Reviewing ProgressClick here to download your Reviewing Progress handout   Expressive Therapies (starts at 2.05 mins) Expressive therapies include the use of art, drama and music in counselling. They were originally developed by Natalie Rogers, the daughter of Carl Rogers. He described her as ‘ploughing new ground’ in this respect. Expressive therapies are often used on residentials for student counsellors; one exercise that Rory and Ken have used in this context is painting masks to show the (outer) face that you show the world and the (inner) face that you see yourself. Expressive therapies can be very powerfully emotional, showing clients – very suddenly and strikingly – important things about themselves. As this can feel overwhelming to the client, it is important to prepare them for this level of revelation and impact. Another possible hazard is that some clients might find it hard to get involved if they believe they are not at all artistic. The activity can bring back difficult memories of childhood and school. It is important to reassure clients that it’s not about producing an amazing work of art, but rather about creating something that has meaning to them. It’s also important not to force clients to engage in expressive work, but to build trust and the therapeutic relationship before offering them this possibility in an open way, so they can refuse if they so wish. Expressive therapies are particularly useful when working with children, who may find it harder than adults to express in words what they are feeling and thinking. In this context, the products of the creative activity can also be used (with the permission of the young person) to show parents, so giving them insight into their child. It is vital to be qualified and to have undertaken continuing professional development in how to use expressive therapies safely before attempting to do so with clients.   Reviews in Counselling (starts at 13.11 mins) Some counsellors favour doing regular reviews with clients (usually every six sessions), while some who practise the classical person-centred approach feel that this risks coming from the therapist’s – rather than the client’s – frame of reference. Reviews are commonly used in both transactional analysis and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and in healthcare settings. A review aims to find out how therapy has affected the client, and in particular what has changed as a result. It can also help inform how the client would like future sessions to be used. It can be particularly useful when the number of sessions is limited, though it is important not to make too much of the number remaining, as this could pressurise the client. Sometimes, measurement tools (such as CORE forms) are used to give a quantitative score reflecting how the client is feeling. Rory offers a number of tips on reviewing in counselling: Do mention to the client when contracting that you plan to do reviews, and check how they feel about this. Make it clear to the client that you will not be reviewing their ‘performance’ – in other words, it’s just to see where they feel they’re at, not measuring how well they have done. Explain that the review also offers them the chance to ask for what they want from future sessions. Ideally, give at least one session’s notice of a review, so that the client isn’t caught unawares. If, when the planned day for the review comes, the client has something urgent they want to talk about instead, let them do so and save the review for the next time. Make sure you listen openly to how the client feels they’ve changed: what seems like a tiny change to you may be huge for the client. If the client has been spontaneously reviewing as they’ve gone along, there may be no need for a specific review. Be gentle and respectful – and remember that therapy is a process, not an event. You can download Rory’s handout on this topic here, or it is also available in the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR). Free Download: Reviewing ProgressClick here to download your Reviewing Progress handout   Working with Goals (starts at 23.52 mins) Carl Rogers believed that all behaviour is goal-directed. Rory refers to the adage that ‘without a goal, you cannot score’. While goal-setting is associated more strongly with some modalities than with others, it can be useful in any type of therapy to ask the client what they would like to work towards changing. This can help the therapist and client to work to a common goal. A potential downside of goal-setting, however, is that a client who likes to please people may state a goal that they believe is what the therapist wishes to hear. Some goals may also be too ambitious and be unrealistic (this trait could in itself form part of the client’s process that you could then look at in therapy). Also, some clients may not be honest if they feel they have not achieved their goal and/or may feel a failure in this situation. If goal-setting is to be used in counselling, it must therefore be applied with care.   Links and Resources Counselling Tutor Facebook group Counselling Tutor website Counselling Study Resource Counselling Tutor Handouts Vault Basic Counselling Skills: A Student Guide The post 068 – Expressive Therapies – Reviews in Counselling – Working with Goals appeared first on Counselling Tutor.
