Work at different stages of psychological counseling

The article is based on the materials of classes at the University of Practical Psychology, conducted by N.I. Kozlov.


For two years of studying at the University we had the happiness to learn from different, and, undoubtedly, the best teachers of Russia. Each of them gave us his vision, his experience, his wisdom in the most interesting science - consulting. In this work, I want to summarize the knowledge and formulate my understanding of the stages of counseling. The material can be used as a cheat sheet and for self-examination advice.

So, you have a client. The first contact can be remote - by e-mail, by phone, or by personal - at the training, at any event. The first contact (and, possibly, several subsequent ones) is a preliminary stage of counseling. The consultant has two tasks at this stage. The first task: to show oneself as a status, competent, respectable specialist. How to do it?

• Formulate thoughts briefly and clearly. Do not rush to give advice.

• Sometimes insert psychological terms, if appropriate.

• Never ask the client "When will it be convenient for you to meet?" Ask yourself the time and place of the meeting, checking with your daily schedule. «I’m waiting for you tomorrow at ten o’clock." If inconvenient - the client will say, and you will be able to look for other options.

• If this is a personal meeting, follow your posture, gestures, status and benevolent intonations in the speech.

• Questions about the cost of your services should be familiar and natural to you.

• Rehearse your answers in advance of the mirror.

• If you know what topic a client addressed to you, you can fill out a preliminary test, questionnaire, check-list, genogram, i.e. any diagnostics. This not only shows your competence, but also solves the second task of the preliminary stage - involving the client.

The next stage of counseling - when the client came to the meeting (or joined by Skype) - is the

Phase of establishing contact.

At this stage, the consultant also faces two tasks. The first one is already familiar to you: to show yourself as a status, competent, respectable specialist. What is it manifested at this stage?

• Quietly and clearly agree on the format of the meeting, the duration and the rules (whether the client is obligated to walk -5 times, whether it is obligated to do homework, send reports or sms?). Think it over and rehearse it beforehand. Set the rules yourself, you are in charge here. Payment can be either hourly, or for a one-time consultation, no matter how long it lasts. Some clients can be offered a monthly subscription with the possibility of phone calls.

• Speak the guarantees of anonymity.

• Turn on the recorder - with it you can easily track the duration of the consultation, and audio recording, of course, will come in handy for further introspection. How to explain this to the client: "This is for methodical work. If necessary, I can then forward this record to you. If you want, you can turn on your recorder, it will be very useful, because on consultation there will be many important points that you can not remember right away. "

• Watch your speech - benevolent and status intonations, pauses, absence of garbage words. Sometimes it is useful to establish a position of excellence: to positively evaluate another ("Yes, it is true", "You quickly grasp what I tell you").

• Use obedience procedures. The more a client listens to you in small things, the easier it will be to listen to your recommendations. "Come on, sit down." "Take a sheet and write down, it will be more convenient for us". "Do you have a dictaphone to record everything? Put it on the record. " "Repeat what I said?"

The second most important task of this stage is the adjustment and the attitude of the client to work. What you need for this:

• Start a conversation in a human way - ask about the road, the weather, the convenience of parking, etc. Show room, a place where you can sit, a toilet. Offer tea or water. This will help the client to get comfortable, in their tone: how to get there, like the weather. 5 minutes of cheerful conversation about anything - and the client has already rebuilt.

• The magic phrase "Sit comfortably" - give such permission to the client, it immediately brings together.

• If the client from the very beginning in a strong negative, in tears, then before starting a consultation, configure it on a business format. In a cheerful, energetic tone, talk about the weather, about travel, about anything. Five minutes of cheerful conversation about nothing - and the client has already changed. If this is not enough, then start talking about money - this will definitely help a person to recover.

• Begin consultation with the phrase "What question would you like to solve today during our consultation?" This will help translate the client from the "complain" state to the "set task" state.

The next stage of counseling -

Clarifying the situation and the request

At this stage, the client tells his situation, and the consultant asks clarifying questions. In this case, the consultant is already four different tasks.

The first task, of course, is to maintain the status of a competent specialist. At this stage, the client will tell a lot of things, mixing everything into a bunch. The consultant must carefully choose which replicas to respond to and which ones to pass by. Which questions to answer in detail, and to what laconically. Each phrase of the consultant should be thought out - how will the client react? Will he miss it? Thinking about it? Will go into unnecessary emotions? Superfluous words, superfluous reactions lower the status of the consultant.

