1. Select one counselling speciality and discuss how the counsellor would assess the client and decide on the appropriate model or approach to use. Include discussion about possible barriers to communication and effective therapeutic relationship building. 2. Discuss the similarities and differences in the counselling specialities covered in this unit. Provide examples to support discussions. The first meetings with a client should be focused on engagement and assessment. If a counsellor is unsure whether the client will return for further sessions, they should consider including harm reduction strategies in the initial session. A good assessment paints a thorough and detailed picture of the client’s Alcohol and Drug problems and how they fit in the context of his or her life: past experiences, current circumstances, personal makeup and expectations for the future. Understanding this context for a client’s Alcohol and Drug problems enables treatment plans to be individually tailored and improves the success of the counselling undertaking. ( National Institute on Drug Abuse ) There are two types of assessment: the assessment interview and standardised assessment. The assessment interview involves the client and counsellor working together to obtain a shared understanding of the nature of the client’s difficulties and past and present life story. Groth-Marnat (2003) argues that the assessment interview is “probably the single most important means of data collection” and without it, more standardised assessment would be rendered meaningless. Gary Groth-Marnat PhD, 2009. Handbook of Psychological Assessment. 5 Edition. Wiley. Page 78 Assessment involves the collection of information via standardised assessment tools such as questionnaires, which have been evaluated as reliable and valid. Counsellors should be trained to use standardised assessment tools, as the inappropriate use may be detrimental to the client. Some of the problems that could arise include mislabelling clients, misinterpretation of test results and inappropriate feedback of results to the clients. The assessment interview should fulfil a number of important functions within the assessment phase, which include, developing a therapeutic relationship based on trust, empathy and a non-judgmental attitude and helping the client to accurately reassess their drug use, which in turn may facilitate the desire for change. The counsellor needs to help the client, to link their current problems with their drug use and encourage the client to reflect on the choices and consequences of their drug using behaviour. While assessment is an on-going process between the counsellor and the client, the initial meeting should be primarily devoted to engaging with the client, assessing the client’s current difficulties, and developing an initial idea of the client’s treatment needs. The next session or two tend to be primarily devoted to coming to understand the client’s current difficulties in the context of their experiences throughout their life, presenting this understanding to the client, seeking their feedback and modifying your understanding as necessary, and as a result developing with the client a plan to meet the client’s treatment needs. The assessment interview should evaluate a number of different areas including the source of referral, any presenting issues, the client’s drug use history and related harms as well as their readiness to change their Alcohol and Drug use. Denial and motivation are essential themes in the beginning of addiction treatment. For this reason, they are addressed in the first several sessions of counselling and then repeatedly addressed, as needed, throughout the course of treatment. The main strategy is to chip away at the client’s denial by pointing out the addictive behaviours and consequences of addiction and gently confronting the client about their denial. Resistance is a concept that is not directly...
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