Enhancing the Helper-Helpee Therapeutic Relationship and the Client’s Desirable Change in Online Counselling

Enhancing the Helper-Helpee Therapeutic Relationship and the Client’s Desirable Change in Online Counselling

Ayodeji Adeola Shobola (Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria) and Onijuni Olufemi Olatomide (Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-204-4.ch009
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The ultimate aim of counselling is to assist the individual identify his problems, recognize the solution options that are available, and to apply such solution to the problems in order to become a functional person to himself and the society at large. Going by the accelerated growth of technology worldwide, the counselling process, like other professions, has gone beyond one-on-one method (traditional method) to an online system; with this comes the fear that the same strategies might not be effective in achieving the same counselling goals. Therefore, this chapter examines some of those counselling strategies that can enhance effective therapeutic relationship between the counsellor and the client thereby bringing about clienteles’ desirable change. The basic ingredients that could bring about successful one-on-one counselling process such as structuring, empathy, and other counsellor’s characteristics are also found as appropriate procedures in online counselling option. Further, self-disclosure strategy between counsellor and counsellee especially at early stage whereby the counsellor reveals his/her level of expertise and status before the counselling contract would increase the commitment level of the client and able to surmount his challenges early.
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Procedures For Enhancing Helper-Helpee Relationship In Online Counselling


Structuring involves designing strategies by a third party to mould client’s expectations and feelings about his or her intended relationship with the counsellor he or she is consulting with. It involves describing the role and functions of the counsellor and client, and thus provides a rationale for what the counsellor is doing in counselling. Structuring assists clients to be receptive to counselling and hence, understand what is going on in the counselling process. This in turn increases their motivation toward counselling and as well enables them to take an active role in the counselling process (Goldstein & Higginbotham, 1999; Nystul, 1999). Structuring, according to Goldstein and Higginbotham could be divided into types, according to how it is designed. These are direct structuring, trait structuring, and role expectancy structuring. In direct structuring, the client is informed by a third party earlier in time that he or she will like the counsellor when meeting him or her even though they have never met before; while in trait structuring, the client is similarly told ahead of time certain positive characteristics of the helper that he or she is meeting with by a third party. In role expectancy structuring, however, the helpee has been assisted ahead of time to clarify what he or she can realistically anticipate will go on in the proposed interaction with the counsellor. It further needs to be added here for the purpose of emphasis that either of these structuring is carried out on the helpee by a third party ever before the helpee meets with the helper.

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