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Counselling Psychology Communication andSkills Prof. Craig Jackson Head of Psychology BCU.

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Presentation on theme: "Counselling Psychology Communication andSkills Prof. Craig Jackson Head of Psychology BCU."— Presentation transcript:

1 Counselling Psychology Communication andSkills Prof. Craig Jackson Head of Psychology BCU

2 Counselling Psychology The application of psychological knowledge to the practice of counselling (Woolfe, 1996) Counselling psychology appears to sit somewhere between scientific psychology, at least as traditionally defined, and more the more creative realm of artistry, reflection and self-awareness. (Orlans & Van Scoyoc, 2009) Counselling is however, just part of a broader group of therapies used in the treatment of a range of individuals’ problems, largely of a psychological nature.

3 The British Psychological Society states that: Counselling Psychology is distinctive in its competence in the psychological therapies, being firmly rooted in the discipline of psychology whilst emphasizing the importance of the therapeutic relationship and process It continues to develop models of practice and research which marry the scientific demand for rigorous empirical enquiry, with a firm value base grounded in the primacy of the counselling / psychotherapeutic relationship Now considered a well established branch of applied professional psychology concerned with the integration of psychological theory and research with therapeutic practice Counselling Psychology competencies are grounded in values that aim to empower those who use their services, and places high priority on anti-discriminatory practice, social and cultural context and ethical decision-making

4 The Purpose of Counselling Psychology Counselling Psychology comprises a branch of applied psychology that focuses on: 1.Personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span 2.A holistic view of emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental and organisational concerns 3.The delivery of evidence-based psychological therapy 4.The potential for development and growth of all clients

5 Emphasis on the use of “self” Requires a high level of self-awareness and competence in relating the skills and knowledge of personal and interpersonal dynamics to the therapeutic context. Requires an understanding and acceptance of one's personal history combined with an explicit use of psychological theories to analyse the process of a particular therapy, or counselling situation. Engaging in personal therapy (McAteer, 2009) [In this context, personal therapy can encompass a number of different psychological interventions].

6 Counselling Psychology in Practice As a form of psychological intervention, counselling psychology serves in a number of ways, including: 1.Helping people with physical, emotional, behavioural and psychological ‘disorders’. 2. Help people improve their well-being. 3. Alleviate distress and maladjustment. 4. Resolve crises. 5.Increase clients’ abilities to live more highly functioning lives. What’s missing here?

7 Nature of Problems addressed in Counselling Psychology Counselling Psychologists together with Psychotherapists work therapeutically with clients who are themselves experiencing a variety of problems. These often comprise: Effects of childhood sexual abuse. Relationship breakdown Domestic violence Major psychological trauma Symptoms of psychological disorders e.g. anxiety, depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosis

8 Psychosocial Stress: a contributory factor in the onset of Psychological problems. Evidence from research indicates that stressful life episodes can contribute significantly to a range of mental and psychological disorders. In assessing the nature of a clients’ problem (or problems), stressful life episodes are most frequently the underlying cause. Such life stresses will include: Bereavement and other forms of loss Unemployment and loneliness Emotional deprivation and insecurity Home situation e.g. poor housing Relationship issues Life Events Inventory Jackson (2009)

9 Factors relating to the Onset of Psychological Conditions Events occurring in the clients’ life around the time of onset. Exposure of the client to persistent stress. Ability or inability to handle emotional reactions. Previous history of stress disorders and changes in the clients’ life situation and when they occurred. Reactions to feelings of anger and frustration. Indications from the person’s early history of insecurity, anxiety and frequent illness leading to some form of psychological morbidity.

10 When confronted with a client presenting with psychological problems, an important factor that the counselling psychologist has to be aware of are what constitute elements of the problem from the clients’ perspective? If addressing a stress related problem, then a primary reason the client has sought therapeutic assistance is due to their inability to cope with the issues confronting them. i.e. they are unable to manage their personal circumstances due to their lack of coping strategy, together with a failure to see a likely solution to their difficulties. In such circumstances, the client is unable to cope due to: a)the ‘unknown’ aspects – uncertainty. b)fear or apprehension of consequences. c)underlying anxiety or depression. d)inability to understand concepts. Lost Inertia

11 The Nature of Therapeutic Activity The therapist, notably those using a person-centred (humanistic) approach, can offer an active collaborative relationship which can both facilitate the exploration of underlying issues affecting the client and can empower those clients to confront change. Others working in therapeutic roles would seek to achieve similar outcomes for their clients, but may well be employing other Interventions that entail different approaches. e.g. cognitive and behavioural approaches; psychodynamic approach. Therapists working in Counselling Psychology will therefore find themselves working with: Individuals. Couples and / or family groups. Individuals and/or groups of all ages across the lifespan. Organisations

12 Therapeutic Activity In general terms, the provision of psychological therapy will include the following activities: Assessment: whereby the psychologist seeks to gain an understanding of the difficulties from the client's perspective, taking into account the wider context. Formulation: developing an explanation of how and why the particular difficulties have arisen and are experienced by the client. Planning and implementing: a course of psychological therapy Evaluating: the outcome of the therapy. Assessment - Diagnosis - Treatment

13 Although there exist a number of therapeutic approaches, from a counselling psychologist perspective, the humanistic (person- centred) approach based on the work of Carl Rogers is the most commonly used. Fundamental Counselling Skills: Rogers (1957) cogently argued that the nature of successful counselling involves the counsellor communicating core attitudinal conditions to the client. These ‘core conditions’ are: Empathy: the power or ability of identifying oneself mentally with another person (the client). Acceptance: to be willing to believe in and accept the client for the person they are. View the person positively. Genuineness: openness and honesty towards the client. I’m no Saint!

14 Whilst counselling practice has been heavily influenced by the work of Rogers developed during the 1950s and 1960s, this form of therapy has moved on. The more widely used approach is that developed by Gerard Egan’s (1975, 1882) model. This model is eclectic in that it advocates the use of different stages in the helping process, and at each stage, the counsellor has a different fundamental task: Stage 1: To encourage the client to engage in “affective” self-exploration. Stage 2: To promote dynamic self-understanding & enable the client to view themselves from a more constructive perspective. Stage 3: To promote constructive action on the part of the client.

15 Applied settings in the field of Counselling Psychology Today, counselling psychologists practice in a number of settings, both clinical and non-clinical. These include: 1.Primary care (General Practice) settings 2. Community Mental Health Teams 3. Tertiary settings for psychiatric in-patients 4. Specialist services for older adults, those with eating disorders, personality disorders, learning difficulties, and in general health care settings where psychological services are offered 5. Prison and probation services / Forensic settings 6. Workplace Counselling / Occupational Health

16 7. Social services 8. Voluntary/charitable organisations 9. Employee assistance programmes 10. Student / School / University counselling departments 11. Private practice Applied settings in the field of Counselling Psychology

17 Reference sources: Egan, G. (2000). The Skilled Helper. California. Brookes/Cole. Jackson CA. (2013). Does workplace counselling actually work? Management of Health Risks Special Report, 170: 1-3 Jackson CA. (2009). The Life Events Inventory - Comment. Occup Medicine, 59: 208. McAteer, D. (2009). Counselling Psychology as a Career. NIBPS/PSI. Orlans, V. & Van Scoyoc, S. (2009). A Short Introduction to Counselling Psychology. London: Sage. Sander, P. (2002). First Steps in Counselling. A students' companion for basic introductory courses. (3rd edn). Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books. Woolfe, R. & Dryden, W. & Strawbridge, S. (Eds.) (2003). Handbook of Counselling Psychology. London: Sage.


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