The four counseling stages
A natural progression tends to take place when it comes to helping relationship. It is this process that enables both you and the other individual working with to evaluate the situation, develop relationship, to establish goals and to have a concrete plan to achieve the desired results. It is referred to as the counseling process.
· Developing relationship: There is a need to connect with the youth, so as to help with developing positive relationship. It is only possible if you care genuinely for the youth and take care of their well-being. Your behavior should emphasize empathy, respect and genuineness. Also should be developed a safe environment allowing young people to feel comfortable, thereby developing a solid relationship and discuss freely about any topic with ease and unhindered. The youth should also be clearly shown that besides their current circumstances, they do have their own strengths. Hence, you need to start from strength based perspective.
· Informed evaluation: This stage of counseling requires both of you to gather crucial information to identify what exactly is going on. This way, it becomes much easier to understand what is to take next to enable having a better situation or to develop coping skills for dealing with any type of problematic situation. Assessment can help identify necessary changes, if any and what to do next for the change taking place to be positive. Should the change be the situation, attitude or behavior? Proper evaluation techniques can help the youth to view his/her attitude or behavior that perhaps could be contributing towards some unhealthy or undesirable situation. Assessments should be an ongoing process. It does enable the youth to be on proper track.
· Establish mutually agreed objectives and goals: This is crucial as it allows the youth to pursue the goals sincerely. As the youth is involved actively in setting goals and also is in agreement to it, then it is quite natural for him/her to take complete ownership of the same. Goals are considered to be broad statements to help identify what needs to be accomplished, while objectives are stated to be measurable steps taken to achieve the set goals. The goal can be anger management and the objective be recognizing emotional triggers leading to use positive discussion and do away with unwanted angry outbursts. The objectives set needs to be realistic, measurable and concrete.
· Implementation plan: It is the plan that both of you have to work upon together. This plan can help prevent, address or intervene unhealthy practices and behaviors. Its proper implementation states clearly who is to carry out the planned activities, how frequently, where it should occur, when and how to carry it out. With implementation activities, individuals can sort out problematic issues, re-think risky behavior, address unhealthy, negative lifestyle practices, develop strengths and to learn new skills. Such activities may also include crisis intervention, counseling, education and training, concrete services, supportive services and using free time properly.
Therefore, every part of the process tends to build-up upon the former. With each stage, you get to know that proper and effective counseling does take lots of practice and patience along with commitment and dedication.