114 – Counselling Reluctant Clients

114 – Counselling Reluctant Clients

Sex in the Therapy Room – Use of Academic Journals

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In episode 114 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes talk about counselling reluctant clients. In ‘Practice Matters’, Rory then discusses how to approach clients who discuss intimate relationships in therapy. Finally, the presenters look at using academic journals.

Counselling Reluctant Clients (starts at 1.22 mins)

This topic relates to a question asked recently in the Counselling Tutor Facebook group, where you can find over 23,000 students, qualified practitioners and tutors interested in the world of counselling and psychotherapy.

Every Friday, Rory offers his ‘Friday Takeaway’, where he goes live and answers any questions you might have.

Clients may be hesitant at any stage of counselling – it is likely that even before they contacted a counsellor or counselling agency, they were preparing themselves to do so.

It takes a lot of courage to be willing to come along and talk about difficult issues. Even once a client is there in the counselling room, they may hesitate to share fully what is going on for them.

It’s really important that you, as the therapist, put yourself in the client’s frame of reference in understanding how it is for them at each stage.

So when counselling reluctant clients, do think carefully about how you can help put your client at ease (even down to room furnishings) and tread carefully in not forcing them to move faster than feels safe for them.

Rory quotes the example of John Shlien, who worked with Carl Rogers.

In his book, To Lead an Honorable Life (PCCS Books, 2003: 1), Shlien spoke of visiting a poppy field to watch the flowers open in the sun, observing that he could force the petals open in an effort to speed up the process, but that doing so inevitably damaged the beautiful flower within.

In other words, people must be allowed to open safely in their own good time.

Sex in the Therapy Room (starts at 14.50 mins)

Sexuality may be a topic that arises in the therapy room, when clients choose to talk about their intimate relationships.

Rory offers a number of tips, including the following:

  • It’s important to be open to hearing about any aspect of this, from the full range of sexual preferences.
  • If you feel you are struggling with a particular aspect of sexuality, consider having personal therapy and speaking to your supervisor to explore this prejudice.
  • Don’t rely on your client to educate you about an area of sexuality that you don’t understand: do your own research instead.

Rory’s handout on this topic can be downloaded here; it is also available through the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR).

Use of Academic Journals (starts at 21.44 mins)

It was an academic journal – the Journal of Consulting Psychology – where Carl Rogers’ seminal paper ‘The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Therapeutic Personality Change’ was first published, in 1957.

Indeed, academic journals focus on publishing leading-edge research, and so are a great place to look if you want really up-to-date information. This can be useful for:

  • preparing for assignments on your counselling course
  • deciding what area you might like to specialise in as a counsellor
  • becoming more informed for when you go to job or placement interviews.

If you are studying at a university, you should have access to academic journals through the library there.

If you are studying at a college or a private provider of counselling training, you can still access academic articles through the Access to Research initiative.

Although academic journals are likely to be more up-to-date than many textbooks, one book that we can guarantee as really fresh is the hot-off-the-press Counselling Theory in Practice: A Student Guide, written by Rory himself (Nielsens UK, 2019).

In podcast 113, you can hear Ken interview Rory about his work on this book, and motivation behind writing it. You can buy your copy from Amazon.

Free Handout Download

Discussing Sex in the Therapy Room

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