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The initial phase is strictly for familiarization, problem presentation and awareness of the existence of the problem by the counsellor and the client. It is not the stage where problem is discussed or solved. Working Phase Immediately after the initial phase during which counselling relationship has been established with an understanding that a problem to be discussed is in existence, then follows the working phase. The working phase is the problem discussion stage. In this phase, the counsellor assists the client to work through their feelings as they discuss their concern. Here, good techniques and professional skills must be used by the Counsellor as the client works through his/her problem to enable them gain better insights into them. 62
EDU 624 FUNDAMENTALS OF GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING In this phase, the client should be able to gain better insight into his problem, understand various and alternative course of actions to be taken and take positive actions to solve his problems. Both the client and the counsellor may have an assignment to carryout in respect of the problem being discussed before the next phase. For example, the assignment may be to visit the parent, an industry, employment agency, an examination office or the teacher handling a particular subject that is constituting a problem for the client. Each person is however expected to give a feedback during the next session. The essence of the given assignments is to gather sufficient information or data that will enhance smooth transition into the next phase and ensure that a sound bases for the next stage is created. Termination Stage The termination stage marks the end of counselling process. This stage is necessitated: 1. 2. 3. When client’s problem have been successfully discussed and resolved; When client has been referred to another professional counsellor; and Due to client’s lack of apparent problems. Follow-Up Phase This is about the last stage in the Counselling process. The Counsellor must have told the client during termination stage to keep in touch with him. Specifically, follow-up phase is a counselling activity in which the counsellor finds out whether the acquired behaviour by the client during the counselling session is maintained or not and whether the client has been able to solve his problem or not. As follow-up, the counsellor can visit the client to have dialogue on how his new behaviour has been maintained or has been helpful in his adjustment process. Peradventure there is no improvement observed in the client, reassessment of the problem can be done through exploration and new goals mapped out as they both go over through the counselling process all over again. 4.0 CONCLUSION The counselling process could be very effective in solving client’s problem if the various stages/phases are carefully observed and followed without necessarily rushing to take decisions that may make clients to repeat or that may not work out well for the client.