Although the counseling process is unique to each individual, it will probably include: logical processing, emotional identification or expression, homework assignments, problem solving, and spiritual, intellectual, and emotional exploration. Counseling will possibly include: role-playing, imagery exercises, or other techniques that may seem helpful and that fall within the standard of practice for mental health professionals.
The client will never be asked to do anything she or he finds uncomfortable.
This is basically a fancy term for asking questions to get at the heart of an issue. So, perhaps Jane tells you, “I’m so angry that John does that!” You then ask, “What is it about what John is doing that you are angry about?,” or, “In what way are you angry?” These are questions meant to further clarify and identify exactly what it is Jane is experiencing.
Emotional Identification or Expression
Often, individuals will either fail to identify an emotional experience or use broad terms such as “frustrated” or “upset” to describe how they feel. Acknowledging a feeling previously unnoticed or ignored can be empowering for someone as she or he gains the ability to precisely describe what he or she is experiencing. In the same way, an individual who is clearly aware of the difficult emotions with which he or she is struggling gains confidence and self-awareness when she or he can more clearly conceptualize and express one’s experience.
Additionally, expressing or sharing emotions is a powerful means of confronting and resolving internal conflict, or incongruence. Doing one thing while we knowingly or unknowingly feel another causes tension until we do so intentionally.
Leaving the counseling office with a homework assignment is an ideal way to solidify discoveries or progress made during sessions. This is a mechanism to prevent stagnation or backsliding between counseling sessions.
Sometimes deep personal emotional exploration will do nothing to change a difficult situation or circumstance. Getting to know ourselves better will not help us switch to the job we realize is a better fit, apologize to those we’ve harmed, or put together a budget. These require basic problem solving skills such as evaluating pros and cons or brainstorming.
Spiritual, Intellectual, and Emotional Exploration
These are all essential elements of mental health. Exploring one’s internal condition is a basic element of change, and it is often a step that must be repeated throughout the counseling process. This is the “raising consciousness” Adam refers to in his mission statement, “Raising Consciousness and Bringing the Kingdom.”