The purpose of this paper is to outline how the solution-focused method of brief counselling can be used to assist students presenting difficulties in dealing with their parents and teachers. The principles of the solution-focused method explained in this paper are based on the description provided by Tom Harrison (2007).
As the issue of problematic relationships between adolescents and parents and/or teacher is frequent in a modern school setting, it is important to outline effective counselling methods to help manage such problems in a timely manner. The solution-focused method appropriately lends itself to time constraints and reluctant clients. Furthermore, this method enables the student to direct the counselling and give them a sense of empowerment (Lines, 2006).
Method and Application
The multi-faceted responsibilities of the school counsellor places demanding expectations on their time. As a result, time management skills become vital and time-limited counselling methods that utilise strengths and concentrate on the future become necessary tools of the profession (Lines, 2006).
This method encompasses several methods including the solution-focused therapy which emphasises client-strengths and short-term treatment. There are several positive features of this model that make it successful in the school context. The most prominent advantage is the client-centered strength-based approach it takes to developing the skills to handle problems (Franklin, Kelly & Kim, 2008).
The Homework on Solution Focused Brief Therapy
Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is an innovative psychotherapy approach, that is future and goal oriented. It highlights mainly solutions rather than problems and causes (Hough,2002). It was pioneered by De Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg in the late 1970’s at the Brief Family Therapy Centre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Iverson, 2002). SFBT takes a constructionist approach, whereby there is no ...
Harrison (2007) describes the five steps to solution focused therapy. These are:
1. Enabling the student to identify the problem.
2. Enabling the student to identify desired changes or coping goals to solve the problem.
3. Encouraging the student to use prior experience to recall success with a similar problem.
4. Encouraging the student to focus on their own strengths and achievements to fix their problem.
5. Assisting the student to develop and begin an action plan.
The steps described constitute a model of therapy that allows a degree of autonomy and positively reinforces the student’s strengths and self-concept to implement change (Harrison, 2007).
Students experiencing difficulty with their teachers are likely to be reluctant participants therefore the counselling process needs to foster a sense of willingness and trust in the student (Wittmer, 2007).
Students who have been referred due to difficulties with parents and/or teachers may resist more the idea of adult influence over their lives. A counsellor adopting a collaborator or facilitator role is generally more effective than an authoritative role in this instance (Murphy, 1997).
The counsellor can adopt this role through by accepting the student’s view whilst reframing his or her description so that they are able to recognise the problem. This requires the counsellor to use facilitative responses, paraphrasing and clarification of the client’s perception (Myrick, 2003).
Using the five steps outlined above (Harrison, 2007), the counsellor would need to begin by aiding the student to recognise the issue. For example, the student who has been referred by the teacher for insolent behaviour, negative attitude or a general lack of motivation is likely to infer that the conflict is not his/her problem. The client may deny the teacher’s description of his or her behaviour and resist the idea that there is even a problem. As a counsellor, it would be necessary to shift the focus of the session away from student and on to the teacher, in a way that empowers the student without undermining the teacher (Corey, 2009).
I would begin by explaining that ‘Mrs Jones’ had asked for my help in assisting her with the student and was hoping for some kind of solution. I would continue to explain how I felt I should provide Mrs Jones with a positive outcome and ask the student to assist me in the matter . By using open-ended and non-confrontational questions I would develop a deeper understanding of the problem through the client’s eyes. I would ask the student if he/she had ever had difficulty responding to a teacher’s instructions. This would allow the student to perceive that he or she was helping me with my own problem. Thus, the client would feel more at ease and in control of the session. This would also encourage the client to participate in open dialogue and begin to develop a rapport with the counsellor (Schmidt, 2008).
The Homework on Student Teaching Paper Students Immediately Teacher
Student Teaching Graduate Paper Spring 2004 As the time approached, my attitude toward student-teaching was one of confidence and in some ways overconfidence. I believed that I was equipped with all of the tools necessary to be a superior teacher. Little did I know what truly goes on behind the scenes of a teacher. Between grading papers, attending meetings, and preparing lessons, I would often ...
