The purpose of this paper is to outline how the solution-focused method of brief counselling can be used to assist students presenting difficulties in dealing with their parents and teachers. The principles of the solution-focused method explained in this paper are based on the description provided by Tom Harrison (2007).
As the issue of problematic relationships between adolescents and parents and/or teacher is frequent in a modern school setting, it is important to outline effective counselling methods to help manage such problems in a timely manner. The solution-focused method appropriately lends itself to time constraints and reluctant clients. Furthermore, this ...view middle of the document...
5. Assisting the student to develop and begin an action plan.
The steps described constitute a model of therapy that allows a degree of autonomy and positively reinforces the student’s strengths and self-concept to implement change (Harrison, 2007).
Students experiencing difficulty with their teachers are likely to be reluctant participants therefore the counselling process needs to foster a sense of willingness and trust in the student (Wittmer, 2007). Students who have been referred due to difficulties with parents and/or teachers may resist more the idea of adult influence over their lives. A counsellor adopting a collaborator or facilitator role is generally more effective than an authoritative role in this instance (Murphy, 1997). The counsellor can adopt this role through by accepting the student’s view whilst reframing his or her description so that they are able to recognise the problem. This requires the counsellor to use facilitative responses, paraphrasing and clarification of the client’s perception (Myrick, 2003).
Using the five steps outlined above (Harrison, 2007), the counsellor would need to begin by aiding the student to recognise the issue. For example, the student who has been referred by the teacher for insolent behaviour, negative attitude or a general lack of motivation is likely to infer that the conflict is not his/her problem. The client may deny the teacher’s description of his or her behaviour and resist the idea that there is even a problem. As a counsellor, it would be necessary to shift the focus of the session away from student and on to the teacher, in a way that empowers the student without undermining the teacher (Corey, 2009). I would begin by explaining that ‘Mrs Jones’ had asked for my help in assisting her with the student and was hoping for some kind of solution. I would continue to explain how I felt I should provide Mrs Jones with a positive outcome and ask the student to assist me in the matter . By using open-ended and non-confrontational questions I would develop a deeper understanding of the problem through the client’s eyes. I would ask the student if he/she had ever had difficulty responding to a teacher’s instructions. This would allow the student to perceive that he or she was helping me with my own problem. Thus, the client would feel more at ease and in control of the session. This would also encourage the client to participate in open dialogue and begin to develop a rapport with the counsellor (Schmidt, 2008). It is my aim that this line of questioning would lead the student to reveal what is the underlying issue causing the difficulty in class or at home. It is at this time that the client will present the problem or the ‘rule’ which is perpetuating the problem. The student may describe his or her situation as hopeless, whereby he/she ‘can’t get anything right’ or ‘no one understands me’. These responses indicate feelings of inadequacy and an inability to live...