Feb. 3, 2018
067 – Difference and Diversity in Counselling – Recognising Own Transference – Writing a Reflective Journal for Submission In episode 67 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes talk about difference and diversity in counselling. ‘Practice Matters’ focuses on how you, as counsellor, can recognise when you are experiencing transference relating to a client. Finally, the presenters discuss writing a reflective journal when this needs to be submitted to your tutor. Free Download: How to Recognise Your Own TransferenceClick here to download your How to Recognise Your Own Transference handout   Difference and Diversity in Counselling (starts at 2.04 mins) Differences between people can be hidden or visible. Examples of areas of difference and diversity include gender, faith position, ethnic origin, sexuality and disability. In counselling, the key thing is not to make assumptions about the client either based on just parts of their lives or because you are applying your own frame of reference. We need to see people as their whole selves – i.e. as fellow human beings – not as either stereotypes or as constructions based on our own views. Our frame of reference is inevitably influenced by many factors, e.g. our culture, upbringing, family set-up, political stance, personal values and educational background. Counselling training helps us become more self-aware so that we don’t unknowingly project our views onto clients.   Recognising Own Transference (starts at 9.53 mins) Rory opens ‘Practice Matters’ by describing the example of a counselling student who is feeling frightened of a client, even though the latter has done nothing to bring about this feeling. After talking this through at length with Rory, the student suddenly realises that the scent that the client is wearing is the same as one worn in the past by an abusive partner. Transference happens when someone reminds us of a person from the past, and we transfer emotions relating to the past relationship onto the current relationship. Because it is often a subconscious process, it can be hard to spot. Your supervisor is a key ally in identifying transference. Rory gives some clues as to when transference may be causing problems in the therapeutic relationship: It is hard to focus on your client: you feel distracted during the session. You are unable to get into the client’s frame of reference. You experience feelings that don’t relate to the client’s themes and emotions. You dislike – or over-like – the client for no clear reason. The client is in your thoughts between sessions for no clear reason. You feel an urgency to help the client more than you do for other clients. You want to refer the client for no clear reason. You can download Rory’s handout on this topic here, or it is also available in the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR). Free Download: How to Recognise Your Own TransferenceClick here to download your How to Recognise Your Own Transference handout   Writing a Reflective Journal for Submission (starts at 19.57 mins) Students on counselling courses are often expected to keep a reflective journal – this is important in mapping your personal-development journey. Often, these are just for your own eyes – but what if your course requires that you submit your journal? In this case, it is important to check the criteria, so you can ensure that your meet these (you might find it helpful to watch Rory’s CSR lecture on how to crack criteria). Once you understand these, do consider how much you wish to reveal in your journal. While it is good to challenge yourself and not always just to stick with what is completely comfortable, it is important that you don’t expose yourself more than feels right for you. Similarly, it may be best to think about what you are sharing about your peers, asking yourself whether material is truly yours to share. After all, counselling training is about learning how to behave professionally towards clients. A good counsellor would neither force a client to reveal more than they wished, or reveal confidential things about other people. Rory quotes the example of John Shlien, who worked with Carl Rogers, In his book, To Lead an Honorable Life (PCCS Books, 2003: 1), Shlien spoke of visiting a poppy field to watch the flowers open in the sun, observing that he could force the petals open in an effort to speed up the process, but that doing so inevitably damaged the beautiful flower within. In other words, people must be allowed to open safely in their own good time. If you do need to submit a reflective journal, there is nothing to stop you keeping a separate one for your own private use, where you can be fully open.   Links and Resources Counselling Tutor Facebook group Counselling Tutor website Counselling Study Resource Counselling Tutor Handouts Vault Basic Counselling Skills: A Student Guide The post 067 – Difference and Diversity in Counselling – Recognising Own Transference – Writing a Reflective Journal for Submission appeared first on Counselling Tutor.
Jan. 27, 2018
066 – Is All Counselling Person-Centred? – Boundaries in Counselling – When Clients Change the Topic In episode 66 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes ask whether all counselling modalities are based on the person-centred approach. ‘Practice Matters’ then looks at boundaries in counselling. Last, the presenters discuss possible reasons for clients changing the topic in the counselling room. Free Download: Boundaries in CounsellingClick here to download your Boundaries in Counselling handout   Is All Counselling Person-Centred? (starts at 1.54 mins) Is it fair to say that all counselling, whatever the modality, is based on the person-centred approach? It’s certainly true that the core conditions of empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard form the basis for most modern therapeutic encounters. Sometimes, these conditions are known by different names – for example, transactional analysis refers to ‘empathic attunement’. There is wide agreement that the therapeutic relationship is always key, and that the core conditions are universal ingredients of this. The idea of the ‘relational turn’ in counselling and psychotherapy is developed in Transactional Analysis: A Relational Perspective by Helena Hargaden and Charlotte Sills (Routledge, 2002). Rory and Ken refer to the dodo bird verdict, named after the Alice in Wonderland story in which various characters get wet and the dodo encourages them to run around the lake until they are dry. Nobody measures how far each person runs or for how long. When asked who had won, the dodo replies: ‘Everybody has won and all must have prizes.’ Applied to counselling, the dodo bird verdict suggests that more than 500 different modalities are effective, so long as the therapist has skill and empathy, there is close rapport between the therapist and patient, and there are common therapeutic goals. The concept of the dodo bird verdict was introduced by psychologist Saul Rosenzweig in 1936. However, in person-centred therapy, there are also an additional three ‘hidden’ conditions, and the full set of six conditions is considered not only necessary but also sufficient for therapeutic personality change. Other modalities, meanwhile, have their own theories and techniques to supplement the core conditions.   