Psychological counseling - this is a relatively new professional sphere of psychological practice, which is a type of psychological assistance. This trend originates from psychotherapy and is aimed at a clinically healthy individual who cannot independently overcome everyday difficulties. In other words, the key task of this methodology lies in helping individuals find a way out of the current problematic circumstances that they cannot win without outside help, realizing and changing ineffective behavioral patterns for making meaningful decisions, resolving current life difficulties, achieving their goals. . In the target area, the tasks of psychological counseling are divided into a correctional effect, and tasks aimed at achieving personal growth, self-development and success in life by a client.
Counseling is a set of activities aimed at assisting the subject in solving everyday problems and making fateful decisions, for example, regarding family and marriage, professional growth, self-improvement, the effectiveness of interpersonal interaction.
The purpose of this method of psychological support is to help individuals comprehend what is happening on their life path and achieve their intended goal, based on a conscious choice in resolving emotional problems and interpersonal difficulties.
All definitions of psychological counseling are similar and include several important positions.
Psychological counseling contributes to:
- conscious choice of the person to act according to his own discretion;
- learning new behavior;
- personal development.
The core of this method is considered to be the "consultative interaction" that occurs between the specialist and the subject. The emphasis is on the responsibility of the individual, in other words, counseling recognizes that an independent and responsible person is able to make and decide in certain conditions, and the task of the consultant is to create conditions that encourage the volitional behavior of the individual.
The goals of psychological counseling are borrowed from various psychotherapeutic concepts. For example, followers of the psychoanalytic trend, the task of counseling, see in transforming into conscious images repressed into unconscious information, helping the client in recreating early experience and analyzing repressed conflicts, restoring basic personality.
It is not easy to predetermine the goals of psychological counseling, since the goal depends on the client's needs and the theoretical orientation of the consultant. The following are some of the universal counseling tasks that are mentioned by practitioners of various schools:
- to promote the transformation of behavioral reactions for a more productive life of the client, increase the level of life satisfaction, even in the presence of some essential social constraints;
- develop the ability to overcome difficulties in the course of confrontations with new everyday circumstances and conditions;
- to ensure the effective adoption of important decisions;
- develop the ability to make contacts and maintain interpersonal relationships;
- facilitate the growth of personal potential and self-realization.
Psychological counseling approaches are characterized by a general system model that combines six stages arising from each other.
At the first stage, the study of problems. The psychologist establishes contact (report) with the individual and achieves reciprocal trust: the psychologist listens attentively to a client who narrates his life difficulties, expresses maximum empathy, utmost sincerity, care, does not resort to evaluation and manipulative techniques. The consultant should choose a promotional tactic that contributes to the in-depth consideration by the client of their problems, and note his feelings, the content of the replicas, non-verbal behavioral reactions.
At the next stage, a two-dimensional definition of the problem situation occurs. The consultant is focused on the exact description of the client’s problem, emphasizing both emotional and cognitive aspects. At this stage, the clarification of problematic issues takes place until the client and the psychologist see and understand them the same way. Problems are formulated with specific concepts that make it possible to comprehend their causes, and, moreover, often indicate possible ways to resolve them. If there are ambiguities and difficulties in identifying problems, then you should return to the previous stage.
The third stage is the identification of alternatives. It identifies and discusses potential solutions to problems. The consultant with the help of open questions encourages the subject to list all possible alternatives that he finds suitable and real, helps to find additional options, while not imposing his own solutions. During the conversation, it is recommended to write in writing a list of alternatives to facilitate their comparison and comparison. It is necessary to find such solutions to the problem that the subject could apply directly.
The fourth stage is planning. It carries out a critical assessment of selected alternatives. The consultant helps the subject to understand which options presented fit and show themselves realistic in accordance with previous experience and today's willingness to change. Drafting a strategy for solving difficult situations is also aimed at not gaining an understanding by the client that not all difficulties are solvable: some of them require time resources, others can be partially resolved by reducing their destructive and disorganizing effects. At this stage, it is recommended, in terms of solving problems, to envisage by what methods and methods a subject will be able to verify the realism of the solution he preferred.
The fifth stage is an activity itself, that is, a consistent implementation of the planned problem-solving strategy takes place. The psychologist helps the client to build up activities, taking into account the circumstances, emotional and time costs, as well as the possibility of failure in the implementation of goals. The individual must realize that a partial failure does not yet become a complete collapse, so one should continue to implement the strategy of resolving difficulties, directing all actions towards the final goal.
