This text-based course is a transcript of the live seminar, “Counseling Around the Edges (of Traditional Practice),” presented by Audrey Holland, Ph.D.
>> Audrey Holland: I have spent a lot of my career worrying about how to train students and practitioners on the central importance of recognizing their clients and the clients’ families as people. My thought is if we do not do this we are little better than technicians, making marks on paper about performance, and fail to help clients and families learn to own their problems and play a role in their recovery. I have done many workshops providing examples and teaching the importance of counseling in this regard. I must say they have all been relatively well received. They always conclude with the question, “When do we have time to do counseling.” This is what we will discuss today.
In the process of all of that I have learned to recognize that one of the most important clinical paradoxes professionally is: “although most people recognize the need for counseling and the value of serving their clients in the broader ways of who they are, we are neither particularly well trained to provide it nor do we have the time to do it.” This is a real problem. I think there is a great irony in this. ASHA (2004, 2007) includes counseling in our scope of practice and yet it mandates no formal course work in counseling. How many of you have had a formal course in counseling? Out of the 32 attendees, 8 have said they have had a formal course in counseling. One of the difficulties with ASHA in this regard is that it does not provide you with many clues on how to solve this problem. Both the issues of lack of time and lack of training need to be dealt with. In the meantime, we have today’s clients to deal with. What do we do about them and is there anything we can do to help them in light of this problem?
I have been researching this for many years and I have come to a few stop-gap solutions. In one sense, I am “throwing in the towel” or to put it another way, “if you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em”. I will gear this talk toward recognizing both the lack of formal training that many people have and certainly the lack of time that most people have. I will provide a rationale for stripping counseling down to its most professionally relevant principals, talk about those I consider to be the most important in more detail, and give you a sense of why I think they are the most important. I will also try to illustrate how they can be incorporated around the edges of therapy as we do it right now. I will finally make a few suggestions of some ways we can do counseling with people in other ways that might be of use.
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Audrey Holland has had a long and productive career working with people with neurogenic communication disorders and developing innovative treatment techniques in aphasia. She also has conducted research aimed both at increasing the understanding aphasia and related disorders, and in evaluating the efficacy of treatment.