1. Completion of five Section Activities:
300 words each Total: 1,500 words
apply advanced a)counselling skills to a range of interactions with clients, including working with themes, narratives and blind spots; solution-focused counselling skills; and relaxation techniques
develop genograms to b)map family structures, and apply genograms to assessment of clients’ family histories
develop and apply c)skills in case conceptualisation to understand underlying factors contributing to clients’ presenting problems
use principles of d)suicide risk assessment to identify risk factors and warning signs
f) apply skills of counsellor self-disclosure, immediacy, normalising and reframing appropriately to build the counselling relationship and shift client perspectives
Question 1.2. 1.Construct a genograms of your own family using the standard symbols. Graphically display at least 3 generations. Use the Queensland Government (2009) website: as a reference in addition to the notes provided in this section to depict the basic structure of your family – show relationships, names, ages and note who is living in your household. Use a large piece of paper as the genogram will often require more space than anticipated.
2.Use the questions provided below as a guide to drawing out relevant and useful family history once you have developed the basic structure. You can note other relevant information by using the questions below around your family genogram.
•How have the family responded to experiences of grief and loss such as miscarriages, bereavement, separations and divorce?
•How do relationships start and end?
•How have values and beliefs about work, education, divorce, money, family and religion been passed on down the generations?
•How do family members support each other?
•How much contact do family members have with each other?
•How have disputes/friction between family members been handled?
•Which are the strong and weak relationships?
•How important is family?
•What contact is there any with children from previous marriages and relationships?
•How would you describe individual family members? Who do you most resemble?
•How would you describe your relationships with your father, mother, siblings, extended family, ex partners, etc?
•Are there any patterns you can see in the genogram in career choices, successes, illness, names, violence, and alcohol or drug abuse?
3.Reflect on the process of constructing the genogram and the patterns displayed.
•Do you think genograms are a useful tool? What should counsellors be aware of when mapping family histories with clients?
Question 2.2. Use Steps 1 and 2 of Boylan and Scott’s (2009) case conceptualisation model and develop appropriate questions to use in assessment sessions with new clients. Make sure the questions you develop are not closed questions (yes/no answers) and do not repeat questions developed for previous steps.Step 1:Step 2:
Question 3.2. Watch the Tightropes and safety nets: Counselling suicidal clients video on YouTube, which explores counsellors’ reactions to working with suicidal clients.
1.Which reactions expressed by the counsellors featured in the clip do you relate to?
2.Are there feelings or thoughts expressed by the counsellors that you do not empathise with? Write down these reactions and reflect on the reasons why you can’t empathise or accept them.
3.As a beginning counsellor, what can you learn from this video clip about managing suicide risk?
Question 4.2. Scenario 1
A young apprentice, John, works in a garage as a mechanic. He discusses an anxiety-provoking situation at work in the session. Some of the older mechanics have been hassling him each morning and targeting him with practical jokes. When you respond that this is unfair, he says ‘It’s normal and I just have to get used to it’. It becomes clear that he has stopped going out as much on weekends. He says he is too tired to see friends. You notice a burn on John’s leg and ask him what happened. He says that it happened at work but doesn’t say any more. You ask John if he has tried to talk to the boss at work and he says, ‘That would only make things worse, I couldn’t take any more crap from the other guys if they knew that I complained’. John believes he just has to put up with the hassling and somehow it will get better.
What blind spots can you identify in John’s current thinking?
What would a new perspective look like for John?
What actions could result from this insight?
A young woman, Stella, discusses her inability to establish a relationship with her counsellor. She is 28 years old and a lawyer. She thinks that men are threatened because she is a strong woman. ‘I think I scare men off because I don’t umm and ahh when they talk or swoon over them. I prefer to have intellectual discussions and get a sense of who they are by what they think and how they express themselves’. Stella says she doesn’t enjoy small talk and prefers to get straight to the point.
What blind spots can you identify in Stella’s current thinking?
What would a new perspective look like for Stella?
What actions could result from this insight?
Adapted from: Egan, G. (2009). Exercises in helping skills: A manual to accompany the skilled helper (9th ed., pp. 94–98). Belmont, CA. Brooks/Cole).
Question 5.1. There are a number of movies that feature counselling relationships in which counsellor self-disclosure is deeply woven into the plot. Two such films are Good Will Hunting (1997) (can be rented inexpensively from YouTube) and Antwone Fisher (2002). Watch one of these films and answer the questions below:
1.Describe any indirect self-disclosures by the therapist you noticed.
2.What examples of direct self-disclosure did you identify?
3.Choose an interaction in which the therapist self-disclosed, and describe the impact of that disclosure on the client and the client-therapist relationship.
4.Was the self-disclosure appropriate? Was it useful to the client? Explain the reasons for your answer.
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