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Counselling Interview skills Essay

I declare that this assessment is my own work, based on my own personal research/study . I also declare that this assessment, nor parts of it, has not been previously submitted for any other unit/module or course, and that I have not copied in part or whole or otherwise plagiarised the work of another student and/or persons. I have read the ACAP Student Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct Policy and understand its implications.

I also declare, if this is a practical skills assessment, that a Client/Interviewee Consent Form has been read and signed by both parties, and where applicable parental consent has been obtained.

1. Briefly explain how you would go about gathering information to assess Tim’s current developmental and mental health status.

I would go about gathering information about Tim’s developmental and mental health status by using active listening skills. I would be paying attention to Tim’s body language and taking note of such things, as his difficulty in maintaining eye contact. I would be asking Tim open questions to help him talk in more detail about his mental health issues, an example of an open question I would ask is ‘can you tell me more about that?’, and ‘could you tell me about the time you overdosed on drugs?’, so that I can have a deeper understanding of the key points regarding Tim’s mental health.

I would also be asking Tim some closed questions to obtain specific information regarding Tim’s current mental state, an example of this is ‘are you still on medication for depression?’, and ‘are you still feeling depressed?’, and depending on whether or not Tim’s overdose was an attempted suicide, I could also ask, ‘have you had any thoughts about taking your life?’, so that I know his current mental state. I would be paraphrasing during our session so that Tim knows that I understand what he is saying and how he is feeling. I would be taking notes in this session so that I can refer to key points. I would summarise what Tim’s key issues are, so that he has a chance to add any further information that may have been missed, and that may be important.

2. Identify and briefly describe two of Tim’s mental and/ or developmental health issues.

Two of Tim’s developmental and mental health issues are, his past and or current state of depression and the fact that Tim may have attempted suicide. Although Tim spent six months in hospital as an in-patient and has now been home for three months, he may still be struggling with depression and suicidal ideation, if his drug overdose was an attempted suicide. Tim is experiencing moodiness and irregular sleep patterns, as well as a lack of focus and motivation, he also has trouble maintaining eye contact. These symptoms may be the result of his depression or suicidal ideation, or they could be a sign of a developmental problem brought about by Tim’s drug overdose. As Tim was given drugs for his depression, his symptoms could also be the result of side effects from the drugs he has been taking.

3. If you do not have the capability or authority to assess Tim’s current mental or developmental health status, briefly explain how you would consult the appropriate person. If I did not have the capability or authority to assess Tim’s current mental or developmental health status, I could do two things. I could consult with my supervisor. I would ask Tim for his permission to discuss his concerns with my supervisor to gain advice from someone who has more experience than I do, so that his current mental health is assessed correctly. I could also consider referring Tim onto another health care professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Another option would be to ask Tim for permission to contact Tim’s previous psychiatrist and request from them, either a letter of referral or Tim’s client records, pertaining to Tim’s current mental health status.

4. Describe what factors you would take into account that may have impacted on the appearance and behaviour of Tim in relation to counselling services to be delivered.

The factors I would be taking into account regarding the appearance and behaviour of Tim in relation to counselling services to be delivered would be, the fact that Tim has suffered from depression in the past and may still be currently experiencing depression. Tim may have attempted suicide by overdosing on drugs or his drug overdose could have been accidental. Tim’s confidence has been shattered. This could explain why he has trouble maintaining eye contact or it could be the result of developmental delay due to Tim’s drug overdose. Or he could be experiencing side effects from his medication.

5. Briefly explain how you would clarify whether the counselling you can offer is suitable for Tim.

I would have to evaluate my own level of experience and the area of counselling I am currently working in. Tim’s needs are the most important factor to consider. Tim has been hospitalised in the past and has seen a psychiatrist. While Tim was in hospital he was assigned milieu therapy, given drugs and also assigned to group therapy. I would be taking all of these things into account when evaluating whether to refer Tim. I think I would like to work with Tim, as he has already had the above mentioned treatments and found them to be unhelpful. I think Tim may benefit from counselling that offers a client centred approach. I would explain to Tim how the client centred approach to counselling works, so that Tim can decide if this type of counselling approach would be something he feels comfortable pursuing.

