The current blogspot will be based on the question “what are the advanced counseling skills?. We will enlist advanced counseling skills. We will also learn the various advanced counseling techniques in detail. We will discuss the uses and impacts of various advanced counseling skills.
What are the advanced counseling skills?
Advanced counseling skills are the various techniques that are applied by the therapist to gain a deeper insight into the client’s underlying personality mechanisms and help them identify, recognize and resolve the various barriers to their functional life.
For implementing the advanced counseling skills, the therapist needs to be well trained and well equipped with the basic counseling skills that he needs to use for establishing therapeutic alliance with the client. Once a strong rapport has been built, the therapist can use the advanced counseling skills with the clients.
Following are the advanced counseling skills that are mostly used by counselors:
- Assessing ego states
- Naming ego states
- Crisis intervention
- Counselor self disclosure
- Information giving and removing obstacles to change
- Microskills for counseling
- Analyzing defense mechanisms
Assessing ego states
Assessing ego states is an advanced counseling skill that is used by the counselor to identify and recognize the ego state switching by the client. It is always beneficial to understand and address the ego states separately so that the individual ego states have an opportunity to be expressed to the fullest.
For example if a teenage client says “ a part of me really loves doing recreational drugs but a part of me goes into guilt and pushes me to get over it”. The counselor needs to address both ego states of the client separately. The client’s verbatim including the statements “ recreational drugs are costly, i waste my money on recreational drugs, i think i am betraying my parent’s trust as they are not aware of my drug intake habit, in future my recreational drugs might push me to be a regular drug abuser” is analyzed by the counselor for the ego state that is preparing the client for getting rid from the recreation drug habit.
Whereas on the other hand when the client says “i like to do recreational drugs, it makes me feel more like my friends, i am better happy for no reason after the recreation drugs, it is a manly thing” the therapist is able to highlight that he is in a ego state that makes him enjoy and seek pleasure from the recreation drugs.
The therapist uses multiple chairs to talk separately to both the ego states of the client and the presenting problem of the client is thus attended well. The client is asked to talk about only one side of the concern that makes him enjoy recreational drugs while sitting on the first chair and to talk only about the second ego state that makes him think about stopping himself from doing recreational drugs. If between the activity, the client talks about the menace of doing recreational drugs while being on the first chair, he is immediately prompted by the counselor.
Inorder to satisfy each state that governs a client’s problem area, it is recommended to use multiple chairs so that each state has the opportunity to express itself to the fullest and get satisfied. Considering the above example, it might happen that the client while sitting in the first chair wants to quit recreational drugs to save money to buy a new gadget and also wants to quit recreational drugs in order to have a healthy life.
In such a scenario, the therapist will add another chair to the activity to separate the two different ego states that favour quitting the recreational drugs, one due to health concerns and the other due to moneysaving.
Accessing ego states is used by counselors to help the client’s reach a conclusion by expressing their ego states to a point that they reach a conclusion.
Naming ego states
The advancing counseling skill of naming ego states is used by therapists to name the different ego states as per their underlying motive. For example, the ego state related to continuing doing recreational drugs can be named “party” and the ego state that wants to quit recreational drugs due to health issues can be called “Health” and the ego state that wants to quit recreational drugs for saving money to buy a gadget can be named “saving box”.
The therapist can ask the client to name the different ego states himself by asking him when he has listened to a specific ego state and asking “what would you like me to call this side of your personality?”. At times the client’s end up naming their ego state as a third person like “John” or “Siera”. It is acceptable to relate to ego states by human names.
The therapist can also write the names of the different ego states on different chairs in order to refer to each state so that the client can better relate to each chair. This will help the clients to speak directly from their respective ego state parts.
Crisis intervention is an advanced therapy skill that works on keeping a client from re experiencing the trauma in life or any of its pathological impacts that hinder the client’s psychological well-being. The crisis intervention aims to :
- Helps the client’s to restore their routine functioning to the level near to the life that the client had before the traumatic event.
- It minimizes the impact of the traumatic event on the client’s emotional, physical, psychological and social life.