The last step is to evaluate and maintain feedback. The subject together with the psychologist at this stage evaluates the degree of achievement of the goal (that is, the level of problem resolution) and sums up the results achieved. If necessary, it is possible to refine and refine the solution strategy. In the case of the emergence of new or the discovery of deeply hidden problems, one should return to the preceding stages.
The described model reflects the content of the consultative process and helps to better understand how specific counseling results. In practice, the process of counseling is much more extensive and often not always guided by this algorithm. In addition, the allocation of stages or stages is arbitrary, since in practice some stages are connected with others, and their interdependence is much more complicated than that presented in the described model.
Types of psychological counseling
Due to the fact that people belonging to different age categories, free and in relationships, characterized by the presence of a variety of problems, need psychological help, psychological counseling is divided into types according to client’s problem situations and their individual characteristics, family, psychological, educational, professional (business) and multicultural counseling.
First of all, individual psychological counseling (intimate-personal) is distinguished. This type of counseling is addressed to individuals on issues that deeply affect them as a person, provoking their strongest experiences, often carefully hidden from the surrounding society. Such problems, for example, include psychological disorders or behavioral deficiencies that the subject wants to eliminate, difficulties in personal relationships with relatives or other significant persons, all kinds of fears, failures, psychogenic diseases that require medical help, deep dissatisfaction with themselves, problems in intimate sphere.
Individual psychological counseling at the same time requires a closed consultant-client relationship and a trusting, open relationship for interaction between them. This type of counseling should be carried out in a special setting, since it often resembles confession. Also, he can not be episodic or short-term, due to the content of the problems for which he is focused. In the first turn, individual counseling implies a great psychological pre-setting of the psychologist and the client on the process, then a long and often difficult conversation between the consultant and the subject, after which there is a long period of searching for a way out of the difficulties described by the client and directly solving the problem. The last stage is the longest, since most of the problematic issues of intimate and personal orientation are not immediately solved.
A variety of this type of counseling is age psychological counseling, which includes issues of mental development, upbringing features, principles of teaching children of different age subgroups. The subject of such counseling is the dynamics of the development of the child and adolescent psyche at a certain age stage of formation, as well as the content of mental development, which is a significant difference from other types of counseling. Age psychological counseling solves the problem of systematically monitoring the course of the formation of children's mental functions for optimization and timely correction.
Group counseling is aimed at self-development and growth of participants in the process, the release of everything that stands in the way of self-improvement. The advantages of the described type of psychological assistance before individual counseling include:
- team members can learn their own style of relationships with the environment and acquire more effective social skills, in addition, have the opportunity to conduct experiments with alternative forms of behavioral response;
- clients can discuss their own perception of others and receive information about their perception by the group and individual participants;
- the team reflects, in some way, the familiar environment for its participants;
- As a rule, groups offer participants understanding, assistance and assistance, which increases the participants' determination to study and resolve problem situations.
Family counseling involves the provision of assistance in matters relating to the client’s family and the relationships therein relating to interaction with another close environment. For example, if an individual is worried about the upcoming choice of a life partner, optimal building of relationships in a future or current family, regulation of interactions in a family connection, prevention and correct exit from intra-family conflicts, relationship between spouses and relatives, behavior during divorce, solving various current intrafamily problems , he needs family psychological counseling.
The described type of psychological assistance requires consultants to know the essence of intrafamily problems, ways out of difficult situations and methods for resolving them.
Psychological and pedagogical counseling is in demand when it is necessary to cope with difficulties that are associated with the education or upbringing of children, when it is necessary to improve the pedagogical skills of adults or to teach management of various groups. In addition, issues of psychological substantiation of pedagogical and educational innovations, optimization of tools, methods and training programs are related to the described type of counseling.
Business (professional) counseling, in turn, is characterized by as many varieties as there are professions and activities. This type of assistance addresses issues that originate in the course of the occupation of the subjects of professional activity. These include issues of vocational orientation, improvement and the formation of the individual skills, work organization, increase efficiency, etc.
Multicultural counseling is aimed at interacting with individuals who perceive the social environment in different ways, but at the same time try to cooperate.
The effectiveness of advice to clients differing in culturally-mediated features (gender orientation, gender, age, professional experience, etc.), and in addition, the ability to understand these clients, their requirements is interconnected with the cultural characteristics of the psychologist and the manner adopted in a certain social culture organization of the practice of psychological counseling.
Consultative work requires a number of personality traits and specific characteristics from a consulting psychologist. For example, an individual practicing this technique must necessarily have a higher psychological education, love people, be sociable, insightful, patient, good and responsible.