Boundaries in Counselling (starts at 12.36 mins) The Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions, published in 2015 by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, requires us to work in line with six core principles: trustworthiness, autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice and self-respect. Rory discusses common types of boundary issues in the counselling context, including: rescuing – e.g. using sympathy rather than empathy, and assuring the client that everything will be OK time management – e.g. cancellation of sessions by the client, or regular lateness transference – i.e. the client reminds us of someone from our past, and this affects our boundaries. You can download Rory’s handout on this topic here, or it is also available in the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR). Free Download: Boundaries in CounsellingClick here to download your Boundaries in Counselling handout   When Clients Change the Topic (starts at 19.37 mins) For what reasons might a client change the topic? This happens in counselling more than you might think. Ken and Rory discuss various possible reasons, such as: the client not being ready to talk about the issue (perhaps if trust is not yet fully established in the therapeutic relationship) it being hurtful or painful for the client to talk about an issue, and so they choose instead to escape to a place of comfort and safety. In person-centred therapy, we don’t lead the client towards something they are reticent to discuss, but we follow them if they wish to go there themselves. We may, however, comment on their process if they are changing the topic, respectfully challenging this. For example, you could say: ‘I notice that every time I mention [topic], you talk about something else. I’m wondering if that’s a really difficult thing for you to talk about.’ Timing is all. Clients may often wish to work on an issue (hence their presenting for counselling) but find it hard to go there. It can be dangerous to push a client; the most we can ethically do is to invite (but not direct) a client to look at something.   Links and Resources Counselling Tutor Facebook group Counselling Tutor website Counselling Study Resource Counselling Tutor Handouts Vault Basic Counselling Skills: A Student Guide The post 066 – Is All Counselling Person-Centred? – Boundaries in Counselling – When Clients Change the Topic appeared first on Counselling Tutor.
Jan. 20, 2018
065 – Decoding Criteria – Making Referrals – Using Timelines in Counselling In episode 65 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes explain how to decode the academic language of criteria. Following on – in ‘Practice Matters’ – Rory advises on making referrals. Finally, the presenters discuss how to use timelines in counselling. Free Download: Making a ReferralClick here to download your Making a Referral handout   Decoding Criteria (starts at 1.41 mins) Criteria – the requirements that counselling students have to fulfil in order to pass their qualification – can be really slippery. They are often couched in academic language that bear little resemblance to the everyday language we are used to. It is helpful to start by looking carefully at the main verb in the instruction, for example ‘explore’, ‘compare’, ‘describe’, ‘analyse’ or ‘evaluate’. Ken and Rory dissect an example criterion, explaining what it means in plain English. When addressing criteria, it is important to stick to the question and not to prevaricate: you will not get any credit for material that doesn’t answer the question, however good this might be. Rory has done a lecture on how to decode academic language; this is available in the Counselling Study Resource (CSR).   Making Referrals (starts at 13.18 mins) The Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions, published in 2015 by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, requires us to work within our competence (in terms of both qualifications and clinical experience). This may require us to refer clients. In Counselling Skills for Managers (PHI Learning, 2007), Singh gives five situations where the counsellor would need to refer: when the client’s presenting issues lie outside your proficiency (e.g. psychosis or adoption – the latter was covered in Podcast 58) when the counsellor and client do not gel for some reason, e.g. personality clash or transference when the client’s issues turn out to relate to someone whom the counsellor knows when the client is not ready to disclose their issues (e.g. they may need a different type of help from another agency first) when the client has done as much therapeutic work as they wish for now but is hesitant to finish (e.g. the sessions may be becoming more like cosy chats than counselling). Rory goes on to offer some good-practice tips on making referrals: If you work at an agency, ask the staff where they would usually refer and make a list of the possible places, so you have a list ready. Always talk to your supervisor before referring a client. Before making a referral, always check that the client would like to be referred, and decide together who to refer to and the best timescale for this. Record what you have agreed and done in the client’s notes. Remember that making a referral is not a sign of weakness or incompetence on your part; it is a natural and important part of professional practice. You can download Rory’s handout on this topic here, or it is also available in the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR). Free Download: Making a ReferralClick here to download your Making a Referral handout   Using Timelines in Counselling (starts at 23.46 mins) Timelines can be a useful tool in counselling when a client has experienced a number of significant events, and when they have a visual learning style. They are particularly useful when dealing with grief and with attachment issues. If you are a person-centred counsellor, it is important not to impose this technique on them but instead to suggest it, inviting them to try it if they would like to and feel it would be useful. It would be best to suggest this once you have established the therapeutic relationship rather than to spring it on a new client. Using timelines can be both affirming and informing. As the exercise might give rise to overwhelming emotions, it is safest to do with the client rather than suggesting to them that they do so between sessions. Your presence will support them in exploring any strong feelings that may emerge. Many person-centred therapists these days do use creative methods in their work.  Natalie Rogers, daughter of Carl Rogers, was a proponent of this style of working, as shown in the following video clip.     Links and Resources Counselling Tutor Facebook group Counselling Tutor website Counselling Study Resource Counselling Tutor Handouts Vault Basic Counselling Skills: A Student Guide The post 065 – Decoding Criteria – Making Referrals – Using Timelines in Counselling appeared first on Counselling Tutor.
