A lot of counselors’ only technique is the relationship itself. I reject this as the only approach — I have specific tools (methods, theories, books, cards, exercises, etc.) that address specific symptoms.
It is however critically important that we connect. I need to hold a safe and comfortable space for you. I have many clients who just need someone to listen, care, and bounce ideas off of. Others want me to challenge and confront them. We’ll discuss how the relationship is feeling as we go.
Part of holding the proper counseling relationship involves the use of active listening skills and unconditional positive regard. The active listening skills ensure that I understand what you are trying to say, that you feel understood, and perhaps hearing me occasionally summarize what you are saying even helps you clarify your thoughts on the matter at hand. Unconditional positive regard does not mean that I agree with everything you say and do — it means that I hold you as a person in esteem and treat you accordingly.
I believe in respecting my client’s choices and background, and mutual collaboration towards goals. Knowing you are not alone can help depression.
There is an intangible aspect to healing relationships. One client’s favorite counselor is another client’s discarded former counselor. Regardless of tools and techniques the people in the relationship — client and counselor — have to click somehow.