We identify three skills in the counselling process:
Stage I: Clarification
Stage II: Partialising
Stage III: Summarising
We will look at each of these skills in detail below.
One of the goals of clarification is to clarify the feelings and problem situation for the group member. Unless the problem situation is clear, not just to the community art counsellor, but specifically to the group member, the latter cannot make reasonable decisions as to what to do about it.
The skills needed to help the group member to clarify his/her feelings and the situation take place throughout the community art counselling process. These are attending, active listening, responding and probes.
Clarification is a process and continues throughout the community art counselling sessions. The community art counsellor helps the group member to clarify feelings, experiences and behaviours.
With the use of clarifying techniques, the community art counsellor will help the group member to understand their situation more clearly and the group member member will then often find their own solutions and move to action on their own. By helping to clarify, we help them to participate in and examine their own situations and feelings. We keep them involved – we do not take over the problem.
By partialising (breaking down into smaller bits), we help group members to focus specific aspects of their situations. We help them to break down the problem into areas that are manageable and can be looked at one at a time in the community art counselling process. Partialising usually takes place once the group member has explored issues fully and we have helped them to talk about all the things worrying them.
An example of partialising would be: “From what you are saying, it seems that you are dealing with a number of issues – your relationship with your mother, difficulties at work and the fact that you feel that your partner is not being supportive. Should we look at and discuss these one at a time? Where should we start?”
By making this a statement the idea is that we help group members to separate issues and look at each one on its own.
Summarising is a skill that we use with group members when exploring an issue with them - and prior to problem solving.
Once you have helped a group member to explore all the relevant issues and feel that they want you to move on, the community art counsellor would summarise and then help the group member to move to action.
Summarising helps the group member to view their situation in a more focused way.
Summarising can be used in helping group members to move from clarification to partialising. It can also serve as a ‘bridging response’.
It helps the group member to focus scattered thoughts and feelings, close the discussion on a particular theme and can also prompt a group member to explore a theme in more detail. Often, when scattered elements are brought together, the group member sees the ‘bigger picture’ more clearly. Thus, summarising can lead to new perspectives or alternate frames of reference.
Summaries can be used when group members seem to have exhausted everything they have to say about a particular issue and seem to be stuck. A summary of the principal points they have made can help them to see the bigger picture more clearly and therefore may help them to move on by understanding the situation more clearly.