The Counseling Process

May 14 11:09 2016 Dr Sadaqat Ali Print This Article

In considering the counseling process, think of a beginning, middle and an end each with main areas of focus/tasks. Built upon a solid foundation of relationship, moving forward toward goals a blend of art and of science

Applies In All Theoretical Orientations

Five Stages

  • Relationship Building
  • Assessment And Diagnosis
  • Formulation of Counseling Goals
  • Intervention And Problem Solving
  • Termination and Follow Up

Stage One: Relationship Building

Tasks here include

  • Laying Foundations For Trust
  • Establishing The Structure And Form The Relationship Will Take
  • Informed Consent Process
  • Articulating Roles Of Counselor And Client Developing A Collaborative Working Alliance

Relationship BuildingConsider how do we develop rapport,Guest Posting create relationship with our clients? What is it that we bring to the relationship that helps us create a foundation of trust and willingness to work collaboratively toward goals?

Core Conditions Necessary for Successful Counseling

  • Developed Rapport
  • Create Relationship With Clients
  • Bring To The Relationship That Helps Us Create A Foundation Of Trust And Willingness To Work Collaboratively Toward Goals That Are:
  • Empathetic Understanding
  • Unconditional Positive Regard
  • Congruence
  • Immediacy
  • Concreteness
  • Self disclosure
  • The Purpose Served

Empathy -> promotes rapport and relationship

Unconditional Positive Regard -> Client as person of worth separate from actions

Congruence -> Genuine self in client interaction

Respect -> Strength focus

Immediacy -> Here and Now

Confrontation -> Promotes realistic, accurate view

Concreteness -> Attention on what is practical

Self disclosure ->Promoting positive perception and appropriate focus in counseling relationship

Using Counseling Skills Effective Listening Early stages of the counseling relationship afford the chance to build Counselor understanding of client and issues faced. Using counseling skills to gather information, to begin to formulate impressions


  • Use Listening Skills And Attend To Nonverbal
  • Listen For The Underlying Communication


  • Be a Judgmental Counselor
  • Jump to Conclusions

Stage Two: Assessment and Diagnosis

Task of This Stage


  • The Nature of the Presenting Problem What Kind of Change Is Sought
  • Seeing Problem In-Context to the Client’s Larger World
  • Keeping an Eye on Strengths and Resources
  • Counselor Builds Hypotheses during This Stage And Throughout

Assessment and Diagnosis

  • Gathering Information To Promote Understanding Of Client’s Situation
  • Use Standardized (Psychological) and Non Standardized (Clinical Interview) For Assessment
  • The Counseling Sessions Provide Useful Clues About the Nature of the Client’s Problem
  • Once Problem Areas Are Clearly Identified, The Counselor And Client Are Able To Establish The Goal Of The Counseling Process

Stage Three Formulation of Client Goals

  • The Client Articulates Where They Want Their Counseling Journey To Take Them
  • Client Role as One Of Driving The Bus
  • Enhances Sense Of Ownership And Motivation Factors Important In The Change Process
  • Well Identified Goals Help Create a Road map and Mean to Evaluate

Five Categories Counseling Goals

  • To change an unwanted or unwelcome behavior
  • To better cope
  • To make and implement decisions
  • To enhance relationships
  • To help client’s journey of growth toward achieving potential

Stage Four:   Intervention and Problem Solving


New perspectives on both the way clients have looked at the problem and ways they might approach:

  • Confrontation vs. Care Frontation
  • Self Disclosure as Appropriate
  • A clear, simple plan toward goals

Characteristics of a Good Treatment Plan

  • Goals are clearly defined and reachable
  • Plan able to be adapted with time
  • Positive and action-oriented focus

Stage Five: TerminationCounselor always mindful of avoiding fostering dependency and is aware of own needs preparation for termination begins long before Open door / plan for possibility of future need. Termination considered not just at end of successful relationship, but also is considered when it seems counseling is not being helpful.

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About Article Author

Dr Sadaqat Ali
Dr Sadaqat Ali

Mr. Umar Raza is working at Willing Ways Islamabad Center, as a Clinical Psychologist. After successfully completing his Masters in Applied Psychology from the Government College University Faisalabad in 2013, he joined Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

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