6. Briefly describe how you would recognise and refer potentially serious issues for Tim in line with organisation requirements.

I would be able to recognise and refer serious issues for Tim by familiarising myself with my organisations protocols, their referral procedures and referral lists. The type of organisation I worked for, and the type of counselling that is offered, would be a factor when deciding if Tim should be referred on to another organisation or professional. Things to consider would be Tim’s age, gender, the nature/and or seriousness of Tim’s issues. If Tim did intend to take his own life and still has suicidal thoughts he would need to be referred to a mental health facility or possibly referred back to the hospital that was treating Tim three months ago. If Tim was to be referred on, I would organise this as early as possible, so as not to make it harder on Tim to transfer to someone else.

7. Briefly describe the skills you would use with Tim to help clarify his problems and develop a counselling relationship.

When meeting Tim for the first time, I would introduce myself, I would be open, friendly and informal. I would be trying to put Tim at ease so that he feels welcome and safe. I would have noticed that Tim has trouble maintaining eye contact, so I would be very casual in the first few minutes, allowing Tim to get familiar with his surroundings. After all the formalities have been explained to Tim and he has accepted them and decided to stay, I would say ‘what is it you would like to talk to me about today?’ I would then tune in to Tim and listen with interest. I would be using minimal responses, paraphrasing, and summarising skills to let Tim know that I am understanding him and caring about what he is saying.

The first few sessions with Tim would be all about building rapport, and developing our relationship. After this has been established, I would use zooming out skills to help Tim see that he is not alone and that he has people in his life that care about him, and are able to offer their support. I would be asking open and closed questions to determine Tim’s current mental state, an example would be ‘can you tell me a little more about the drug overdose’ so that I could clarify if it was accidental or an attempted suicide. I would work with Tim on developing a list of what he feels are the key issues he would like to work on. This will help Tim clarify for the both of us what the key issues are.

8. Briefly describe how you would consult with Tim’s parents or significant others to gather information, if the need presented itself.

If the need presented itself I would introduce the idea of inviting Tim’s parents along to one of our counselling sessions to Tim. I would explain to Tim that ‘sometimes it can be helpful to ask those who are close to you to come along to counselling with you, so that we can have more insight into how the relationships at home have been affected by all that has happened, and so that we have another point of view of the situation’. I would only go ahead with this if Tim consented.

9. Briefly describe what records and notes you would record for this client.

Notes on next page.

Clients Name: Tim
Clients Age: 25
Date of Session: 20/11/14
Session # 1
Session Duration: 60 minutes
Others Present: Nil
Status of Session: Kept
Location: Office
Information given by client:

Tim is a 25 yr. old male. In final yr. of uni hospitalised for drug overdose during a bout of depression. In-patient at hospital 6 mths. Assigned milieu therapy, given drugs for depression, saw psychiatrist occasionally, also assigned group therapy, which proved to be aimless. Been home for 3 mths. Living with parents, says they worry about his moodiness and irregular sleep patterns. Finds it hard to focus and lacks motivation to finish uni, but wants to one day. Feels confidence was shattered. Has trouble maintaining eye contact. Looking for part time work, avoids full-time work for fears of being asked about his past. Feels he has a terrible secret he has to keep form everyone.

Summary of clients issues:

Overdosed on drugs, during a bout of depression. May/may not have been attempt at suicide. Hospitalised and kept as an in-patient for 6 mths. Had milieu therapy and group therapy. Saw psychiatrist occasionally, prescribed drugs. Tim’s confidence is shattered. Parents worry about Tim’s moodiness/irregular sleep patterns. No motivation/focus to finish uni. Avoids full time work, fears talking about past (embarrassed). Feels he has to keep his past secret from everyone (ashamed). Notes of counsellor: I feel that Tim may benefit from a client centred approach to his counselling. The key issues for this client are outlined above.

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