Jan. 13, 2018
064 – Language Use by Clients – Assessing Clients – Person-Centred Interventions In episode 64 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes discuss what to do when a client uses language that you might be uncomfortable with or not understand. Next, in a brand-new slot – ‘Practice Matters’ – Rory offers guidance on assessing clients. Last but not least, the presenters discuss person-centred interventions. Free Download: Why Do a Counselling AssessmentClick here to download your Why Do a Counselling Assessment handout   Language Use by Clients (starts at 3.35 mins) Suppose a client uses the phrase ‘That’s gay’ to describe something in a disparaging way: should you challenge them on this usage? Rory believes that our job as counsellors is not to be agents of social change, policing clients’ use of language. It is possible that the client may be testing the counsellor, or even that the usage may link to what is going on for the client. Another possibility is simply that the language is part of the client’s vernacular, and that they don’t realise that it may cause offence. What matters is the intent behind the words. If we are unsure what a client means by a certain word or phrase, it is best to clarify this with them. In this example, we could say, ‘When you say, “That’s gay,” I wonder what you mean by that.’ Exploring their language use in this way can help us find out where they are in their development and in acceptance of self. Another example if a possible ambiguity might be a client describing something as ‘sick’ (which, in the UK, traditionally means unwell, but can also be used – especially by young people – in a positive sense, to mean that something is really good.   Assessing Clients (starts at 11.41 mins) Although client assessment may seem not to be a natural part of person-centred counselling, in fact it has always been part of this modality, even in Carl Rogers’ day. For example, Gloria – with whom Rogers carried out a famous filmed session – was handpicked for this. Why is it important to assess clients? Rory talks through a number of different areas that it is important to cover in assessment in order to prepare properly for the start of therapy. These include the client’s needs for and expectations of therapy, support requirements (e.g. for interpreters, disabled access, hearing loops and preference regarding therapist gender) and working style. Sometimes, what you can offer may not be right for the client (in which case, a referral may be needed) – or not right for the client at this time (e.g. if they have other practical issues, such as financial problems, that they need help with from another agency first). Should you read a client’s referral information before you see them for the first session? Rory used to choose not to do this, believing that this would help him hear the client without a filter – but now he thinks it is better to do so. One particular advantage of reading the referral in advance is that it avoids a client who has been affected by abuse, neglect or trauma from going over it all again if they would prefer not to. Finally, Rory asks: should students do assessments? In agencies where students are working, there will usually be a qualified, experienced counsellor who assesses new clients and then allocates them to an appropriate therapist. But it is still a good idea to do your own ‘soft’ assessment at your first session with a new client, partly as it may have been some time since their initial assessment, and partly as it sets a good habit for when you are qualified and perhaps working in private practice. You can download Rory’s handout on this topic here, or it is also available in the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR). Free Download: Why Do a Counselling AssessmentClick here to download your Why Do a Counselling Assessment handout   Person-Centred Interventions (starts at 27.33 mins) Does person-centred counselling use interventions? Rory explains that this modality has changed over the years, so that Rogers’ session with Gloria is not representative of typical person-centred work these days. ‘Interventions’ could be seen as synonymous with ‘skills’; Ken and Rory talk through the various interventions that you might use, including the core conditions (three of the six necessary and sufficient conditions), immediacy, questions (which must be used appropriately, e.g. to clarify our understanding of the client’s frame of reference) and silence. All these can be very powerful in the therapy room.   Links and Resources Counselling Tutor Facebook group Counselling Tutor website Counselling Study Resource Counselling Tutor Handouts Vault Basic Counselling Skills: A Student Guide The post 064 – Language Use by Clients – Assessing Clients – Person-Centred Interventions appeared first on Counselling Tutor.
