My first client of the day was one that I had been seeing for some time. At the
start of her therapy, she had wanted to focus on traumatic events that had
happened to her in childhood and how they were affecting her as an adult.
She would frequently experience panic attacks when in a situation where she
felt she was physically vulnerable.
She had been working through her feelings through counselling as well as trying out new behaviours and empowering herself with self-defence classes and martial arts.
The counselling sessions have been on a weekly basis for a number of months
and at the first session, we had agreed upon the topics that we would work on
during the counselling. It can be helpful to take some sort of measure of the
client's feelings and behaviour during the initial consultation and ask them
exactly what they hope to achieve from the counselling and how they will
know when they have reached their goal.
Being specific at this point gives the counsellor and client a measurable goal to
work towards in the therapy and can help to avoid 'drift' in the sessions.
I tend to use a scale of 0 – 10 for the client to measure their current state with
0 being suicidal and not wanting to continue living and 10 being euphoric.
Generally, someone who is feeling well and happy will sit at around 8,
dropping down a few points if they encounter something negative in their life
and occasionally reaching 9 or 10 if something very positive happens to them.
Clients normally give themselves a score of 1 – 4 when they first attend
counselling and we can then measure their progress as time goes on.
This client had scored herself '2' on her first meeting with me and after a
number of sessions having covered all of the issues she felt she had wanted to
speak about, I was keen to find out from her how she would score herself
We discussed the therapy during her session and after asking her about her
score, she said she was feeling very happy with life in general and that she
would score herself an 8 or 9.
We looked at the issues she had presented with and she felt that she had
worked through all of them and had achieved a balance in her life. She was no
longer feeling the way she did. Her martial arts classes had also helped in
building her confidence.