Stress Management For Clients and Their Counselors. Michele D. Aluoch , PCC River of Life Professional Counseling LLC c.2013. The Client’s Stress. Area #1- Not Feeling Listened To. Three Common Assumptions about Listening (Barker, L., & Watson, K., 2000 )
Michele D. Aluoch, PCC
River of Life Professional Counseling LLC
Three Common Assumptions about Listening(Barker, L., & Watson, K., 2000)
A) RESPONSE QUALITY RESISTANCE
B) RESPONSE CONTENT RESISTANCE
C) RESPONSE STYLE RESISTANCE
D) LOGISTIC MANAGEMENT RESISTANCE
Denial- rejecting responsibility
Displacement- shifting responsibility to a vulnerable substitute
Identification- acting like someone he/she admires
Undoing- Trying to reverse an unhealthy behavior by doing something opposite
Intellectualization- avoiding unpleasant feelings which are perceived as “negative” and make someone feel vulnerable
Projection-attributing unacceptable behaviors to others that are really characteristic of self
Rationalization-Justifying one’s behaviors
Reaction formation- Exaggerating claims of highly moral actions and attitudes
Regression-returning to an earlier stage of maturation and development
Repression-Resisting discussing or approaching topics or barring self or others from certain topics
*** Counselors can have a significant role in shaping mattering.***
Reasons to Disclose
Reasons against Disclosure
What May Be Disclosed:
Not only 1) perceiving the client’s view
What this achieves:
Types of Confrontation
What I Expect of The Mental Health Field
What I Believe Is Expected of Me In My Job Setting
My Company ShouldMy Company Actually
Strong commitment of employees Weak commitment of counselors
Strong availability/support from staff Isolation, weak involvement of staff
Co-worker relationships- encouraged Minimal opportunities for rel.
Support supervision Low collegial support
Specific, concrete expectations Ambiguous/changing expectations
Freedom for some autonomy Discouraging new ideas/creativity
Reasonable deadlines Excessive unrealistic time pressure
Some staff retention High turnover of staff
Sense of purpose/fulfillment Doubt as to meaning/purpose
Clients who want help Mandated clients
Realistic specific goals Goals which cannot be achieved
Solid clinical identity Need to be liked by clients
Facilitator, counselor Responsible for change
Separation self/client Self tied to client outcomes
Setbacks are one part Setbacks as personal
if only ___, then ___.
Poor GoalsImproved Goals
To improve client’s
sense of self confidence.
To help the client have
greater self satisfaction.
To improve communication
Poor GoalsImproved Goals
For parent and child to
To feel less depressed.
For things not to get to the
client as much as they do.
Sense that one can no longer give as much of oneself
to clients professionally
“I feel like this job takes too much out of me.”
“This job is more tiring and less pleasurable than it used to be.”
Increasingly cynical attitudes about the counseling field
“I can see why my clients are fed up with the system.”
Negative/critical self evaluations
“I don’t feel like I am making as much of a difference in people’s lives as I ‘should’ be or I would like to be making.”
I would like to do my best with this effort, but I do
not have to be perfect.
I\'m still a good person even when I make a mistake.
I can do something well and appreciate it, without it being perfect.
I will be happier and perform better if I try to work at a realistic level, rather than demanding perfection of myself.
It is impossible for anyone to function perfectly all the time.
Signs of burnout are not my fault as a “weak” person.
Struggles of Counselors
Caseload= highly related to burnout
Workload- the actual amount of time spent in client contact and work related functions
Defining Counselor Wellness
Both an outcome and a process
Involves several dimensions
2 Coping Models:
Four Functions of Leisure
1) Serves as a distraction away from negative life events- temporary suspension from them (Pallative coping & Leisure mood enhancement)
2) Generating optimism about the future- cognitive reappraisal, consideration of possible perspectives
3) Reconstruction of one’s life story- back to “normal”
4) To assist with personal transformation- writing the story and planning for different endings
Stamina- strength to withstand and hold up under pressure
Seven Principles of Counselor Stamina:
2.Temporal selectivity- time consciousness
3. Accountability- partnering with credible colleagues
4. Measurement/management- conserving and budgeting resources
5. Inquisitiveness- fascination with people and their journey in life
7. Acknowledgement of agency
Hardiness- mediates effects of stress
1)Commitment (involvement with people)
2) Control (influence over outcomes rather than powerlessness)
3) Challenge (learning from experience)
Those who support this view claim that virtues can be cultivated if innate inclination: self discipline, compassion, friendship, work, perseverance, honesty, loyalty, truth, selflessness (Hall, S.E., 2006)
1) Agency- belief that goals can be met, goals are manageable and achievable
2) Pathways- Actual behavioral plans of implementing goals
1. Relational- community of others
2. A Practice- not in isolation, not just one goal
3. Maintains that the future is open, uncertain, and influenceable- realistic but full of possibilities
4. Seeks Goals and Pathways to Achieving Them- willing to do trial and error and modify as needed
5. Accomodates doubt, contradictions, and despair- life can be messy
Emotions, Mood, and Affect
The Most Important Factor: Social Support Systems
What social supports do that helps:
Focusing on similar elements among all people-
Reducing self blame
Facilitating realistic self acceptance
“I can let things happen in the moment.”
“I try to see the beauty in everything.”
“Playfulness is not necessarily unproductive or wasteful.”
“I can periodically revisit how I am feeling and what I need.”
“Meanings of my personal and career goals are allowed to change with age and life stage.”
Arts, cooking, music, meditation, physical activity, walking, physical labor, prayer, hobbies, et.
Effects of Traumatic Cases
Effects of Traumatic Cases
Does this effect or influence counselor burnout?
NOTE: May also extend to family of the counselor and support systems of the counselor
Child abuse, terrorism victims, physical or emotional abuse victims, natural disaster victims, violent crime victims, people with sudden violent deaths
Those Most Prone To Burnout
Serenity Prayer Exercise:
Goals for myself What I can’t control What I can control
I want to be helpful
to people who have
limited life skills or
I want to make a
change in other’s lives.
Feelings BUT Positive self statement
Concerns Strengths based
Plan a eulogy for yourself. Write at least 3-5 important variables that you want memorialized about yourself.
What are you doing to pursue these now?
2. Ability to catch and challenge triggers so they don’t repeat themselves.
3. Personal issues are caught before they spill over into client relationships.
4. There is less risk of an ethical violation or losing your practice.
5. Burnout may be thwarted.
6. Options of actions can be considered.
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