The second task of this stage is the restructuring of the client from anguish and negativity. In what ways can this be done?

• Talk about feelings and about everything internal to translate into talk about behavior. "How do you behave, what do you do when you are in such a mood?" There may be a conversation about internal behavior - the person’s inner decisions or his way of thinking. "Why do you think so? Do not think like that again! Think so! »

• Offer something to eat (for example, sweets for tea). The process of chewing is not compatible with hysteria.

• Talk about something smart, where you want to think, directly or indirectly related to the client’s topic (to calculate some figures: money, time, amount of resources, etc., build the logic of actions: first it, then that, and t .p.)

• Weaken the client by talking about pleasant or NLP techniques.

• Rebuild the client with their intonations - business, positive, benevolent.

• Tell about how you, as a consultant, cope with negative emotions, how to get out of them. During the consultation, share with the client what is happening to me. Demonstrate to the client how I cope with this condition. The client understands - if the consultant can talk about this, then I can. This is how you can deal with this - you can talk about it.

The third task of this stage is to involve the client in the work. To do this, you can:

• Ask clarifying questions. The more the client tells, the more he is involved in the consultation process. At the same time, you need to understand that every issue you send the conversation to this or that channel. Choose a direction consciously!

• Show questions more broadly. Help the client to see his situation from different angles, from different perceptual positions. A new vision can be the most valuable for him.

• Use your "Listening Skills". Verbal and non-verbal signs of hearing will help establish contact and encourage the client to be open.

• Offer the client a test, the questionnaire - any diagnostic. When a client performs tests, he invests his time and effort. For him, the value of consultation and engagement increases.

• Conduct some kind of ritual, shamanism - from constellations and metaphors to bipolar visualization techniques.

• Give a very easy homework. When a client invests in his homework, he becomes sorry for the work done, and he works on.

The fourth and, perhaps, the main task of this stage is the wording of the request. The specific actions of the consultant will depend on the context of the situation, the characteristics of the client and the topic of the request. In this case, there are several common points that should be paid attention.

• Choose from the set of problems voiced by the client the one with which you will primarily work. Once it will be done with a simple question: "What is the most important for you?". Once it may be necessary to compile a list of the tasks that have been sounded and to make them a ranking. With stupid clients, the consultant should decide for himself what to work with. In this case, you need to focus on main criteria: the obvious results and feasibility of recommendations for this client.

• Get the specifics out of the vague, vague formulations of the client. To do this, you can joke to give a knowingly incorrect understanding. "When you eat and you have a fear of spooning a soup on a new blouse - is this an emotionally significant situation for you?" You can also clarify how often a problem situation arises, is it really worth solving it?

• Identify who in this consultation formulates the request.

The explanatory client-formulates the request himself, and the consultant will only clarify and confirm it.

The diligent client - you need to help translate the query from the problem to the conscious, and then to the developing one.

To the stupid client - the consultant himself selects the request, translating it into client’s delirium language, so that the task was clear to the client and is close. At the same time, the consultant does not have the task to dissuade, open his eyes to the truth, and so on. If necessary, you can talk about some research or send it to the relevant articles, showing your competence.

The next stage of the consultation -

Finding a solution

The main task of this stage, the search for a solution, is performed by both the consultant and the client. The mistake of novice consultants is to look for a solution on their own without involving the client in the work. (Unlike counseling, in the coaching the decision is sought by the client himself, the coach only helps him in this). The consultant for his part can use the following clues to find the solution:

• Refer to your own experience and practice.

• To consider personal relations from the point of view of business interaction, and business ones from the position of personal ones.

• Use the Syntone card for personal diagnosis.

• Do not rush to engage in subtle and profound psychology, when you can change the worldly alignment of forces. "Girl, surround yourself with guys, choose from many, and then this one will agree for your sake for everything!"

• To form your concept is a mechanism that explains what is happening in the life of the client.

• While offering a solution to the client, the consultant does not insist, but "sells", at the end specifying: "Will this recommendation suit you?"

The task of involving the client in the work at this stage is also very important. How can a consultant help a client get involved?

• Use the Repeat-Agree technique-Add.

• To pretend to be dull, to force the client to explain the details.

