Counseling is a systematic interpersonal relationship designed to assist clients to achieve self-understanding and make positive changes in their lives. Professional counselors work within a clearly defined interaction in order to assist clients to explore their environment and resolve issues which are interpersonal, intra-psychic, or personal in nature. Counseling as a planned procedure designed to assist clients to solve problems which arise in various aspects of their lives. Counseling is therefore a helping relationship which aims at promoting clients’ overall personal development. In counseling, various techniques are employed in assisting clients to overcome their problems. A counselor can use a single or multiple techniques depending on the nature of clients’ concerns. 

 Counseling Techniques 

Technique is a specific activity or action required to carry out an assignment. It is a process of activity through which a counselor gets clients to solve their problems through counseling. Counseling technique consists of activities through which a counselor achieves the goal of a particular counseling approach. For instance, the use of positive reinforcement to modify clients’ behavior is a form of technique. Therefore, counseling technique is the sequential use of counseling skills for the purpose of a particular objective. Ukwueze and Ibrahim (2015) identified thirteen counseling techniques that are commonly employed by counselors. These are: value clarification, behavior contract, case studies technique, aversive conditioning and reinforcement techniques. Others are confrontation, systematic desensitization, assertive training, modeling, role play, simulation, behavior modification, self – control, teaching and forcing conformity techniques. However, we will just discuss in detail five of these counseling techniques. 

  1. Values Clarification Technique 

This involves assisting clients to understand the importance or usefulness of their views, feelings and beliefs . In counseling, clients’ values are considered as ideas about what the clients regard to be most important in life, and how the clients want to live their lives. Values are the driving forces responsible for a client’s action, beliefs and, to a large extent, they determine whether or not the clients will accept or reject counselors professional assistance. Values clarification is therefore employed by counselors to assist clients to assess their ideas in relation to their environment. The skill is used to guide clients to change their values in order to release tensions arising from inability to adjust to environmental challenges. 

  1. Behavior Contract 

Behavior contract is a technique that involves a pre-arranged contractual and deliberate use of reinforcement to elicit a desirable behavior. It involves an arrangement between two or more persons specifying what each person will do for a stated period of time in order to achieve a desired goal. The arrangement could be between a teacher and a student, a parent and his/her child, a counselor and a client or a group of others. Behavior contract can be used to elicit desirable behavior from the client. For instance, a student who performs poorly in Physics but likes to ride a bicycle can enter a contract with his/her parents. The terms of agreement may read that each time the child scores above average in Physics, she will be allowed to ride the bicycle for thirty minutes but will be denied if otherwise. The counselor using this technique is liable to utilize explanation, trust, reliability, patience, engagement, encouragement and mutual respect skills to handle his/her clients’ problems in order to achieve desirable behavior.

  1. Case Studies Technique 

Case studies technique is an in-depth investigation of a single client, or group of clients over a period of time. In using case studies, the counselor collects data using various sources; such as observations and interviews. Case studies technique is often confined to the study of a particular individual. The data obtained is mainly biographical and it relates to events in the individual’s past (i.e. retrospective), as well as to significant events which are currently occurring in his/her life. Case studies technique requires a detailed and comprehensive profile of clients, thus, counseling psychologists may use various types of assessment data, such as medical records, employer’s reports, school reports and reports on psychological tests . Interview is also an extremely effective procedure for obtaining information about an individual, and it may be used to collect data from a client’s friends, parents, employer, workmates and others who have a good knowledge of the person, as well as to obtain facts from the person.

  1. Aversive Conditioning 

This technique can be used to reduce or eliminate undesirable behavior which an individual has acquired and which seems to be pleasant to the individual. Environmental factors such as peer or parental influence which might have led an individual to engage in certain pleasant but self-defeating behavior such as smoking. In using this technique, the undesirable behavior is paired with aversive stimulus that the person dislikes or escapes. For example, if someone who smokes hates the odor or smell of a certain perfume. The stick of the cigarette can be inserted into the perfume and the smoker can be asked to smoke the cigarette. This could irritate him/her and consequently leads to reduction or elimination of such behavior. 

  1. Reinforcement Technique 

Reinforcement can be described as the act of presenting rewards to an individual to encourage exhibition of desirable behavior. It is any action, event or stimulus which increases the frequency of a desired behavior. This technique stresses the relevance of environmental factors to an individual’s behavior. Reinforcement helps to increase the occurrence of desirable behavior. There are two main types of reinforcements; they are: 

1. Positive Reinforcement: this involves provision of pleasant stimulus to get increase or repetition of a desirable behavior. The rewards could be tangible in form of token, sweet or other physical things; it could be verbal praises (intangible) 

ii. Negative Reinforcement: this refers to withdrawal of negative stimulus or privilege to increase desirable behavior. For example, a student that has been failing mathematics and hates plate washing may be relieved of the latter in order to enhance his/her performance in Mathematics. 

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By Teezab

His name is Tiamiy Abdulbazeet. He is a writer and loves to write about Education, and all types of news. If he is not writing, then know that he is playing a game!😃

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