Counseling for Positive Change: How It Facilitates Growth
December 6th, 2022 by David Martin
In life, often, we find ourselves at a point from where there is no turning back. We truly believe that all our efforts will be wasted. However, no matter how dark our surroundings become, there is always a way to guide us from the dark into the light.
That said, counseling is that ray of hope that can reshape our lives. It has multiple benefits, the most prominent being helping people navigate their way out of challenging circumstances, whether the loss of a loved one or financial issues.
Counselling offers tools and insight that help manage mental health and opens the door to rediscovering ourselves. There is quite a lot of stigma surrounding counseling.
People seeking a counselor’s help are deemed unfit and judged compared to those who do not require the treatment. That is not the case; contrary to the common misconception, counseling is for people with or without mental health issues.
Sometimes we cannot understand why we act the way we do. Counselors with years of education and experience understand human behavior and better explain our feelings. It explains why we are the way we are and helps develop solutions to overcome behavioral problems.
Humans can lead a prolonged healthy life and contribute to society if we consciously try to maintain our well-being. Part of it involves changing the thought process that impacts every aspect of our wellness, from physical to psychological.
If you want to shape people’s lives, begin by amplifying your learning through CEPH accredited programs that help you understand the dynamics of wellness.
Below are a few ways to gain further insight into how counseling helps patients deal with change.
1. Relationship Building
Establishing a counselor-patient relationship is the first step that leads to a successful outcome. It is paramount for counselors to dig deep into the issues that affect the client. In this phase, counselors use strong communication skills that instill a sense of trust in patients.
The counselor focuses on using good listening skills, giving the client the impression of being heard, which is one of the crucial elements of building a healthy, positive relationship. Therapeutic relationships are fundamental to counseling.
Once developed, it enables more openness, confidence, and honesty, which is what patients want to feel when seeking counseling. It paves a road for them to speak their mind and be who they want to be without judgment.
The lack of a professional client-patient relationship leaves no room for progress or work. Therefore, it is essential that to ensure needs are met, the foundation for work is laid from the beginning.
2. Analyze the problem
The next step in gravitating toward change is to dig deep into understanding the problem. That is to draw out pertinent information that might be useful in concluding the problem. During this phase, the counselor hangs onto every word while the client continues to put forth their concerns.
As a counselor, it is crucial to understand that helping patients requires creating an environment for patients that allows them to lay everything out. Although it is an evident approach, counselors must make sure the focus is on clients. Keep the spotlight on patients from the beginning of the session to the end.
You can only analyze and find solutions to problems if you work hard to understand the clients. Lack of understanding leads to miscommunication, further complicating things and impeding progress toward the client’s goals.
3. Setting goals
Once the root cause has been found, setting realistic goals is the next step in coming to terms with change. The key element of effective counseling is setting goals that are easier for the patient to achieve.
To achieve the desired outcomes, the process of goal setting must be done with a collaborative effort. Actions matter more when it comes to setting and accomplishing objectives in counseling than words.
Although SMART goal setting is the corporate management’s idea, it is a good frame of reference for any goal formation purpose. Having no definitive set of goals only makes therapy unsuccessful.
4. Take a timeout for self-care
Regardless of the nature of change, self-care often gets neglected when going through the change process, even if it’s for our good. To help cope with the entire process, clients must pay attention to looking after themselves.
That way, it equips patients to manage emotions that result from the change. It is mainly assumed that self-care is a reward, but patients and the counselor must understand that it is much-needed care provided by the individual.
It is about prioritizing your needs and taking measures to meet them. Some self-care tips counselors can recommend patients look into include getting adequate sleep, which significantly impacts an individual’s mental state.
Furthermore, eating well and exercising regularly are self-care tips patients must remember. In the end, a patient succeeds with therapy if they only know what it takes to deal with their emotions.
Change is inevitable, but the hardest thing about it is accepting it, even if it’s positive. It is human nature to resist what is out of our comfort zone. The change process might be uncomfortable, but we must let go of patterns that hinder our growth.
That said, the best way to incorporate change is by seeking a counselor’s help. Acceptance comes with a lot of effort from the patient and the counselor. Although acknowledging your past behaviors is a form of self-reflection, spending too much time pondering on it only makes it difficult to move forward.
It does sound cliché, but the truth is that every end is just the beginning of a new chapter. This kind of mindset gives patients a fresh start. Though the circumstances might be new, the whole process itself is familiar. After all, we make transitions in different stages of life, whether it’s changing schools or jobs.
A change, especially a positive one, is for the patient’s good, and the more a patient shows hesitancy in accepting change, the more likely they are to prevent a change from occurring.
Compared to the idea, the actual work of going through a change takes a lot of effort. Those efforts deliver fruitful outcomes when a counselor enters the picture. Without the counselor’s help, people might feel lost or, in some cases, have difficulty coming to terms with the direction their life is taking.
The process of positively changing people’s lives involves several steps, from professional relationship building to analyzing problems and setting goals. Each step is collaborative work for both the patient and the counselor.
Irrespective of circumstances, a counselor can guide people to help navigate a particular period in a healthy manner.