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Response to Peer Response Assignment

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Reflect on counseling skills that relate to rapport building, as well as how theoretical orientation may shape how you build rapport.

Rapport is something that every counselor should develop with each of their clients. Rapport is the feeling of being heard, understood, and cared about. The level of care is stronger with the greater strength of rapport. One of the best ways to build rapport is through active listening, understanding the client’s cultural values, the encouragement of conversation, the building of trust.

What is your theoretical orientation preference?

It is important for all counselors to be flexible when it comes treatment of their clients, especially when it comes with conducting group counseling. The theoretical orientation that I find myself drawn to the systemic counseling.

What 2 to 3 key concepts and interventions from this theoretical orientation contributed to making this your selection?

The systemic counseling approach appeals to me the most because it focuses on the idea that an individual’s feelings and behaviors are largely influenced by the pressures applied on them by the social system in which they live in. Another concept that grabs my attention is that this approach is a non-directive approach, meaning that the clients learn how to recognize patterns for themselves and with the therapist assistance. 

Valerie Long

It is important to actively listen, show empathy and compassion, remembering to use the client(s) name(s), asking open-ended questions, and never judge. We used to spend the first ten minutes of the group session allowing each member to openly discuss how the week has been going or if needed to discuss something that was upsetting/bothering the member. This allowed each member to have a moment to vent (good or bad) how the week had been giving the member a voice. 

The combination of psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic approaches is all used in sessions. Every client is different, what works for one may not work for another.  At the moment, working with mentally challenged individuals I am constantly changing depending on the diagnosis. Even in the past when working with substance abuse, the combination of all four approaches was evident. Someone who grew up in a home with abuse may follow the same steps, retraining the brain/behavior has one using behavioral therapy. While others may turn to substance abuse to bury the past. Using the strengths of the client to first focus on overcoming the substance abuse, then turning towards bringing the past to the surface and working on treatment and healing from the trauma. 

The use of problem-solving, focusing on the here and now, self-reflection, mediation/relaxation, role-play, and even positive self-talk can all be used when working the clients. Open honest communication is one of the most important skills to use. Along with compassion, empathy, and treating clients with respect and dignity.  

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