Mock Counseling Session

Chauntise McIntosh

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University of Central Florida

Abstract

Professional counseling is a complex dynamic joint effort between a client and counselor. Counseling helps clients recognize goals and possible solutions to situations which create emotional disruption; strengthen self-esteem; improve coping and communication skills; and maintain optimal mental health. Counseling is best experienced when the counselor is receptive to new experience, can progress and learn with their practicum, and are susceptible to the changing process. If the counselor can show a non-threatening relationship distinguished by non-judgemental acceptance and respect, the client will uncover the capacity to use that relationship for growth, change, and self-development. However, some people are still skeptical about the benefits of counseling, despite the advances in counseling techniques and resources. Although there are a vast array of counseling techniques; an efficient counselor identifies with a theory that is consistent with their method of helping people. Conduct a mock interview using several interviewing techniques to establish rapport, discover understanding, and figure out the clients goal of counseling.

The process of preparing counselor is both essential and fluid. It’s importance comes from the power counselor have over human lives. The fluidity lies in both the constantly evolving theories and methods as well as in the nature of counseling itself.” A mock clinical interview helps the counselor diagnose and create a treatment plan for the client. There are many differences between a clinical interview and normal conversation. A clinical interview focuses on the purpose, the role between counselor and client is defined, and the interview occurs within a defined time frame. The intake interview happens during the first session between a counselor and client. This interview provides the counselor with a brief summary of the clients mental and physical health history, their reason for coming, and what they would like to get out of their time with you. The efficiency of the intake interview depends on the level of comfort between the counselor and client on the process; with each counselor-client relationship being both a conscious and unrehearsed interaction. A counselor is current and flexible to satisfy the ever-changing demands of such a dynamic profession. In a session a therapist must engage and show their ability to weigh decisions in the midst of a decision-making event. To develop that degree of professional sophistication, teachers have a guiding foundation for educating and learning, and instructional avenues for stimulating learning.

A sense of instability is a growing issue affecting key elements “within larger social systems, such as schools, work, and community. These social systems, in turn, are embedded in a macrosystem (large cultural system) composed of cultural attitudes and ideologies, gender, race, class, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, geographical location, and other factors.” The vast amount of psychosocial stress associated with these key elements have produced an increase need for the counseling throughout the past century. An effective working relationship is established between counselor and client to assess the clients issues. In addition, the development of rapport, accurate assessment, individualized treatment formulation and planning, and short and long-term outcome evaluations are essential elements of counseling. Today they are an increased range of techniques, resources, and a newer range of drugs to treat moderate as well as major illness and anxieties available to counselors. Neuroscience and cognitive research has led to a greater understanding about the biological impact one system (brain and body) has on physical and mental health.

I reviewed the intake forms that I had asked the client to fill out before I begin the intake interview. Evaluating the intake forms before the first interview helps me focus on rapport building during the session and gather enough information to help me choose the best treatment plan. In addition, by providing a safe emotional and physical space for the client helps establish a strong therapeutic relationship. Establishing a safe and warm environment is important to aid in breaking tension, building trust, and establishing boundaries between the counselor and client. Self-care and self-awareness are key components in a successful counselor-client relationship, that involve the counselor reflecting on their personal issues and development before tending to the client. Before the mock intake interview I met my physical and psychological needs. My physical self-care which consist of but is not limited to grooming, healthy eating, and adequate amount of sleep helps reinforce my ability to focus on the client without physical distractions. I reviewed the questions I was going to ask beforehand to prepare me psychologically to engage in counselor-client conversation that flowed without brief pauses due to a lack of ???? Since the way I represent myself has a major impact on the counselor-client relationship; because it influences the client’s perception and the cognitive approach constructed.

As my client entered the room, I stood up and greeted her with a smile and gentle handshake. We then sat down opposite one another and began the mock interview. I began to take notes which consisted of written information, nonverbal and verbal behavior observed during the initial session. Furthermore, by observing nonverbal behavior i am able to improve the counselor-client relationship by observing the client’s body language at all times, paying attention to any discomfort, which could indicate a level of difficulty verbalizing something; and allowing for further probing to help the client connect to deeper feelings feeling comfortable. To reinforce my clients level of computability, I leaned slightly forward in my seat, with my shoulders back, and my arms and legs in a relaxing open position; since it helped me portray an image of strength and confidence about my ability to handle life. In counseling “Nonverbal behavior is very similar. Sometimes the facial expression, appearance, eye contact and body movements match the verbal expression of the patient. On the other hand, the nonverbal behavior may send a contrary, or incongruent, message relative to a patient’s verbal communication.” Nonverbal behavior is essential in establishing a therapeutic alliance in the counselor-client relationship. In a psychotherapy setting, it is important that the counselor understands that nonverbal and verbal behavior influence all interpersonal communication.