Dec. 23, 2017
063 – Patterns of Relating – Cyber Trauma – When Your Moral Compass Shifts In episode 63 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes offer guidance on the meaning of the term ‘patterns of relating’. ‘Theory with Rory’ looks at the new area of cyber trauma. Finally, the presenters discuss the life-changing nature of counselling training, which often brings about large shifts in students’ moral compasses. Free Download: Cyber TraumaClick here to download your Cyber Trauma handout   Patterns of Relating (starts at 4.15 mins) What does the term ‘patterns of relating’ mean? It refers to how historically clients relate to themselves and others. Encompassing ideas such as transference and countertransference (originally from psychoanalysis), and conditions of worth and introjected values (from the person-centred approach), patterns of relating link strongly to attachment theory, as originally developed by John Bowlby. Children’s early caregivers have a major impact on how they relate to other people in adulthood. Ken and Rory advise not to underestimate the impact of our own attachment style in the counselling room. It is important too to remember that we filter everything we experience through our own self-concept, leading to possible misconceptions and miscommunication. It is vital always to check back our understanding of what clients have said with them – for example, through paraphrasing or summarising.     Cyber Trauma (starts at 11.50 mins) The term ‘cyber trauma’ was originally coined by psychotherapist Catherine Knibbs. Cyber trauma is a theoretical framework that covers trauma that occurs through, with or from the medium of the online world. It can be immediate, delayed or retrospective – and it is both an event and a process. The advent of the digital world means that information spreads very fast. For example, it is very easy to lose ownership of your own material. Not knowing who ‘stole’ your information, and the lack of control over it, makes cyber trauma particularly distressing. You can download a handout on this topic here, or it is also available in the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR). Free Download: Cyber TraumaClick here to download your Cyber Trauma handout   When Your Moral Compass Shifts (starts at 19.45 mins) Counselling training really can be – and often is – life-changing, as the personal development that forms such an important part of it makes us re-assess our moral compass. It can become difficult to accept family and friends as we did before. You may find that other people whose company you previously enjoyed now seem unacceptably judgemental. Ken and Rory offer the following tips: Ask yourself: am I being judgemental too? Sometimes, this is a natural stage in counselling training, which may settle as you gain more experience. It is natural though to make changes during and after counselling training, with many students choosing to spend their time and energy differently from before. If you are struggling to accept friends and relatives who are speaking judgementally, ask yourself: ‘Where is their fear?’ Often, prejudices are based on fear, insecurity, and a lack of knowledge. Remember that the feelings you are having are evidence of your personal development, which is a wonderful thing, but can also be disconcerting and even painful. Speaking up against judgments – and becoming and working as a counsellor – take courage. To conclude, Rory quotes Maya Angelou: ‘Without courage, we cannot practise any other virtue with consistency.’ And Rory adds the words of Mahatma Gandhi: ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’   Links and Resources Counselling Tutor Facebook group Counselling Tutor website Counselling Study Resource Counselling Tutor Handouts Vault Basic Counselling Skills: A Student Guide The post 063 – Patterns of Relating – Cyber Trauma – When Your Moral Compass Shifts appeared first on Counselling Tutor.
