Q3 Describe the boundaries that need to be taken into account when starting a new helping relationship
Q3 Describe the boundaries that need to be taken into account when starting a new helping relationship. (2.1)
The counselling relationship takes place within pre-defined boundaries that are outlined in a contract and agreed upon by both client and counsellor. Boundaries help keep the relationship therapeutic and may include:
• duration of sessions
• duration of the relationship
• limits of confidentiality
• policies and procedures e.g. sending and receiving emails
• laws and legislation
• supervision and continued professional development of the counsellor
Q4 Describe how to agree objectives for a new helping relationship. (2.2)
In agreeing the objectives, it is necessary first to establish the client’s long term aims and immediate needs of the helping relationship. By exploring what the client hopes to gain from the experience in terms of outcomes, helps to shape a framework for the journey, to help give structure to the start, middle and end of the relationship. An example of this is with a client who is going through a painful divorce, where their aim or wish is to feel better able and confident to face the future alone. In this example the agreed objectives might look like:
1. Agree to discuss and explore the circumstances leading up to the divorce and personal insights that might come from this
2. Agree to share the ongoing experience of the divorce and how it feels (including drawing out hopes and fears for the future)
3. In a counselling situation only, to agree to review the progress of the helping relationship at the end of every other session. Or if the helping relationship is between friends, then it could be supportive to agree to meet up in the future to see how things are going.
In all kinds of helping relationships, whether socially, inside families in the workplace, or services volunteered like in the Citizens Advice Bureau, it is useful to agree or have some sense of objectives. It helps the client clarify for themselves what they aim to achieve from the interaction, which, in turn informs how the counsellor can be most supportive. (e.g. the client simply wants to discuss a problem that is bothering them and how they feel about it so that the counsellor needs to practise active listening and empathy rather than guide a solution). It is also prudent whilst setting objectives to consider the time and resources available to the client as well as considering boundaries that have already been established.