Blog

What is Counselling?

EngChuan

25/06/2024

What is Counselling?

You’ve probably heard a lot about Counselling.  What is it exactly? Counselling is a form of therapy where individuals, couples or families have “conversations” with a professional Counsellor. Through these conversations or interactions, Clients share about and address emotional, psychological, and/or behavioral issues they face. Counsellors work through these issues with Clients to improve their mental health and overall wellbeing. The way a counsellor works depends on the theoretical approaches he/she adopts.

Theoretical Approaches in Counselling:

  • Psychoanalysis: Founded by Sigmund Freud, this approach delves into unconscious processes and unresolved past conflicts. It aims to bring these to the conscious mind through techniques like free association and dream analysis.
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Developed by Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis, CBT focuses on identifying and modifying dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviors. It is highly structured and goal-oriented, often used for treating depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
  • Person-Centered Therapy: Championed by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, this approach emphasizes personal growth and self-actualization. It relies on creating a supportive and non-judgmental environment to facilitate self-exploration and development. Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT), which is the primary modality which Caper Spring Counsellors practice, has its roots in Person-Centered Therapy.
  • Behavioral Therapy: Based on the principles of learning theory, behavioral therapy aims to change maladaptive behaviors through techniques like conditioning, reinforcement, and exposure.
  • Integrative and Holistic Approaches: Increasingly, Counsellors are drawing from various approaches and therapeutic models to address the unique needs of different clients. 

The Process of Counselling

So now we know that Counselling primarily involves a conversation guided by some of the theoretical approaches adopted by the Counsellor. But how does the Counselling Process look like? Broadly speaking, every client’s journey follows the steps of Exploration, Goal Setting, Task Agreement and concludes in Evaluation and Termination.

Exploration

By the time a client comes in to see a Counsellor, they have probably been dealing with the distress for a period of time. The Counsellor will be supporting the client to speak about their current situation. This is often a daunting process. You can imagine that it is going to be tough speaking to someone whom you have not met and saying things that are very personal. Yet our Counsellors are trained to be empathic and non-judgemental.

Goal Setting

At the start of every Client’s journey in therapy, they’ll first discuss what issues they would like to work on. This provides a direction for the counseling process and helps in tracking the progress of the Client.

Task Agreement

What is task agreement? It is a professional term in counselling. It means what are the “tasks” that need to be done to reach the goal. In Emotion-Focused Therapy, the Counsellor would guide clients to activate painful memories, and the associated emotions. These tasks often involved working on the Client’s relationship with themselves or with another person. In Caper Spring, the use of Chair Work is common. 

Evaluation and Termination

Progress with the client is evaluated regularly. Once the goals are achieved, the present cycle of Counselling can be terminated. The relationship with the Counsellor, however, is not terminated and Clients are free to reach back out in the future if they wish. Follow-up sessions may also be scheduled at longer intervals for check ins and ensure that Clients maintain their progress.

The counselling process above broadly delineates the journey that a client typically takes with his or her Counsellor at Caper Spring. Please do note that while the steps below are indicative, no two clients share the same journeys as they explore and work through their own unique set of issues with their Counsellor.