Dec. 16, 2017
062 – First Contact with Clients – Philosophy of Martin Buber – Challenging Our Own Prejudice In episode 62 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes offer tips on how to make the first contact with a new client. ‘Theory with Rory’ summarises Martin Buber’s concept of ‘I–Thou’ versus ‘I-It’. Last, the presenters discuss the difficulties of seeing our own areas of prejudice. Free Download: Martin Buber’s I and ThouClick here to download your Martin Buber’s I and Thou handout   First Contact with Clients (starts at 2.32 mins) What do you say in the very first telephone contact with a new client? While some agencies have staff who will do this for you, other agencies require counsellors to contact clients themselves after initial assessment to arrange the first appointment. Ken and Rory offer some useful tips on this: Remember that the client will have been expecting your phone call. Try to choose a quiet place to make the call. Use an agency phone rather than your own, unless you can be sure you can stop your number from showing. Check that the assessment/referral notes to see whether the client has stated which times/days are best for them to receive a phone call. Start off by giving your name and role, and checking with the client that it is a convenient time to speak. You have not yet contracted with the client, and this is a transactional conversation rather than a counselling session, so try not to let the client open up too much about their difficulties at this stage. You could say something like: ‘I hear that you’re carrying a lot; maybe we could talk about this in the session.’ Explain to the client that the number you have called from is not monitored all the time, so that they know it is not a suitable port of call in a crisis.   Philosophy of Martin Buber (starts at 14.40 mins) Martin Buber was an anthropological philosopher who was born in Vienna in 1878. His idea about the difference between I–Thou and I–It relationships relate to the difference between the medical and social models of mental health. Buber strongly influenced Carl Rogers, who was concerned with building and sustaining meaningful relationships in therapy. Buber’s book Ich und Du (since translated into English as I and Thou) was first published in 1923. In an I–It relationship, one human is the passive recipient of the other’s influence or control (for example, a patient receiving a traditional medical diagnosis). In an I–Thou relationship, meanwhile, the communication is truly human-to-human and equality-based (e.g. when a counsellor establishes a meaningful connection with a client). You can download a handout on this topic here, or it is also available in the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR). The difference between the medical and social models will be explored in depth in a CSR lecture by Rory on 17 December 2017. Free Download: Martin Buber’s I and ThouClick here to download your Martin Buber’s I and Thou handout   Challenging Our Own Prejudice (starts at 17.50 mins) How can we identify and challenge our own personal prejudices? Every human has prejudices and if we believe we don’t, it’s because they may be invisible to us. Indeed, true prejudice is the one we do not see, acting out of a set of beliefs we hold as the truth but that in fact marginalise or downplay someone else. Personal development is key here, perhaps supported by personal counselling. Clinical supervision is also invaluable in spotting prejudice in relationships with clients.   Links and Resources Counselling Tutor Facebook group Counselling Tutor website Counselling Study Resource Counselling Tutor Handouts Vault Basic Counselling Skills: A Student Guide The post 062 – First Contact with Clients – Philosophy of Martin Buber – Challenging Our Own Prejudice appeared first on Counselling Tutor.
Dec. 9, 2017
061 – Ethical Dilemmas versus Ethical Conflicts – Rackets and Stamps in Transactional Analysis – Id, Ego and Superego In episode 61 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes explain the difference between ethical dilemmas and ethical conflicts, and how you can deal with these. ‘Theory with Rory’ looks at rackets and stamps, part of transactional analysis (TA) theory. Finally, the presenters illustrate the id, ego and superego (part of psychodynamic theory). Free Download: Racket Feelings and Stamp Collecting - Key TA TheoryClick here to download your Racket Feelings and Stamp Collecting handout   Ethical Dilemmas versus Ethical Conflicts (starts at 2.40 mins) What is the difference between an ethical dilemma and an ethical conflict? Rory explains that an ethical conflict occurs when two things ‘bump into each other and you know it’. For example, an ethical conflict would exist if you offered to counsel a colleague or your partner, because there would be a dual relationship, which the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) cautions against: ‘We will establish and maintain appropriate professional and personal boundaries in our relationships with clients by ensuring that … any dual or multiple relationships will be avoided where the risks of harm to the client outweigh any benefits to the client’ (BACP, 2015: 8). Ken gives another example of an ethical conflict: when your agency’s operating procedures conflict with those advocated in the BACP’s Ethical Framework. Some drugs and alcohol agencies, for example, require counsellors to tell them if a client is using substances – in other words, they have different rules on limits to confidentiality. Ethical conflicts can often be resolved by careful contracting, if you explain accurately and openly what is on offer and the client accepts that. If you, as a counsellor, feel unhappy with an agency’s operating procedures, don’t be afraid to try to get these changed or to decide you can’t work for that agency. Rory describes how some of his students raised their concerns with their agency (about the contract) and got this changed; the agency was delighted to have engaged and proactive counsellors on-board. Ethical dilemmas, meanwhile, require you to think through a difficult situation where the answer is not clear-cut. In other words, you need to make a ‘judgement call’. Two examples of ethical dilemmas might be: A client arrives at an appointment, having driven there. You can see they are under the influence of alcohol. Do you report them to the police? Your agency asks you to counsel a client in a room that is clearly not soundproof. Do you go ahead? The most important thing when faced with an ethical dilemma is to think it through carefully: you need to make sure that whatever decision you make is defensible. Ultimately, it is about courage and candour. It can help to phone the ethics department of the BACP; another useful resource is Tim Bond’s ethical problem-solving matrix. You can download this here, or it is also available in the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR).     