Three Stages of Counseling


ThreeStages of Counseling

Nameof Student


The explorationstage is characterized by building a rapport between the client andthe counselor. Such a rapport enables the client to derive the valueof seeking counseling. During exploration, the counselor shouldconvince the client of privacy and confidentiality. All the detailsrevealed during counseling should be sealed and preserved in acareful manner. Furthermore, the exploration stage involvesidentifying the underlying issue faced by the client. This would setthe tone for subsequent counseling sessions (Gelso, Williams &ampFretz, 2014). In the video, the counselor creates a rapport with thecouple and allows each of them to express their feelings so as toidentify the underlying problem.

In theclarification stage, the counselor is required to listen attentivelywithout interrupting as the client speaks his mind. The counselorshould be keen to observe patterns of reasoning and accompanyingbehavior as manifested by the client. This helps the counselor touncover possible causes of the issues facing the client (Gelso,Williams &amp Fretz, 2014). In the video, the counselor paysundivided attention as the couple take turns to express theirgrievances. She maintains eye contact with the couple and adopts anon-confrontational body posture. Her vocal tone is soothing andreassuring as she spurs on the clients to express themselves. Thecounselor also employs a basic listening sequence. She regularlyrecaps the issues revealed by both marriage mates so as to create aprogress map with actionables (Heitler &amp Holland, 1995). In thismanner, she identifies both essential facts and emotions underlyingthe experiences of the couple.

The action stageinvolves summarizing the facts of the matter and utilizing open andclosed questions to validate key findings. The counselor shouldhighlight key goals to be achieved by the client so as to resolvetroublesome issues (Gelso, Williams &amp Fretz, 2014). In the video,the counselor succeeds in getting both mates to speak cordially toone another without adopting confrontational overtones. The counseloralso avoids invalidating the free will and decision-making capacityof the marriage partners (Heitler &amp Holland, 1995). Therefore,both the husband and wife feel more ownership of the solutionsgenerated from the counseling session.

Susan Heitler,the counselor, uses various effective interview techniques during hersessions with Richard and Judith. Heitler faces her clients andmaintains eye contact with them (Kantrowitz &amp Okun, 2014). Shealso keeps a reasonable distance with the clients in a way that makesthem comfortable. Additionally, the counselor adopts an invitingposture by not crossing her arms and legs. She also uses a calm,soothing tone that puts the couple at ease to express themselves. Hergentle tone also helps to diffuse the simmering tension betweenRichard and Judith (Kantrowitz &amp Okun, 2014). However, invitingRichard to address Judith directly was somewhat ineffective. This isbecause recreating home conditions serves to remind a couple of theirunderlying weaknesses (Kantrowitz &amp Okun, 2014). I would havehelped them to realize that this was a different environment to theone they were accustomed to. Therefore, it would be proper to setcertain boundaries so as to avoid further arguments duringcounseling.

Heitler usesvarious questions to draw out the underlying feelings of bothclients. For example, Heitler directly asks Judith to elaborate whatshe wants from Richard. Using this open questions presents Judithwith the opportunity to state her feelings. Heitler asked thequestion because Judith mentioned that Richard consistently failed torespond to her most pertinent needs. The question was effective sinceit revealed how much Judith desired to start a family. Heitler alsoinvited Richard to relate his feelings about starting a family(Heitler &amp Holland, 1995). This open question enabled Richard tostate his underlying reservations.

The counseloralso uses an open question to Judith inquiring how often she getsupset during discussions with the husband. After that, she usesanother open question addressed to both marriage mates. This time sheinquires what would be their customary reactions upon the beginningof an argument. Heitler poses a closed question to Richard seeking toknow whether the wife’s sentiments have any merit. Finally, sheasks Richard whether he intends to move ahead with the plan to starta family (Heitler &amp Holland, 1995). I would have asked differentquestions so as to determine whether Judith felt she had an angerproblem and whether Richard wanted to start a family. I would haveasked Richard to state what he felt were the right conditions towarrant starting a family.

The sessionbetween Susan Heitler and the angry couple had plenty of enlighteningpointers. I liked the fact that Heitler ably reined in the tensionand anger between Richard and Judith. Providing a calm and peacefulenvironment was a critical step towards eventual resolution of thematter (Bitter, 2014). I also liked how the counselor broke down thebarriers of communication between the husband and wife. It isimperative to cut through certain impasses that threaten to prolongthe conflict and hamper resolution (Bitter, 2014). Another aspectthat appealed to me involved uncovering the core issues acting ashindrances to intimacy. Heitler was able to teach the coupleeffective conflict management skills. The couple would use theseskills for the remainder of their marriage life.

I was impressedby how destructive patterns of conflict were transformed intorespectful and meaningful conversations. Richard and Judith are seento address each other in a cordial and reverent manner fully in tunewith each other’s feelings (Heitler &amp Holland, 1995).Nevertheless, I took difference to the mates being made to addresseach other while at the counselor’s office. I would have helped thecouple to realize that this was a different environment. In thismanner, common argument partners would be averted.


Bitter, J. R. (2014). Theory and practice of family therapy andcounseling. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Gelso, C. J., Williams, E. N., &amp Fretz, B. R. (2014). Counselingpsychology. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Heitler, S. M., &amp Holland, J. (1995). The angry couple:Conflict-focused treatment. Hicksville, N.Y.: NewbridgeCommunications.

Kantrowitz, R. E., &amp Okun, B. F. (2014). Effective helping:Interviewing and counseling techniques. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.