- Facilitate the client to reintegrate to society
- Improve the client’s healthy coping mechanisms
Confrontation is an advanced counseling skill that is used by the counselors and psychotherapists to identify the discrepancies in their words and actions, to help understand the contradictions in the two different ego states and to overcome the ambiguities that keep the client’s from enjoying their life to the fullest.
Through confrontation techniques the counselors are able to understand the client’s denial related to certain life areas and events that they resist to share or talk about.
Confrontation is usually direct and involves empathy. It needs to be based on a strong therapeutic alliance and the counselor needs to be a keen observer of various discrepancies, ambiguities and incongruencies that the client reveals while sharing information about his problem area.
For example, a client might say “I have always been neglected and treated as inferior to my younger sister by my father” and he also might share “my father supports me the most in my family”. The therapist can observe these contradictory statements and later in the sessions relate them to the client for a conflict resolution.
Counselor self disclosure
The counselor’s self disclosure involves the therapist sharing his or her own life experiences or learning in life with the client with an aim of empathizing with the client. The aim of the counselor’s self disclosure is to generalize the client’s experience so that the client may benefit from the life experience of the therapist.
Counselor self disclosure does not involve the counselor sharing his or her life experiences in order to meet his or her own needs. Counselor self disclosure should not be a deliberate effort of the counselor to share any part of his personal or professional information with the client.
Immediacy in counselling is an advanced counseling skill. Immediacy is when the therapist or the counselor talks in the session about here and now and draws inferences based on the client’s verbatim and his body language.
Immediacy may involve the counselor to pick up events before the counseling session and discuss with the client about whatever is happening in the counseling session. For example the counselor might say “I have observed whenever we talk about your ex-husband you clench your fists hard and look towards the ground with a heavy voice”.
The advanced counseling skill of interpretation involves the therapist to conclude and summarize the client’s thoughts and feelings related to various spheres of life. The counselor needs to have a strong rapport with the client that enables the therapist to understand the affective and cognitive component of the client’s problem area.
The counselor can thus state to the client “ what I understand is that you often feel insecure around your father since you witnessed him hitting your mother”.
Information giving and removing obstacles to change
The advanced counseling skill of information giving and removing obstacles to facilitate change in the client is used by counselors to aid the client towards the desired goal in counseling. The therapist facilitates the client by providing information through psychoeducation, immediacy, empathic confrontation, self disclosure, accessing ego states, interpretation and crisis intervention.
Through imparting information and knowledge about the healthy coping mechanisms and emotional regulation, the counselor enables the client to identify, realize, understand and comprehend the differences in their actual and ideal self.
The clients are better able to address the unresolved conflicts and work towards their resolution with the counselor’s facilitation through the advanced counseling skills.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Microskills for counseling
The various microskills in counseling are the skills that the counselor uses to enhance their communication skills with the clients. Through the use of microskills in counseling, the counselors are able to establish a working alliance with the clients.
The microskills for counseling include the following :
- Attending skills including active listening and responding with empathy and unconditional positive regard.
- Questioning skills including the knowledge of using the open ended and close ended questions, probing questions and clarification questions.
- Confrontation in order to surface the incongruencies and enable the client to accept contradiction in their words and actions.
- Focusing on the client’s behavior, problem area, family and the way he or she reacts to the therapist.
- Reflection or meaning of the client’s verbatim and the client’s behavior in order to understand the underlying feelings of the client and gain a deeper insight into the effect of the problem area on the client’s life spheres.
The current blogspot focuses on the various advanced counseling skills that can be used by therapists and counselors to connect better with their clients and help them address their underlying conflicts and facilitate them to resolve their problems.we learned that advance counseling skills need to be used after establishing a strong rapport with the client and having a sound knowledge of the impact of the technique being used on the client therapist relationship. We also discussed the advanced counseling skills of confrontation, immediacy, interpretation, counselor self disclosure, interpretation and microskills.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs): Advance counseling skills
What are the five counseling skills?
The five counselling skills are as follows:
- Active listening and responding
- Unconditional positive regard
What are the 6 stages of counseling?
The 6 stages of counseling are :
What are the skills of a counselor?
The skills of a counselor include :
- Non judgemental attitude
- Unconditional positive regard
- Active listening and responding
- Ability to attend to the emotional needs of the client