Change Process in Counselling

Here's what Daniel Stone & Associates believe about how the various brief counselling models help set the stage for change in counselling.

How change occurs in the counselling process is a broad and deep, not easily simplified, topic. DSA's perspective is that most short-term therapies, including the more recent innovative ones, share certain treatment mechanisms:

  • quickly, actively engage the client
  • reduce anxiety (or build resources to help the client tolerate anxiety)
  • correct problematic thinking (cognitive distortions)
  • help the person process and integrate thoughts, memories, physical and emotional feelings

Briefly, most short-term therapies want to stabilize, integrate, then move to strengthen post-integration self, and self-other, relationships. Regardless of which type of therapy is utilized we believe each of these treatment mechanisms must be present in order for positive outcomes to occur.

Determinants of success in counselling will most likely include a combination of key treatment mechanisms, the vitality of the therapeutic relationship created within the client-counsellor alliance, and the personal characteristics of both the counsellor and the client.

Key counsellor characteristics include theoretical and practical knowledge, credibility, warmth, respect for the client, wholehearted listening and responding skills.

Key client characteristics that seem necessary for true change include motivation level, determination, confidence in the counsellor, honesty in self-reporting, willingness to confront resistence, realistic expectation of outcomes.