276  – Career Counselling

276 – Career Counselling

Carl Rogers’ Potato Analogy – Client-Centred Ethics

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In Episode 276 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, your hosts Rory Lees-Oakes and Ken Kelly are back with this week’s three topics:

  • First up in ‘Student Services’ we look at Carl Rogers’ potato observation, focusing on self-actualisation and hopes.
  • Then in ‘Ethical, Sustainable Practice’, Rory and Ken speak about client-centred ethics and navigating outcomes and limitation in therapy.
  • And lastly in ‘Practice Matters’, Rory speaks with Richard Rotberg on career counselling.

Carl Rogers’ Potato Analogy [starts at 02:50 mins]

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Carl Rogers’ potato observation offers a new perspective for us to take into the therapy room. Listen as Rory and Ken discuss some of the main takeaways from this theory:

  • Rogers says all behaviour is goal directed.
  • Everybody is trying to be the best they can be.
  • Understanding the clients’ goals will make it easier for you to meet them where they are.
  • The potato observation points out that you do the best you can in the circumstances and environment you’re in.
  • Person-centred therapy relies on the quality of the therapeutic relationship.
  • It’s about feeling heard, free of judgement.
  • Just a small encounter can have a big effect.
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Client-Centred Ethics [starts at 19:29 mins]

When it comes to your sessions, it’s important to note you’re working within the means of your client. In this section, Rory and Ken talk about some things you might want to be mindful about when it comes to outcomes and limitations in therapy:

  • It’s important that you’re being open about pricing with clients – letting them know how many sessions it might take so they can evaluate if it’s possible for them.
  • Always consider whether you are the right fit for the client. Do they need something different? Someone who works in a different modality or niche?
  • Be completely honest with a client about how long it could take to resolve their issue – some cases of trauma can take years etc.
  • You don’t have to give an exact number of sessions.
  • You don’t have to stick to a strict format of one session a week – your client may benefit more from two sessions a week, one every other week, or once a month etc.
  • The sessions can change and evolve with the client.

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Career Counselling [starts at 31:41 mins]

In this week’s ‘Practice Matters’, Rory speaks with retired American psychologist, Richard Rotberg, who's written a book called Understanding and Managing Career Problems in Therapy.

The key points of this discussion on career counselling include:

  • Sometimes a career issue is actually due to/linked with an underlying emotional, psychological, or behavioural issue.
  • We don’t leave our personalities at the door when we go to work.
  • When discussing your client’s career during counselling, asking the right questions can help you determine if it is a career issue or an underlying emotional one.
  • It might feel uncomfortable to ask a client about their work.
  • By asking a client what they do, you allow them to speak about their achievements and accomplishments. This may help them to feel more comfortable within the therapeutic relationship.
  • They may begin to share more about the issues they’re having with work.
  • In career counselling, you might find that your client is struggling with authority, co-workers, or people they supervise. These dynamics may parallel some of the relationships they have outside of work e.g. with family.
  • Do the values of the client fit with those of the company they work for?
  • You might find answers in a client’s history.
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Carl Rogers’ Famous Potato Observation

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