The central theme of this essay is to
describe an integrative approach to counselling of which I have chosen; The Egan
‘Skilled Helper’ Model. Which has three stages. First, clients are helped to
explore their stories. Secondly the client identifies their ‘preferred picture’
inclusive of goals/objectives and finally is the development and implementation
of strategies for progressing from the present to preferred scenario. Substages
are incorporated within each stage. Egan identifies the skills needed to facilitate
this process as well as the client’s tasks. I will also discuss the potential
advantages/disadvantages for an integrative approach to counselling.

Theoretical integration is the formation of
a new approach to therapy, which derives from methods/concepts from current approaches.
Whereas an eclectic approach is one whereby the therapist selects the most
suitable techniques from a variety of theories/models. The idea here is that
its tailored to the individual needs of the client, with the therapist dipping
in and out of varied techniques/models:

 “An eclectic counsellor
will employ a range of different theories, methods and practices, according to
a client’s needs. This is based on the theory that there is no proof that any
one theoretical approach works better than all others for a specific problem.”  (Psychotherapy, 2018)

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Egan (2009) formed
the ‘Skilled Helper’ Model. Egan integrated problem management into the model
and suggested those who require assistance from counsellors are having
difficulties managing issues in their lives. The main task of the Helper is to
aid the Client in finding appropriate solutions to these issues. This
integrative approach is utilised widely within counselling combining The
Cognitive Behavioural/Humanistic approaches. It looks at action planning which
is utilised within CBT to solve problems while emphasising the importance of
the use of the core conditions, immediacy and empathy, which are key ideas of
the Humanistic approach.  

This three-stage
model can be helpful when helping clients to overcome issues, as well as form
opportunities. The aim of Egan’s model is to assist clients in coping with
their issues;

 ‘to manage their problems in living more
effectively and develop unused opportunities more fully’, (Egan., ‘The
Skilled Helper’, 1998, p7-8).

This model seeks
to empower clients because the client’s own agenda is dominant with the model
striving to help the client proceed towards action leading outcomes, which are
valued and chosen by them.

Egan’s model
isn’t focused on a particular theory, it is a framework for conceptualising the helping process,
which is best utilised in exploring issues within the recent past/present.

Egan’s models
aims to help the client answer three questions;

‘what’s going on?’

‘what do I want instead?’

‘How might I get what I want?’

Not everyone
will answer all of the above questions, also it may be that clients may want to
move back into questions answered previously. I will write about the model in
order, although Counsellor’s will work with the speaker in any of the stages
moving backward and forth where appropriate.














Stage 1

 The first stage of this model is based on the
Counsellor seeking to help the client explore their present situation through
providing a safe place in which the speaker can share and be acknowledged. It
utilises skills from the Humanistic approach. Here rapport is built between the
counsellor and the client and a supportive, non-threatening relationship
develops. Here we can see that the utilisation of the core conditions of
empathy, congruence and unconditional regard would be especially important; it
will help the client to trust the counsellor, which would help the client
explore their scenario and then focus on the issues they have chosen.

Attentiveness is
of great importance here such as; demonstrating active listening. The helper
reflects, paraphrases, checks understanding and utilises open ended questions
to get more from the client.

Within this
stage the Helper assists the client to clarify and identify their issues and
the purpose of this first stage is to try and discover the clients ‘internal
frame of reference.’ In other words, it gives clients an opportunity to tell
their story. Upon sharing their story they will be helped in forming
alternative perspectives. This might be challenging for clients, however
through the counsellor providing empathetic reflections/challenges, it should
assist in the uncovering of blind spots, as well as showing clients how they
behave and the impact it has; “I hadn’t thought how it might feel from their
perspective.” Here clients may feel stuck. Helpers assist clients in finding
focus, empowering them to progress forward. Such as asking the client “what is
the most important?”

Stage 2

Here the clients
preferred picture will be explored; inclusive of aims/objectives. This stage is
about helping the client to discover what they really want, and how things
could be improved. Counsellors will help speakers imagine a better future;
‘what would your ideal deal world be like tomorrow?’ from an imaginative
exercise like this whereby the client has brainstormed possibilities for a
brighter future. Clients will be assisted in forming challenging yet realistic
goals; SMART goals. Once set the counsellor will help clients to check their
commitment and goal suitability before they proceed towards the desired action;
asking questions like ‘what will the benefits be of achieving this?’ in order
to help clients discover the positives/negatives of achieving the desired goal.

Stage 3

The third stage
involves developing and implementing strategies for moving forward through
looking at things such as; who could help. Once a number of strategies have
been brainstormed one which is best fit for the client will be selected and
they will go with this to achieve their desired outcome.

 The ‘Force Field Analysis’ might be utilised
to help clients identify what might help and hinder them in achieving the goal
such as; internal and external factors. After this a plan is formed by
condensing strategies into smaller parts. Here the client conducts the majority
of the work through producing their action plan. The helper collaborates with
the client to create plans with timescales, through asking questions like “What
steps will you take first?” and “When?”

Once this point
has been reached this could be a starting point for reviewing the process. The
work would begin within stage 1 again, through the client telling a new story.
If the action plan hasn’t been reached that’s okay as the model can be used

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