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One of the misconceptions that people have regarding counseling is that one comes to a counselor to get advice as to how to handle a problem.  How many times have you had someone come to you with a problem and immediately you tell them what they need to do to fix the problem?  Then you feel great because you have taken care of someone’s problem and they feel better because you have given the person a direction to go.
But – what if your solution does not work?  The person tries it, and nothing changes or things get worse.  How do you think that will help build a trusting relationship between you (the professional) and the client?  Many things can go wrong in giving advice:

  1. What works or worked for you may not work for the person
  2. The person tries your advice but does not work it out appropriately or does not use your advice exactly as you meant it to be used
  3. The others in the person’s life do not change even though the client tries your advice
  4. Having to have all the answers puts a real burden on the helper

Often you will find that within just a few minutes of listening to the other person, you “know” exactly what he/she needs to do.  However, the person needs to discover on his/her own what will work.  Giving advice is such a temptation in the counseling process.  This assignment gives the students information as to a better way to work together with the client to find answers best for him or her.

  • Review Chapter 5 of your textbook by Neukrug
  • Write a 3 page paper addressing the following:
    • How difficult is it for you NOT to give advice when someone comes to you with a problem?  Why is this difficult?
    • Give an example of a time when your advice to someone did not work
    • What if you asked something like “have you tried to…….?”  Would this be giving advice? Why or why not?
  • Research 2-3 peer reviewed articles regarding giving advice in the counseling process.  Summarize what others say about giving advice.
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