In this study session, you have learned that:
- The purpose of counselling is to help young people make rational decisions and cope with the situation they find themselves in. Counselling is a two-way communication process during which you give adequate information and help the young person to evaluate their feelings about their problems. You can also provide emotional support, but you need to understand that counselling is not a method of giving solutions or instructions to the young person.
- In counselling there are two actors: you the counsellor and the young person. The behaviours of both of you and the young person could affect the process of counselling. You need to develop behaviours that allow the young person to relax and feel comfortable with you, then they will also trust you.
- The more a young client can be made comfortable, the more likely they are to express their sexual and reproductive health problems. This enables you to effectively counsel them and serve their needs.
- When a young person is face-to-face with you they may have various feelings which could include shyness, embarrassment, anxiousness, and inadequacy to describe their problems and worries. Understanding their feelings will foster better communication between you.
- Conditions that could encourage trust and a good relationship with the young people include allowing sufficient time for the counselling, showing understanding, honesty and willingness to help them, expressing non-judgemental views and showing confidence and professional competence. These are the behaviours that you need to have and develop to effectively respond to the needs of young people.
- It is good to remember ROLES when counselling young people. ROLES is abbreviation for:
R = Relax the client by using facial expressions that show interest
O = Open up the client by using a warm and caring tone of voice
L = Lean towards the client, not away from them
E = Establish and maintain eye contact with the client
S = Smile.
- Techniques for good counselling include creating a good, friendly first impression, establishing rapport during the first session, and providing simple information in an appropriate way.
- While counselling young people you may face some challenges which require you to respond appropriately. It can be particularly difficult when the young person is silent, cries, threatens suicide or talks at length about issues that you do not perceive to be relevant.
- When you are counselling a young client on sexual and reproductive health issues, use the following approaches: consider their age and sex; be patient; ensure privacy and confidentiality; respond to expressed needs; explore feelings as well as facts; encourage them to identify possible alternatives and then consider the advantages, disadvantages and consequences of these options and assist them to make an informed decision and plan how to implement their choice.