Rackets and Stamps in TA (starts at 13.32) You may know someone who is prone to suddenly ‘blowing up’: becoming angry at something that seems to you nothing, or very trivial. This can be confusing or frightening for those on the receiving end, or those around the angry person. TA has a theory that may explain what is happening here. In TA, a racket occurs when a child replaces an authentic feeling with one that’s more socially acceptable to their parents. This becomes part of the child’s life script and they no longer feel the authentic emotion. People who hide or restrict their real feelings tend to keep these as bad memories – and accumulate them as you might stamps on a supermarket loyalty card. Then, every so often they ‘cash in’ these stamps by having an angry outburst. Some people may save up their stamps for a day – and others for years – on their emotional legacy card. You can download a handout on racket feelings and stamp collecting here, or from the Handouts Vault or CSR (where you can also find Rory’s lecture on TA). Free Download: Racket Feelings and Stamp Collecting - Key TA TheoryClick here to download your Racket Feelings and Stamp Collecting handout   Id, Ego and Superego (starts at 16.20 mins) These concepts come from the psychoanalytical theory of Sigmund Freud, the father of talking therapies. Freud believed in drive theory: that the human psyche controlled by biological drives. Rory compares the id, ego and superego to the child, adult and parent in TA (though in psychodynamic theory, the superego relates more to societal than to individual values). He illustrates the three concepts using an image suggested by fellow tutor Glenys Arthur. If faced with a large chocolate cake, each component of the self might act as follows: Id: ‘I want to eat all that cake – now!’ Superego: ‘That would be so bad for your health. You really should have some fruit instead.’ Ego: ‘I know you want to eat it all, and it’s true that wouldn’t be good for your health. But you need some treats in life. So why not enjoy one slice?’   Links and Resources Counselling Tutor Facebook group Counselling Tutor website Counselling Study Resource Counselling Tutor Handouts Vault Basic Counselling Skills: A Student Guide The post 061 – Ethical Dilemmas versus Ethical Conflicts – Rackets and Stamps in Transactional Analysis – Id, Ego and Superego appeared first on Counselling Tutor.
Dec. 2, 2017
060 – Self-Care for Counsellors – Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development – Comparing and Contrasting Humanistic Models   In episode 60 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes discuss how to look after yourself as a counsellor, especially when you are experiencing difficult events in your own life. ‘Theory with Rory’ presents the work of Jean Piaget. Last, the presenters explain how to compare and contrast humanistic models of counselling. Free Download: Piaget's Stages of Cognitive DevelopmentClick here to download your Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development handout   Self-Care for Counsellors (starts at 2.25 mins) What do you do to cope as a counselling student when, say, you have recently experienced a close family bereavement? It is already hard to juggle studying, working and family responsibilities. When a major event in your personal life comes along too, it’s more important than ever time to ensure you are taking proper care of yourself. Ken uses the analogy of the oxygen mask on an aeroplane: you must fit your own before you are in a fit state to look after others. It is so important to be willing to speak about your personal experiences – doing so is a sign of strength, not weakness. For example, you may wish to share your feelings with a good friend, peers on your course and/or your personal counsellor. If you are in practice, it is vital too to tell your supervisor. Although you may be reluctant to take a break from counselling and/or your studies for fear of getting behind, sometimes recognising your own need to rest and taking action on this can actually help you be more effective and efficient in the long term.   Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development (starts at 11.15) Rory describes the theory of cognitive development developed by Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist with an early interest in zoology. He observed his own children’s development as a way of informing his work on how the human brain works, and how this influences what we can do. The Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (2015: 8) states: ‘Careful consideration will be given to working with children and young people that … demonstrates knowledge and skills about ways of working that are appropriate to the young person’s maturity and understanding.’ It is therefore really important for counsellors and psychotherapists who will be working with children and young people to have a sound understanding of the developmental stages of the human brain. Rory goes through the key developmental stages of a baby/child, explaining typical abilities at each stage and how we can understand these through the lens of brain development. He has prepared a detailed handout describing these stages, which you can download here; this is also available in the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR). The CSR also includes a lecture on working with bereaved children; Rory has made available one slide from this here, with a challenge for podcast listeners – which of Piaget’s developmental stages do you think is described in this slide? Do visit the Counselling Tutor Facebook group to let us know what you reckon! Free Download: Piaget's Stages of Cognitive DevelopmentClick here to download your Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development handout   Comparing and Contrasting Humanistic Models (starts at 28.00 mins) ‘Compare and contrast’ is a regular instruction in counselling assignments, but what does it actually mean? Above all, don’t overcomplicate it: it is simply asking you to describe the similarities (‘compare’) and differences (‘contrast’) between two or more things. When the things that you must compare and contrast are ‘humanistic models’, however, this can seem confusing. While some people erroneously believe that the person-centred approach is synonymous with a humanistic approach, in fact various other modalities are today humanistic too. For example, modern-day (relational) transactional analysis (TA) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are also humanistic, in that they treat the client as human, i.e. not classifying them according to a label or diagnosis. This, therefore, is the basis of the similarity between these approaches. The contrast lies in the fact that while person-centred counselling does not use techniques (since Carl Rogers asserts that six necessary conditions are sufficient to bring about therapeutic personality change), TA and CBT do. Their techniques involve teaching clients models to apply in their lives.     Links and Resources Counselling Tutor Facebook group Counselling Tutor website Counselling Study Resource Counselling Tutor Handouts Vault Basic Counselling Skills: A Student Guide The post 060 – Self-Care for Counsellors – Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development – Comparing and Contrasting Humanistic Models appeared first on Counselling Tutor.