It is my aim that this line of questioning would lead the student to reveal what is the underlying issue causing the difficulty in class or at home. It is at this time that the client will present the problem or the ‘rule’ which is perpetuating the problem. The student may describe his or her situation as hopeless, whereby he/she ‘can’t get anything right’ or ‘no one understands me’. These responses indicate feelings of inadequacy and an inability to live up to the expectations of others (Corey, 2009).
These feelings are manifested into anger and negativity on the student’s behalf. From this point I would aim to question the student further, to reveal expectations to the above ‘rules’. For example, if the student states that he/she gets in trouble from Mrs Jones in most classes for ‘no reason’, then it insinuates that there are some classes where this does not occur. As a counsellor I would use this response to help guide the student to highlight where he/she was successfully avoiding getting into trouble. I would explore this by asking the student about the lessons or situations where he/she does not experience conflict with Mrs Jones. What makes these classes different? How did you respond differently to the teacher’s same request? To help clarify in the student’s mind what works better for them I would follow up with : So that works well for you? The student may indicate that when Mrs Jones uses a softer tone of voice they are able to achieve what is required of them. Perhaps when the student is given a small responsibility within the lesson he/she feels a sense of accomplishment and as a result demonstrates more positive behaviours. These responses lead to a setting of a goal and the means of achieving it (Harrison, 2007).
Student Stress: Effects and Solutions
Student Stress: Effects and Solutions. ERIC Digest 85-1. Stress is any situation that evokes negative thoughts and feelings in a person. The same situation is not evocative or stressful for all people, and all people do not experience the same negative thoughts and feelings when stressed. One model that is useful in understanding stress among students is the person-environmental model. According ...
Within solution-focused counselling the action plan consists of the client deciding how to use their past successes from similar situations to achieve a current goal. In this set of circumstances, the goal would be for the student to avoid feeling inadequate or hopeless and therefore avoid displaying a negative or insolent attitude. The recognition of what has worked in the past allows the student to actively participate in the pursuit of his or her goal and provides them with the resources and strengths needed to handle the problem (Lines, 2006).
When implemented appropriately, the solution-focused method of brief counselling can be highly effective in the school setting. Its simplistic and goal-oriented nature makes it accessible and useful to both counsellor and client. It is a time-effective and positive approach to dealing with issues faced by modern adolescents (Corey, 2009).
In the example posed in this paper, it is evident that solution-focused counselling is an appropriate method for dealing with conflict with teachers or parents. It helps students recognise their strengths and clarifies how they can use them to help deal with the area of concern.
Corey, Gerald. (2009).
Theory and Practice of Counseling (8th ed.).
Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks and Cole.
Franklin, Cynthia; Kelly, Michael S.; & Kim, Johnny S. (2008).
Solution-focused brief therapy in schools: a 360-degree view on research and practice. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.
Harrison, Tom (2007) Brief Counseling in the K-12 Developmental Counseling Program. In J. Wittmer & M. Clark (Ed.), Managing Your School Counseling Program: K-12 Developmental Strategies (3rd ed.) (pp. 93-103).
Minneapolis: Educational Media Corporation.
Lines, Dennis (2006).
Brief Counseling in Schools: working with young people from 11-18. London: Sage. Available from Ebook Library.
Murphy, John (ed.).
Solution-focused Counseling in Middle and High Schools. Alexandra, VA: American Counseling Association.
The Research paper on Solution-Focused Therapy
Solution–focused therapy (SFT), unlike other forms of therapy argues that a person doesn’t have to understand any problem in order to resolve the problem and that the solution isn’t necessarily related to the problem. The purpose of this paper is to give a brief overview, description and rationale of Solution-focused therapy as well as an explanation of the therapeutic processes involved in SFT. ...
Myrick, Robert, D. (2003).
Developmental Guidance and Counseling: A Practical Approach (4th ed.).
Minneapolis, MN: Educational Media Corporation.
Schmidt, John J. (2008).
Counseling in Schools: Essential Services and Comprehensive Programs (5th ed.).
Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Wittmer, Joe and Clark, Mary Ann. (2007).
Managing Your School Counseling Program: K-12 Developmental Strategies (3rd ed.).
Minneapolis: Educational Media Corporation.