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1. Briefly describe how you could support Vara to work with her uncertainty and difficulties about making the right choices for her future.
As Vara’s counsellor I think I could support Vara by helping her find a bit more clarity in her life. She seems to be at a point in her life when she wants to implement some changes, but she is still somewhat unsure of what she wants. I would start with open and respectful questions, giving Vara an opportunity to think further afield than her current situation. As Vara is still somewhat unsure of her goals, I would use a broad approach to explore some of Vara’s resistances and past experiences. So that she could identify what her strengths are, and the resources that she may have available to her. Once Vara has identified what some of her goals may be, I could use the SMART technique with Vara. I believe that this technique would be beneficial to Vara’s counselling, as she could then identify if the goals she has chosen are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
2. Briefly describe three interventions you could use to support Vara to gain clarity and understanding and make the appropriate changes in her life.
Three interventions I could use to support Vara in gaining some understanding and clarity, to make the appropriate changes in her life are. Behavioural interventions, cognitive interventions, and interactional (systemic) interventions. I believe behavioural interventions would be beneficial for Vara. She has stated that over the years she has acted ‘the dutiful wife’ to placate her husband. Using a behavioural intervention can help Vara develop new behaviours in regards to her relationship with her husband Alec. She could role play new behaviours in counselling to gain some confidence. Cognitive interventions, deal more with the thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that Vara has towards herself and her husband Alec. Using this intervention can help Vara think differently about her current situation.
Vara has stated that she is ‘fed up and wants to end the marriage’ but she is afraid to voice this to her husband, as she is worried about what his reaction may be. Vara is also experiencing feelings of anxiety in regards to how she will cope on her own. In counselling I think it would be helpful for Vara to identify her strengths, so that she can feel more confident. Interactional (systemic) interventions deal with relationship patterns with other people, tasks or situations. Using this intervention will help Vara identify that her relationship with Alec has formed a pattern. Her role in the relationship is to placate Alec and act ‘the dutiful wife’. While Alec’s role is to be in control, he is the ‘traditional’ male and expects Vara to tend to his every need. Vara could use role play in counselling to try a different pattern of behaviour.
3. Identify and briefly describe how you could help Vara identify and use her unknown strengths.
I could help Vara identify her unknown strengths, buy asking open respectful questions. During Vara’s counselling I could help her identify her past achievements. Before she married Alec and came to Australia, she worked as a teacher. This type of profession is suited to someone who has strength of character. Vara has also gone out and found herself a part time job, and is saving her money, so she is more than capable of supporting herself financially. Vara has raised three children who all seem to be doing well in their lives. Vara has the support of her two close friends, Julie and Maria. I would ask Vara to identify, when in her past she has overcome adversity, what were some of the strategies she used, that were successful in making changes.
4. Briefly describe two micro-skills you could use to clarify Vara’s feelings about her situations.
Two micro-skills I would use to help Vara clarify her feelings about her situation are Reflection of feelings and reflection of content and feelings. Reflection of feelings will ensure that Vara knows, I have understood how she is feeling about her situation and that I can empathise with her. This micro-skill is useful for helping Vara gain some clarity about her feelings. For example, when Vara describes how she is feeling about ending her marriage, I could say something like this, ‘you’re feeling fed up’. Another example would be when she talks about whether she should leave her husband is, ‘you’re feeling anxious’ and ‘you’re feeling conflicted’.
Reflection of content and feelings is another micro-skill I would find useful for Vara. Reflection of content and feelings is different to reflection of feelings, as it combines paraphrasing and reflection of feelings. Again the aim of this skill is for Vara to have some clarity concerning her feelings about her situation. For example when Vara describes how she is feeling about ending her marriage, I could say something like this, ‘you’re feeling fed up with your relationship’. When Vara talks about whether she should leave her husband, I could say, ‘you’re feeling anxious about whether you will manage on your own’ and ‘you’re feeling conflicted about ending the relationship with Alec as you still love him’.
5. Explain how will you monitor and review Vara’s and your own perceptions of the counselling process to ensure it remains of value.
In regards to Vara’s resistance to take any of the steps she had decided on in earlier sessions. I would ask some open questions to determine why Vara is resistant to taking the steps she decided on. I could ask her ‘what stopped you from taking these steps’. It is more than likely that the steps Vara decided on taking may have been too ambitious for her at this time. As Vara has only had six counselling sessions, she may need to take a step back, and explore her issues a bit more. I would try to help Vara recognise that she is in control of her life and ultimately she is the best judge of her readiness to change. In regards to monitoring myself during the counselling process, I would be having regular sessions with my supervisor. This will help me identify any blind spots I may have in the counselling sessions with Vara. If I felt stuck with Vara, having a supervisor will ensure that I have access to advice from an experienced counsellor. Supervision is essential for my own wellbeing and for Vara’s as well.
6. Briefly describe how you would respond to this disruption in the counselling process.
I would respond to Vara’s concerns by saying something like this, ‘although you have been seeing me for six weeks now, I am hearing that you are experiencing feelings of hopelessness and uncertainty, in regards to the effectiveness of counselling. It might be worthwhile to explore the option of seeking some other type of help’. I would not want to pressure Vara into continuing with counselling, if she really felt that it was not helping her. I would let her know that if she ever decides to resume counselling with me, I would be more than happy to see her again.
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Topic: Facilitate the Counselling Process
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