“the Relationship Between Counsellor and Client Is the Most Influential Factor in Whether Counselling ‘Works’”. Critically Discuss This Statement from the Perspective of at Least Three Approaches to Counselling.

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Relationships play an important role in everyday life. You or I may define a relationship with a person in many different ways depending on the context with whom the relationship is with, whether this be peers, colleagues or loved ones. So is it possible to have a relationship with someone who you don’t know, someone such as a therapist? It may be possible; however this is not the type of relationship that is being described within counselling therapy. The client-counsellor relationship is unlike these day to day relationships that you may form with peers or loved ones, it is highly specialised; depending on the approach, it is usually informal in a structured manner, with boundaries and rules to dictate where the relationship may or may not go. These boundaries can have a powerful effect on the degree of the relationship; for instance the provision of confidentiality can help the client self-disclose more easily, and this confidentiality in turn creates and provides an atmosphere of trust which has been described as an aspect of an intimate relationship (Monsour, 1992). This essay will focus on the relationship process in different counselling approaches; namely Existential counselling, Psychodynamic counselling and Person-Centred counselling. It will aim to understand the process and therapeutic approach used in counselling and how the relationship between client-counsellor evolves and what effect this will have on the outcome. Throughout history, support has been seen to be a key aspect of recovery from illness. Iroquois Indians believed the cause of ill health to be unfulfilled wishes (Wallace, 1958 [cited in McLeod, 2009]); diviners would discover these unfulfilled wishes which were seen to be unconscious, and organise a festival of wishes where by neighbours, loved ones and the community would help to fulfil these wishes. In countries such as India the prevalence of mental health counselling is relatively low; the notion that western counselling theories and can be transported across from individualistic societies to collectivistic society may be seen as inappropriate. In India family support, even today, is still seen as being used as the first point of contact for illness; culture and religion plays a significant role in the day to day lives. Western society was not so different to this before industrialisation. Religion played an important role in the western societies, where mild emotional and interpersonal problems were dealt with by priests (McNeil, 1951 [cited in McLeod, 2009]), and a shift from “tradition centred” (Riesman, 1950 [cited in McLeod, 2009]) to “inner-direction” approach was seen with the rise of Freudian and Rogerian counselling. According to Burnard (1992) “the main point of working in the health care field is to communicate”. Communication is broad, and the form of communication that takes place is as varied as those in the relationship. The positioning of people and body language all contribute to revealing the feelings of one person to another (Argyle, 1983); this is because non-verbal communication, unlike verbal communication can not be effectively withheld. Morrison & Burnard (1997) say that listening and attending are “by far the most important aspects involved in counselling”, and that clients would lose faith in a counsellor who stares out of the window or fiddles with a pen. If a counsellor uses Rogers’ (1957) core conditions, the counsellor will be exhibiting a presence which is inviting and warm, and allows for an effective therapeutic relationship. Rogers is seen as the founder of ‘client-centred approach’ (often referred to as person-centred). The approach involves the counsellor helping the client find their own solutions to problems, without the counsellor giving direct advice (Morrison & Burnard, 1997). The person-centred approach believes the client is the best authority on themselves and their experiences, however that achieving this potential requires favourable conditions...
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