• Play the roles. If the client perceives the consultant as a Strict Father or a Protecting Mother, it may be difficult for him to think independently. Turning to the position of Business Partner or Sincere Friend, the consultant can significantly affect the client’s activity. Intervention - change your behavior and see how this changes the behavior of the client. When a client comes with his request, he is a master in this request, he has been doing this all his life. Our task is to see where he will draw us into his game.

• To attract the attention of the client to his behavior here and now, during the consultation, to find analogies with his behavior in life. All that the client does in life, he does and on consultation. The consultant’s tool is to show the client that his models of behavior and communication in life are manifested at the moment, during a consultation with a consultant.

At the stage of finding a solution, the victim’s position in the client is clearly manifested. One of the tasks of the consultant is to bring the client to the position of the Author. Sacrifice can manifest itself in different ways, here are a few examples:

• Questions "I can not do anything about it," "this determines the circumstances," translating into questions "What’s in it for me?"

• "Why is this happening?" Translate into "What do I want?" and "How to get it?"

• Inquiries "Help me understand", requests for feelings - we do not consider requests. "I feel bad, help! I do not know, it’s just horror! I have such problems ... What should I do? "We translate into specifics:

"Do you want me to do something for you - what exactly? What will be the real result of our consultation for you?"

«What do you think, in what ways and how could I help you?"

"Do you want to pounce with me?"

"Do you want to talk about this?"(With humor)

"And what Would you like me?"

"What do you want?"-

• On Durik’s reaction" Well ... I do not know .... "we give an energetic answer:

Think. Give me three options! Now you think or at home? I’m sure that you will succeed, (you can have fun, you can reasonably submit this).

Well, about yourself you do not know. Imagine that another person has such a problem. What do you recommend?

If it was very necessary? Solve the question or not? If the case concerned the child? At what speed will you decide?

• On a confusing answer or avoiding an answer: «I’m playing a stupid game, and you explain it to me so that even I understand." Explain to me, please, and then I’ll agree more easily with you. "

• If the client started the game "Yes, but" (2 objections in a row) - you hurried to give cheap advice, throwing them in unprepared soil. Do not rush to give advice, hurry up to start thinking with the client! Thoughtless objections of the client are caused by the thoughtless behavior of the consultant, thoughtless eyes and thoughtless intonations. Correct yourself, remember "Repeat, agree, add". If you have a very good contact with the client, then you can say with a slight smile: "I heard that you said it several times already, let’s think together if you really need it ..."

The next stage is allocated conditionally, as it often can be combined with the solution search phase.

Working with the client

Let us single out two main tasks of this stage - creating a resource state for the client, and solving the customer’s difficulties with the help of techniques and methods that the consultant owns.

What ways do we have to solve these two problems?

• Drawing up a clear action plan, APR.

• Desensitization and all NLP techniques.

• Development of behavior, intonations, facial expressions.

• Coaching techniques for setting goals, choosing ways, etc.

Final stage

The final stage gives consultation a logical and emotional completeness. It involves three tasks:

• Creating a client’s intention. The questions "What are you going to do?" Or "How will you think / treat the situation now?" Help the client formulate his intention. Speaking out their intentions aloud, the client increases the chances that the intentions will be realized. If after that, talk with the client about the nuances (how he will do what is going on, when exactly he will do it, in what place, under what circumstances, etc.) and ask the client to send a report on implementation - then the chances of realizing the intention will increase .

At the next consultation, you must always ask the client about the fulfillment of his intention. A joint analysis of the results will help to move forward more effectively. Of course, it’s inappropriate to punish the client for failing to fulfill his obligations. But you can arrange an additional conversation from this.

"Well, you did not send me a message, but what did you do not to send a message, and how does this happen in your life? How at you the whole 2 evenings successively it turned out not to send me smski? How many times a day did you think about it? In the evening, probably, remembered? With each memory, did you have an internal solution or resistance, or something else? You seemed to be going to ... "

• Maintaining respect and status. The first mistake novice consultants - when the main work is done, relax and exit from the role of a consultant, crumble the end of the session. The second mistake is the desire to ask the client for feedback on their work. Instead, you need to ask the question: "What will you take for yourself from today s consultation?" Thus, the client does not evaluate the consultant, but his thoughts.

• Involvement in self-development. A competent consultant at the end of the consultation will necessarily make a broach for the next meeting - will show the client what else he should work in the future.

I got such notes on the margins thanks to the Laboratory of Counseling. I would be happy if they are useful to other students.

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