Nov. 25, 2017
059 – When Your Personal Beliefs Differ from the Client’s – Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing – Hitting Awarding-Body Criteria In episode 59 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken and Rory discuss how to offer unconditional positive regard (UPR) when your client has very different personal beliefs from your own. ‘Theory with Rory’ looks at the work of Eugene Gendlin, who developed the approach of focusing. Finally, the presenters offer encouragement on meeting the criteria of awarding bodies for counselling qualifications. Free Download: Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing TherapyClick here to download your Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing Therapy handout   When Your Personal Beliefs Differ from the Client’s (starts at 3.37 mins) What do you do when your personal beliefs, values and experiences are at odds with your client’s? Counselling training shows us that what we considered to be ‘truths’ are in fact all our own views of the world – that is, seen through our own frame of reference. It can sometimes be a struggle to offer a client UPR. Ken and Rory make the following suggestions: Ask yourself while you are training: what would I struggle to work with? Reflecting on this and exploring the reasons behind our difficulties with certain clients/issues can provide great personal development as well as making us better counsellors. If you really feel unable to offer a particular client UPR, it is ethical and respectful to refer them to another therapist who can provide this. Remember that UPR doesn’t mean approving of everything the client has done or said: this idea is sometimes known as ‘separating the sin from the sinner’. In other words, we don’t judge the underlying person for their action. Ken reminds us of Carl Rogers’ analogy (in A Way of Being, 1980: 22): ‘People are just as wonderful as sunsets if I can let them be.’ In other words, we just enjoy sunsets; we don’t think about how they might be a bit better if they had more – or less – of a different colour. Just as with sunsets, we need to let people be their real, natural selves.   Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing (starts at 11.33) Having provided a short biography of Eugene Gendlin, who studied under – and then became an associate and colleague of – Carl Rogers, Rory explains focusing. This is an avenue of person-centred counselling, to which a chapter is dedicated in The Tribes of the Person-Centred Nation (edited by Pete Sanders, 2012). Focusing would a good approach to cover if you were writing an assignment about developments in person-centred counselling. Gendlin drew on the work of French philosopher Merleau-Ponty, who believed that phenomenology was based on a felt, visceral sense. Gestalt therapy draws on this same idea. In focusing, the therapist helps the client gain awareness of self in a bodily sense, directing the client to their felt sense as a way of identifying and understanding edge-of-awareness feelings. This approach is therefore more directive than traditional person-centred therapy. It also uses techniques, for example disidentification (looking at how clients separate themselves from their feelings). You can download a free handout written by Rory on focusing; this is also available in the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR). Free Download: Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing TherapyClick here to download your Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing Therapy handout     How to Hit Awarding-Body Criteria (starts at 23.02 mins) While counselling training is an amazing and enlightening experience in terms of personal development and skills acquisition, many students experience the requirement to attend to criteria, evidencing their ability to meet these, as tedious. It can feel like being asked to jump through hoops, and may seem far removed from the real nature of counselling as a one-to-one interpersonal relationship. Do remember that you are not alone in feeling this way, and that there are resources out there to help you. For example, one of the key skills in hitting criteria is accuracy: doing exactly as you are asked when instructed to, say, list, explain, define, analyse or evaluate. Rory has written lots of materials on how to help with this; these are available through our paid service, the CSR – see under ‘Assignment Guide & Exemplars’ and (for the final stage of the ABC Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling) ‘ABC External Portfolio Key’.   Links and Resources Counselling Tutor Facebook group Counselling Tutor website Counselling Study Resource Counselling Tutor Handouts Vault Basic Counselling Skills: A Student Guide The post 059 – When Your Personal Beliefs Differ from the Client’s – Eugene Gendlin’s Focusing – Hitting Awarding-Body Criteria appeared first on Counselling Tutor.