Five Stages of Counseling
The five stages of counseling as described by Corey and Corey according to Guindon (2011) are:
- Establishing a working relationship
A counselor has to build rapport with their client in order to explore the issues and difficulties experienced in a manner that makes the client comfortable. Trust is essential and can positively affect the successful outcome of counseling. The counselor is expected to provide the client with an environment that is safe, confidential and offers empathy. Just like any relationship, boundaries are important and in this case, the relationship should be limited to therapeutic settings as this allows both parties to stay on course. Objectives must be clearly set
- Identifying clients problems
Counseling should help clients identify their problems. The client has the opportunity to speak their mind and heart and indicate missed opportunities, challenges or difficulties experienced. The counselor simply guides them or helps them tell their story. Some clients are reluctant to reveal details but an effective relationship makes this a possibility. The goal of counseling is to help clients discover the changes that they want to make themselves.
- Helping clients create goals
The counselor should help the client set goals and identify what he or she would like to get out of the counseling process. Setting goals determines the direction which the relationship will take. Lack of goals results in an aimless relationship and clients are not entirely committed to the counseling process. It is imperative for counselors to help their clients set realistic and clear goals as this motivates them to search for strategies to achieve them.
- Encouraging client exploration and taking action
Client exploration and taking action is the core of counseling as it seeks to help people solve their existing problems effectively or develop skills which can help them cope with their problems. The role of the counselor is to guide the client and give them the opportunity to fix these problems meaning that they have to make their decisions based on their evaluations. Counseling should build a person’s skills in fixing problems.
The relationship is terminated or ends once the objectives or goals set have been achieved. This means that the client can overcome their problems or challenges using the strategies devised with the help of their counselor.