As an introduction to this section, reflect on the techniques you have already learned about this unit. Examples include the use of Socratic questioning in Cognitive behaviour therapy, the use of a genogram in
Family therapy, or dream analysis in Gestalt therapy.
1. Which ones have stood out for you as techniques you are most likely to use in counselling? List at least 4. Why do they appeal to you most?
2. When would you use each of the techniques you have listed and why?
A counselling technique is a particular action or activity the counsellor uses to assist the client to progress in counselling.
The techniques that you choose to help clients will depend on the approach to counselling that you are working from. This is because the techniques associated with each approach are based on the theory associated with that approach.
Asking the miracle question is based on an idea from brief therapy that clients need to focus on solving their problems in the future and that by clearly identifying what needs to change they can start to work towards positive change.
Week 7: Selecting appropriate counselling techniques 57
The miracle question would not be used by a counsellor working from a psychodynamic approach, for example, because the theory behind the technique is at odds with psychodynamic theory that presupposes we need to look to the past and our unconscious to resolve problems in the present. Similarly, asking a client to undertake homework is a common technique in Cognitive behaviour therapy, which focuses on actions and experiments on the part of the client. But unlikely to be a technique used in person-centred counselling, which focuses on the relationship between client and counsellor as the most important therapeutic tool.
Help clients feel at ease
It is important to develop rapport with clients early in the relationship so their sense of comfort, feelings of security and trust of the counselling situation are felt immediately. Once rapport has been established, respect, trust and shared purpose are present in the relationship and the client and counsellor can begin to work together effectively. The