Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Rules of Counseling (or Things to Remember in Therapy)

January 12th, 2014

1.  Everyone has strengths.  Remember to ask after, and support, their strengths.
2.  Projection is huge.  Remember that people come to counseling to talk about themselves and their own problems.  Search for any meaning behind their words for they are only talking from their own frame of reference.
3.  Don't be rude; always listen and react kindly (though sometimes being firm is OK too).
4.  Resistance is not inherently negative; in fact, it can show that a client has a firm grounding in a belief structure.  No resistance ever either means 1) that you are the best therapist ever or 2) that the client has no personal belief/thought system.  Also: resistance is a call for some process counseling.
5.  When in doubt, go back to process. This is a good way to increase rapport and possibly go to other topics. Process should not always be a last-ditch intervention.
6.  One of the most important things to understand for most interventions is that they should be what the client needs.  Countertransference is fine (it actually normally isn't), but to sate it during every compulsion will not benefit the client.
7.  Physical touch can be a huge factor in therapy for good or for ill. Boundaries being what they are, a quick hand on hand action, handshake, etc. can show support on a different level than normal talk therapy.
8.  Modern therapy is fixated on the present. To a certain extent, that is good. But we cannot disregard the past.  Situations and relationships may be informed very heavily by past ones. The past is rich with background information and clues to current behavior.


March 18th, 2014

9.  Don't underestimate the value of time in therapy.  If a technique of subject-matter does not work or is not yielding good discussion, it is perfectly alright to come back to it in a session or two.  Half of the time, the conversation will make the client think more during non-session times, anyway.
10.  Nothing happens within a vacuum.  Decisions are never made due to one variable only.  Always search outside the immediate circumstance for more information.
11.  Clinical distance is one of the most difficult things to implement and keep throughout the process.  That being said, it is there for a reason and will help with termination and difficult confronting.
12.  Understand the resources around your practice for continuing care and referral.

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