Prelude to Counseling Notes

Dear Dr.DeStefano,

I'm sure you'll not get this right away, although I could hope it so. I'm in quite a quandary, and have only now figured how to maybe put it into words. I understand the focus of the course, the demands of the model, the expectations of the counseling experience. I know that (particularly for this course) it is important to show competency in all the aspects of this model. I have a good understanding of the essential foundation it provides. This is my problem. First off, of course, it was incredibly difficult to even present this, because it would of necessity demonstrate perhaps my own inability to counsel in such a correct fashion (and so affect my grade, and so affect my pursuit of a Masters in this field). Beyond that, it becomes specific to my client. I understand establishing a focus, outcomes, goals, strategies, and a plan. No problem. However, what I am feeling, what I am intuitively picking up, is very much deeper than where the client is. I know we are supposedly guiding the client into focusing on their goal, the outcomes that they need and/or want, the strategies and the benefit/cost ratio, and finally, a plan. This is the bite. Yes, the client knows what they want to talk about, what their goal is, what they want and need from this, and are willing to talk about the benefit/costs, the pros and cons of it all. This, however, is the very tip of the iceberg. This is all a smokescreen. This is all a construction for protection, for identity, for life. But the originally stated goal, want, etc., does not deal with this. Doesn't even come close. I have, once in a while, probed a little deeper, in my empathic understanding of what all the ministrations represent, but there is great resistance here, great reluctance. And it is not what the client wants. It is not why they initiated the counseling contact. Now for sure, in a private practice, where I am not constrained by having to demonstrate competency in this model in a particular time frame, and where I may have many more sessions and opportunities to delve farther into this, and equally, can provide a lifeline if we go too deep, I would certainly challenge this. But my intuitive feeling is that this would be an incredibly dangerous Pandora's box were I to encourage opening it and discovering its contents. So, here is my dilemma: do I play the game out and work with the client on the goal they have sought to explore in these three sessions, with whatever ramifications I can incorporate while using the model, or do I seek a much deeper theme with which the client has shown marked resistance to dealing? Do you understand what I am saying? Does it make sense to you? Am I already going too deep? Do I essentially need to wait for the client to give permission to challenge at that deep a level? My concern is that perhaps this is way beyond this classroom experience... I would certainly appreciate any feedback from you on this.

As always,

Dear Dr. DeStefano,
I know it's been a while, but I keep forgetting because I'm used to the once-a-week classes and I keep getting caught off-guard. Anyway, thanks for being very supportive after the session with Grant. I chose the dyad to be this way because I wanted to challenge myself. I will not go into the MPD with Grant because (1) I don't think it's relevant; and (2) I think it would detract (or distract) from what goal I have set for myself in the expression of emotions, particularly anger. This particular issue has been very difficult to work on, even with female counselors, so I thought I would find out if it would be more accessible with a sensitive male counselor. It was an interesting session. There were some very subtle interesting interactions as well. I am not trying, at this point, to discover or uncover those because, again, I think it would detract from the focus of the session. Later this summer, I think I will. I could wish that I could discuss this with you, but I am aware of your boundaries, your respect of mine, and the intrinsic problems of dual relationships. In any case,I have found myself more confident even in the midst of more turbulence as I work to realistically assess my own reluctance, resistance, strengths and weaknesses, and such. I know for certain I would not have been ready for this at the outset, as some would have liked to have had this course in first semester. I feel much more capable of integrating (so to speak...) all the information I have encountered into creating a better self-image, self-concept, and self-actualized perspective.
I am going camping this weekend to give myself some time off. See you Monday. Take care.Thanks for listening.