The concept of goals and how to achieve them should be introduced early in the counseling process. Clients need time to prepare for making life changes in an orderly fashion in order to proceed with their lives outside of the counseling relationship.
After emotionally stabilizing the client, counselors should next look for ways to help the client look at specific issues and counselling in luton prepare to address those issues in an orderly way. This takes the form of establishing goals and then working toward achieving them.
A good therapist should be able to help the client define specific problems so strongly effecting the client that he or she sought therapy. Rather than simply listening and reflecting, counselors have a duty to help the client define specifics.
Looking at the specific issues can often be difficult because multiple issues probably do exist. However, it is likely one or two specific areas of the client's life are clearly defined enough to refine into a goal.
An example would be a client who has entered counseling because of a general feeling of being out of control. The client feels they have no influence in their lives and life seems to be simply happening to them without them having any sway over the conditions.
Therapist should help the client define one area, at first, that the client can begin to focus upon as they seek to achieve greater control in life. For example, perhaps the client is smoking and there inability to quit has contributed to feeling of being out of control.
The therapist would explore this by bringing up the issued. A client would likely hear something like the following from an experienced counselor: "Jane, I've noticed you've mentioned not being able to quit smoking has something that is very frustrating for you. You said it contributes to making you feel out of control of your life. Is this something you would like to address specifically to see if we can help you stop smoking."
If the client affirms, then the therapist can begin the goal process.
Achieving Goals in Therapy
In order to achieve a goal in the counseling process, three conditions must exist:
The client must admit there is a specific problem contributing to the stress bringing them to the counseling relationship.
The client must have reasonable control over the area and not contribute the problem to others or outside causes.
The client must be willing to address the issue and work toward establishing a method to resolve the issue.
Once the client and therapist have identified the goal, the therapist should next help the client set up a series of steps to address the issue. These goals should be broken down into smaller steps to be achieved in sequence.
In the above example, Jane should not set the goal of immediately stopping all smoking with no other intervention. After all, according to American Lung Association estimates only 10% of smokers successfully achieve this smoke-free goal using the cold turkey method! Rather, the therapist will want to help Jane identify some specific smaller steps she could take in her goal to become smoke-free.
In breaking down the big goal into smaller steps, the therapist should also help the client establish time frames for each of the smaller steps. In this method, each step becomes its own smaller goal with a method for evaluating the smaller goal.
The therapist will want to explore the successful completion of the smaller step with the client to see if the methods they had selected were effective. If the goal was not met, the therapist should work to generate other ideas and strategies for attempting to meet the goal again.
Achieving goals as a part of therapy should consist of:
Identifying the goal and both client and therapist agreeing it is achievable.
Breaking the goal down into smaller goals or steps.
Setting a time frame and action plan for each smaller step.
Evaluating the success of each step before moving forward.
Clients and therapists should both expect false starts and backsliding along the way. After all, the idea of exerting power and control over their lives may be a new concept for the client. However, with time and effort, the helping relationship should yield measurable results.
One of the main parts of counseling should be helping clients set goals for specific areas over which they have control. Counselors should assist the client in clarifying goals, breaking down goals into smaller steps and celebrating and encouraging successes both large and small.