I gathered information about my client’s background and the problem presenting itself in her life. My client is a 32 year-old single black female who is a mother of three children and working full-time as a Para Transit driver. She arrived to counseling today well-groomed and casually dressed. Her speech was normal and her thought process appeared coherent. At opening, she reported feeling “good” but had some concerns she wanted to express. Ms. Duncan has no history of counseling or psychiatric treatment and has no diagnoses. counseling was self-initiated, although she disclosed that friends and family members suggested she seek help because of her mental state after the death of her father. Concerned about her stress levels she decided to attend a counseling session. Our intake interview consisted of open-ended questions, affirmation and validation, and reflection of effect. I asked open-ended questions to give me the basic information I would need to help my client. I gave the client a chance to express herself and explain the situation in her own way. I also asked the client to explain statements I thought were unclear to me. I would sometimes rephrase certain statements to show the client that I understood what she was saying.

Towards the end I followed up with a summary of the information the client had presented to me before concluding the interview. I examined the relationship with her family a bit more and gave her information on potential coping strategies. I then asked if she had any further questions she would like to add but she did not have any final comments are questions for me. I then explained the next steps and informed her that she would be receiving a call from my offices to schedule her next appointment.

In conclusion, the mock intake interview conducted showed me how vital the process was for a successful counselor-client therapeutic relationship. Conducting a successful client interview requires a certain level of expertise and tact.

Appendix

Therapist: Good evening, Ms. Duncan please have a seat. I see from you intake form that you have never been to a therapist before. If you have any questions feel free to ask them at anytime, okay? Now, what brings you in here today?

Client: Ms. Duncan bursts into tears. It seems like everything has been against me in life. I feel mentally overwhelmed by everything that’s going on, especially with father day coming up. Maybe I shouldn’t even be here today.

Therapist: Offers Ms. Duncan tissues. What is it about father day that has you feeling overwhelmed?

Client: I don’t know if I feel comfortable discussing this. I have never opened up to anyone about anything about my dad since he passed.

Therapist: I understand. This is only our first session and it’s normal to take some time to establish a level of trust between us. I will not share any information we discuss unless there’s an immediate danger to you or someone else. Hopefully we’ll be able to explore troubling areas more deeply as time progresses.

Client: I trust you but I just feel uncomfortable because I never have a chance to talk about it. I can’t begin to explain how I feel right now. My family is so concerned with themselves that they never ask me how I’m doing.

Therapist: How are you feeling?

Client: My head hurts, my stomach has butterflies, I’m hungry and I’m also hurt. It’s life but it is painful. I feel as if I failed my daddy because I won’t be able to make it to his grave site for father day. I’m just broken at this point in my life.

Therapist: It sounds like you are needing the support of your family now but feel they don’t care about how you feel. So tell me about your family and your relationship with them?

Client: Well, I am the oldest child of three and the only girl. I got pregnant at 17 before I completed high school and feel like I disappointed my mother and father. I attempted to go to college but realized it was just not for me. Being a single parent has been extremely overwhelming for me and the weight of the family seems to rest on me. When I think about that I get really upset and frustrated (eyes are watering).

Therapist: It sounds like the what’s bothering you is that your parents have set expectations for you that you can’t meet and you feel that the family doesn’t understand how overwhelming it is for you.

Client: Yeah my parents have no idea what I go through daily to maintain myself.

Therapist: Ms. Duncan is there anything you like about yourself?

Client: How is this relevant?

Therapist: Trust me. Name one thing that you like about yourself.

Client: I like that I am the glue that holds my own family together. I go above and beyond making sure that my kids are well provided for and that they feel comfortable enough with me to come and talk to me about absolutely anything.

Therapist: Ok, so you enjoy providing for your family and you’re willing to listen to your kids.

Client: Yes.

Therapist: Ms. Duncan I want you to know that you are not alone in your struggles with your family. I’m the oldest of four siblings and the oldest girl and feel sometimes overwhelmed with being the oldest: and my parents had a few expectations I did not meet as well. (Takes breath) So this is a common struggle. You are resilient and that’s a good characteristic to have.

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