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TYPES OF COUNSELING

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sympathetic  listener,   their tensions begin to subside. They become more relaxed and tend to become more coherent and rational. The release of tensions does not necessarily mean that the solution to the problem has been found, but it does help remove mental blocks in the way of a solution. Clarified Thinking Clarified thinking tends to be a normal result of emotional release. The fact is that not all clarified thinking takes place while the counselor and counselee are talking. All or part of it may take place later as a result of developments during the counseling relationship. The net result of clarified thinking is that a person is encouraged to accept responsibility for problems and to be more realistic in solving them. Reorientation Reorientation is more than mere emotional release or clear thinking about a problem. It involves a change in the member’s emotional self through a change in basic goals and aspirations. Very often it requires a revision of the member’s level of aspiration to bring it more in line with actual attainment. It causes people to recognize and accept their own limitations. The counselor’s job is to recognize those in need of reorientation before their need becomes severe, so that they can be referred to professional help. Reorientation is the kind of function needed to help alcoholics return to normalcy or to treat those with mental disorders. TYPES OF COUNSELING Counseling should be looked upon in terms of the amount of direction that the counselor gives the counselee. This direction ranges from full direction (directive counseling) to no direction (nondirective  counseling). Directive Counseling Directive counseling is the process of listening to a member’s problem, deciding with the member what should be done, and then encouraging and motivating the person to do it. This type of counseling accomplishes the function of advice; but it may also reassure; give emotional release; and, to a minor extent, clarify thinking. Most everyone likes to give advice, counselors included, and it is easy to do. But is it effective? Does the counselor really understand the member’s problem? Does the counselor have the technical knowledge of human behavior and the judgment to make the “right” decision? If the decision is right, will the member follow it? The answer to these questions is often no, and that is why advice- giving is sometimes an unwise act in counseling. Although advice-giving is of questionable value, some of the other functions achieved by directive counseling are worthwhile. If the counselor is a good listener, then the member should experience some emotional release. As the result of the emotional release, plus ideas that the counselor imparts, the member may also clarify thinking. Both advice and reassurance may be worthwhile if they give the member more courage to take a workable course of action that the member supports. Nondirective  Counseling Nondirective, or client-centered, counseling is the process of skillfully listening to a counselee, encouraging the person to explain bothersome problems, and helping him or her to understand those problems and determine courses of action. This type of counseling focuses on the member, rather than on the counselor as a judge and advisor; hence, it is “client-centered.” This type of counseling is used by professional counselors, but nonprofessionals may use its techniques to work more effectively with service members. The unique advantage of nondirective counseling is its ability to cause the member’s reorientation. It stresses changing the person, instead of dealing only with the immediate problem in the usual manner of directive counseling. The counselor attempts to ask discerning questions, restate ideas, clarify feelings, and attempts to understand why these feelings exist. Professional counselors treat each counselee as a social and organizational equal. They primarily listen and try to help their client discover and follow improved courses of action. They especially “listen between the lines” to learn the full meaning of their client’s feelings. They look for assumptions underlying the counselee’s statements and for the events the counselee may, at first, have avoided talking about. A person’s feelings can be likened to an iceberg. The counselor will usually only see the revealed feelings and emotions. Underlying these surface indications is the true problem that the member is almost always initially reluctant to reveal. 4-27



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