Self-help resources come in many formats; for example, self-help books, motivational videos, on-line discussion forums, and workbooks with specific exercises. Sometimes these resources are accessed before counselling begins; in other instances, they are used in conjunction with counselling. Most often, self-help materials are self-generated, in the absence of a counsellor recommending them.
A common question by clients who are working with a counsellor is whether or not they should continue using their self-help resources while they are engaged in the counselling process. Client-counsellor conversations about self-help resources has many benefits, such as these five: (a) identification of what aspects of the resource are helpful and why; (b) amplifying the changes that the resources are stimulating; (c) building on the momentum of client self-directedness; (d) exploration of how the resources can work in concert with counselling goals; and (e) discussion of additional resources that might be helpful.
Bringing the resource(s) to a counselling session can facilitate goal-setting. For example, a client reading a workbook about self-esteem may have questions about which exercises would be most beneficial to the counselling goal of increased confidence in social situations. In fact, specific sections from the workbook could be used in-session for role-play exercises. This is a great way to empower and engage clients in the change process.
While self-help resources are not for everyone, choosing to seek out and try different tools is a great way to boost confidence, sense of control, and active engagement. When you discover what works for you, over time, you can build your own resource toolkit – a helpful strategy to stay motivated and maintain change once counselling ends.
The views expressed are mine alone and do not reflect the views of the CCPA.
Dr. Debbie Grove is a therapist working in Edmonton, Alberta. To learn more about her, visit her web site at www.learningtolive.ca
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA