Counselling strategies 3

• The therapy should be patient-centred.

• Use gentle, clever, probing questions.

• Facilitate the discussion to draw out relevant areas.

• It is important to be non-judgmental.

• Counsel through intuition and base it on common sense.

• Do not try to rush patients into achieving a happy ending.

• Provide guidance to allow the patient to gain insight.

• Wherever possible, make therapy non-authoritarian and non-directional.

• Use appropriate 'gentle' confrontation to allow self-examination.

• Help patients to explore their own situation and express emotions such as anxiety, guilt, fear, anger, hope, sadness, self-hate, hostility to others and hurt feelings.

• Explore possible feelings of insecurity and allow free expression of such feelings.

• Explore patients' belief systems and consider and respect their spiritual aspirations and conflicts.

• Ask key searching questions such as:

o 'What would be different in your life if you were well?' o 'Who are you mad at?'

o 'If I understand you correctly you are telling me that ...' o 'You seem to be telling me that ...'

o 'Correct me if I'm on the wrong track, but you are saying that ...' o 'What do you think deep down is the cause of your problem?' o 'What does your illness do to you?' o 'Do you really worry about any things in particular?' o 'How do you think your problem should be treated?' o 'If you could change anything in your life what would it be?'

Avoid:

• telling patients what they must do/offering solutions

• giving advice based on your own personal experiences and beliefs

• bringing up problems that the patient does not produce voluntarily

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