Conceptualizing Problems and Setting
• There are some of the larger issues of
counseling which we need to
appropriately consider. These are:
– Nature of the client problems
– Establishment of goals that are
realistic antecedents to the solutions
of the those problems.
Conceptualizing problem and establishment of
• There are philosophical questions that
underlie even these issues, since there
is no one way of conceptualizing human
• What brings clients to counseling?
– 1. Clients enter counseling when they
experience needs that they alone are
unable to understand or to meet.
– 2. The experience of “needing” is a natural
part of the process of living and is the
means which we facilitate and enhance that
• All human beings share certain basic needs.
• 1. Survival needs –self preservation
• 2. Physical needs – nourishment ,freedom
from pain,rest, replenishment of energy
• 3. Love and sex needs –to become involve
to another person
• 4. Status, success, and self-esteem-needs
that motivate us to gain
respect,confidence , & admiration
• 5. Physical and mental-health needs. To
become a functional human beings
• 6. Freedom needs –To feel autonomous,
free to make own choices or free not
• 7. Challenge needs – the need for an
activity, future orientation,opportunity
(not feel bored)
• 8. Cognitive-clarity needs. Our drive to
resolve the conflicts in values, ideas,
and commitment that exist in our world.
Role of counselor when these needs are
• Create a favorable climate for counseling,
even beyond being a good and caring
• To hear the unmet needs as clients
describe their problems;
• To help them hear those needs as well
• To help clients translate these needs into
wants in clear and that the working mode
can be translated from a passive to an
• Listen for those solutions that client has
tried that have become part of the problem
and help the client see this.
• Help clients formulate goals that will help
meet the needs.
• Help client recognize that they are making
Responses of the clients in attempting to
solve the problems
• 1. Attitudes the client may already have that
contribute to the problem, impede the
solution , or become the problem;
• 2. Feelings, the emotional responses to the
problem that often exaggerate the problem,
impede the comprehension of the problem or
become the problem;
• 3. Behavior, the habits and routines that are
unthought or inappropriate responses, and
perhaps contributors to the problem;
• 4. Interaction Patterns. These established
ways of reacting to familiar others
including miscommunication channels,
expectations, self fulfilling prophesies, etc.
Two types of Goals
• 1. Process goals. (General goals) These
are related to the establisment of
therapeutic conditions necessary for client
change. e.g. establishing rapport
• 2. Outcome goals. These are goals
directed to your client's changes to be
made as a result of counseling. (Visible &
• Clients need to understand their concern
and how counseling can be used to
respond to their concerns.
Exercise on Goal Setting (3 goals)
• Gary is in Grade 11. He is bright and
personable, but a little bit shy. He came to
counseling with the problem of relating to girls.
Specifically, he belives hat there is some flaw in
his personality that “turns girls off”. His reason
for thinking this grow out of his experience with
dating. He reports that girls go out with him
once or twice and then don't acccept anymore
dates. He admits getting discouraged when he
calls a girl for a date and she says she already
has a commitment. If this happens tweice, he
never calls the girl again, assuming that she
doesn't want to date him.
Three elements of Good Outcome
• 1st element includes the behavior to
• 2nd, the conditions under which the
changed behavior will occur;
• 3rd, the level or amount of change.
• Determine which of the elements of an outcome
goal- behavior, condition or level may be
• 1. To decrease temper tantrums.
• 2. To increase exercise to two times a week over
a six week period.
• 3. To decrease the number of nightly arguments
at home with your father.
• 4. To decrease tardiness.
• 5. To reduce aggressive behavior with siblings
• 6. To make 3 positive comments about the
strengths of each member of your family during
• 1. The missing elements are the (C) and (L) of the goal.
• 2. This goal specifies the behavior and the level; the
condition (C) is missing.
• 3. The level (L)of the goal is missing here.
• 4. This goal specifies the behavior (b); the condition (c)
and level (L) are not present.
• 5. The behavior (B) is missing here; aggressive
behavior” is a lable and does not specify what the person
• 6. this is a complete outcome goal ! ” Making positive
comments” is the behavior; “three of them in one week”
is the level; “ to each family member” is the condition.
• Are your goals specific or vague?
• How would you and Garry know when you
had achieved these goals?
• Are your goals process or outcome goals?
• If they are process goals, would you need
to involve Tom in their establishment?
• If they are outcome goals, how would
achieving them affect Tom's dating
How outcome goals are established?
• 1. They begin as overall goals that are
directly related to the client's specific or
general concerns or descrition of a set of
• 2. Specific and observable sub-goals are
established whichd if achieved, permit the
realization of the overall goals.
• Based from the e.g. case, write your general
goal and 4 specific goals
• Specific goals
Client participation in goal setting
• Goal setting is highly personal. Therefore,
the client must select goals that are
important enough to make sacrifices to
• Both counselor and client could work
together to determine specific goals and
subgoals, that when achieved might
alleviate the client's concerns.
Client should be helped to develop more fully his or her self-actualizing potential and to increase the frequency of positive self-statments by e.g. 50%
Ientify a few goals which you think might be appropriate in working with Garry , given that you know very little about him.
Thus, goal-setting moves from general to specific goals; the specific goals are directly related to the general goal, and the general goal is a reflection of the problems presented to the counselor.
As with aspect of the counseling relationship, goal-setting should be an interactdive process, both assume responsibility.