There is a natural progression that takes place within the context of the helping relationship. This process enables you and the person you are working with to build a relationship, assess the situation, set goals and come up with a plan to bring about your desired results. This progression is known as the counseling process. There are four stages of the counseling process. They are: developing a relationship, making an informed assessment, establishing mutually agreed upon goals and objectives and developing an implementation plan.
Phase 1. Developing A Relationship
In order to develop positive helping relationships with youth, you’ve got to be able to connect with them. This can only happen when youth are made to feel like you genuinely care about their well-being and that you understand where they are coming from. It’s about behaving in a way that demonstrates the core conditions of genuineness, respect and empathy.
To develop solid relationships with youth, you need to create a safe environment where young people will feel comfortable enough to open up to you and talk to you about anything that is on their minds. You also need to help youth see that despite their circumstances they have strengths. In short, you should start things off from a strengths-based perspective.
Questions to Consider When Trying to
Develop A Relationship
· In what ways can you build better relationships with the youth in your program?
· If there are youth who are not actively engaged, what can you do differently to engage them?
· If a youth is resistant, what steps can you take to reduce resistance?
· What worked in the past with resistant youth?
· How do you know when you’ve built a solid relationship with a youth? Could you use these indicators to strengthen your relationships with other youth?
Phase 2. Making An Informed Assessment
An informed assessment happens when both you and the youth gather information in order to figure out what’s “really” going on so that you can assess what needs to happen next in order to change the situation for the better or build up the youth’s coping skills to better deal with a problematic situation. The first step in making an assessment is to find out if change is necessary, and if it is what needs to happen for change to take place. If you have determined that change is necessary, then the next step is to figure out what needs to change. Is it a behavior? An attitude? A situation?
A good assessment can provide an opportunity for a young person to see how his/her behavior or attitude might be…