Blocks usually occur either before choice or before action. A counsellor ought not to try and push the client into making a choice or action but is better off trying to point out to the client that they are facing a block that is impeding them.
A common problem is the adage “better the devil you know than the one you don’t”.
Someone who makes decisions and actions to change their life has to cope not only with their own feelings, but also those of others.
If a client does something new, then there is a risk involved in that could result in pain. It could be easier to go on as at present with a known pain, than to stick your neck out and enter into unknown pain.
It can be seen therefore that a client’s choices and actions can often be blocked by fears and anxieties.
These may include the following:
- inability to deal with one’s own feelings.
- inability to deal with the feelings of others.
- fear of the consequences.
- fear of a repetition of painful past experiences.
- inappropriate consideration of ‘musts’, ‘shoulds’, and ‘oughts’.
- fear of loss of comfort.
- lack of skills to achieve desired action.
Overcoming Psychological Blocks
It is the role of the counsellor to point out to the client that they are experiencing a block. By raising their awareness of this block, many will be able to explore and deal with it, thus allowing them to move freely around the circle.
They may also discover that by confronting the blockage they have another more important issue to deal with.
For many clients merely pointing out the blockage is not sufficient for them to overcome it. In such instances these clients need assistance in eliciting changes to their lifestyles. In addition, other clients may make a decision, but are unable to carry out the necessary action, because they lack the skills or confidence to do so.
The idea is not to make decisions on behalf of the client, but rather help them to organize their lives so that they are able to go and make the decisions that they need to make for themselves. You can then run through the processes that have been employed to help them reach a decision, so that they can use the same framework to make their own decisions in future.
The following steps may serve as a guide:
- 1-Raise awareness.
- 2-Identify the goal.
- 3-Delineate step 1 toward achieving the goal (& make it realistic)
- 4-Make step 1 concrete (i.e. clear and specific).
- 5-Decide how to enact step 1 (consider consequences).
- 6-Acquire the skills necessary to carry out step 1.
- 7-Decide when to accomplish it (if a clear vision is not formulated,
this can lead to inaction)
- 8-Do it (the process is important. If they do not carry out step 1,
they will discover what stopped them and make a new decision)
- 9-Reward self for doing so (the counsellor should reward the client by maximizing their achievements, thus encouraging positive decisions and action)
- 10-Reassess the overall goal (they may find that the original goal
is no longer desired)
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