Counseling Skills with Children and Adolescents


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Counseling is a method of giving the advice to a person regarding the personal and social issues in a professional manner. With the help of this, it becomes easy to assist and guide the clients by the professional and trained person for resolving the different kinds of problems such as social, personal or psychological (What is counseling?. 2015). It has created a trust between the professional counselors and clients. During this phase, it has essential to maintain the confidentiality of the service users information. For a counselor, there are some skills require which help in understand the client requirements and provide them good counseling services to them (What is counseling?. 2015). The following study has based on counseling skills with children and adolescents with the purpose of delivering the knowledge about the principles of psycho-dynamic counseling, required skills in the supportive work with children and adolescents and the relationship as well as encounters between staff and children/adolescents (Martin, 2013).

Counseling skills required to work with children and adolescents and their applications in psycho-dynamic theory or work

There are various types of counseling skills which helps in dealing the children and adolescents in right manner. The most common counseling skills are listening, essential reading, play, art and transformation, talking and expression, assessment, first encounters and transference, using family trees and counter-transference & projective identification (What is counseling?. 2015). The aim of the counseling skills are providing emotional security and comfort, promotes self awareness and facilitate confidence. There are numerous reasons which has generated the needs of counseling skills while work with children and adolescents such as crying without reason, academic deterioration, loss of interest in the activities, aggressive attitude, violent behavior, using slang's etc (What is counseling?. 2015).

On the other hand, psycho dynamic theory is an approach in the direction of psychology which has focused on the systematic study of the different psychological elements that defines human feelings, behaviors, emotions and their relation with the past experiences. There is a strong relationship between the counseling skills and psycho-dynamic theory (Martin, 2013). With the help of the psycho-dynamic theories, the behavior of the group of people and individual can be easily understand. On the other hand, by understanding the behavior of the person, the different kind of counseling can be provided to resolve the various personal issues (Martin, 2013). The professional counselors have used psycho-dynamic theory to provided counseling to the clients by knowing the root of causes of their problems. According to the identified the issues, the suggestions can be provided to cope up with the problems (Psycho-dynamic Approach to counseling. 2015).

First Encounters and Transference

First encounter is related to the handling the child and adolescent first time when they come first time for taking counseling. It is not necessary that every time child or adolescent has feeling comfortable to share all the things with the counselors (Mak-Pearce and Baruch, 2001). Therefore, it is essential to develop a comfortable environment to the client which help in understand the requirements of them. On the other hand, transference is a kind of projection of the present and past feelings, relationship or desire onto the counselor. In the general terms, it can be characterized by unconscious redirection of the emotions and feeling from one person to another person (Mak-Pearce and Baruch, 2001).

First encounters and transference skills is most important term in counseling because there are some incidents happen in the childhood with the children and adolescents that affect the current feelings, behavior and attitudes of them in the present time (What is counseling?. 2015). The following counseling skills has the practical application the psycho-dynamic theory (Mak-Pearce and Baruch, 2001). In the case of unconscious emotions, there are some areas of mind where memories have been unreleased due to the various reasons such as extreme traumatic events or any accidents. Due to this, some area of memory has blocked off and it has hard to access them. In this situation, the behavior and attitude of the child and adolescent becomes suddenly changed (Mak-Pearce and Baruch, 2001).

The role of first encounters and transference skills in psycho-dynamic theory is bring the memories from unconscious stage to the conscious stage (Psycho-dynamic Approach to counseling. 2015). With the help of this, the professional counselors has pleased the clients to assess either childhood or early memory trauma for better and deep understand the reasons of changing in the behavior and attitude. It has assist the children and adolescents to released the negativity form the mind regarding the previous accidents (Psycho-dynamic Approach to counseling. 2015). Therefore, it can be concluded that with the help of first encounter and transference skills, the professional counselor has easily solve the issues and problems of the children and adolescents. The following skill has played an essential role in determined the root of causes of issues of clients. With the use of first encounter and transference skill, the effective counseling has provided to the children and adolescents (Psycho-dynamic Approach to counseling. 2015).

Talking and Expression

Talking means to exchange and express the emotions and thoughts by means of speaking words which gives the information to others. The expression means conveying the messages and information by making the facial expressions. This is a act of saying and expressing the feelings or thoughts to other person.

In counseling method, counselor needs the skills of talking and expressing the ideas which are required to work with children and adolescents. With the help of talking and expression, counselor provides emotional support, confidence and also promotes the self awareness among children and adolescents. Counselor can use these skills to solve the problems and issues. Firstly the children and adolescent has to feel comfortable to share the issues with counselor. For this purpose counselor have to start the talking section to make them feel comfortable. Counselor have to use both this skills to counsel the children and adolescents, which are discussed below:

Counseling with Children

Counselor can convey the message and support to small children by giving them expressions. Expressions such as by giving them smile, counselor can appreciate their work or things. For counseling the children, counselor have to encourage the child to express and talk more about their problems. counselor have to be a good listener by being more attentive and also by showing the expressions (Mak-Pearce and Baruch, 2001). Expression can be given by making eye contact with the child and giving them smile. While child is talking, always try not to interrupt them and support them by nodding and saying the words like “aha” or “yes”. counselor can also make shocking facial expressions on child's actions.

Counseling with Adolescent

While counseling with adolescents, counselor have to make the communication and make him comfortable, so, they can easily share their problem. Adolescents have to share their past experiences and crisis. The crisis can be on ego identity, confusion, stagnation, addiction, relationships and anger issues. While handling the adolescents, counselor have to be more attentive and show the interest in their talking (Meares, 2005). counselor have to motive them to become more friendly. The adolescent can have the mental health issues which includes anxiety, depression and suicide. counselor have to replace their negative talks and thoughts in positive manner. Adolescents mainly faces the problem like family disputes, disrespected, learning difficulties and stress problems. The counseling technique provides them help and support on various issues which are faced by the adolescent.


In counseling, it is important to develop a quality relationship between the counselors and clients. The role of the counselors has over time nurtured and varied according to the type of counseling (Role play. 2015). Role play has an essential thing to develop a therapeutic relationship with the children and adolescents. It is a kind of acting related to a particular role which defines the behavior of the person and its related problems. Under this method, the participants performed the particular roles which help in resolving the issues and conflicts. With the help of this, the counselors has understand the situation with the different points of views (Role play. 2015). The role play by the counselor has based on the children and adolescents to understand the problems and issues in the daily life. In the following method, the professional counselor has gain the more information about the clients as compare to taking or asking about them (Role Playing/Psychodrama. 2014).

Role play counseling skill has the important place in psycho-dynamic theory. The application of the following counseling skill in the framework is understanding and acknowledge the emotional issues which are related to the children and adolescents childhood. The problems that can be identify from this therapy are depression, anger, anxiety etc as well as their reasons (Role Playing/Psychodrama. 2014). Therefore, it has helped in developed the positive strategies which can be used in bringing the changes in the behavior and attitude of the children and adolescents. The benefits get with the application of play in psycho-dynamic theory to the clients are to release previously hold emotions, develop the new thoughts regarding what is happening, explore the new behaviors which helps in deal with the change in attitude and formulate the new ways to tackle the issues of children and adolescents (Psycho-dynamic Approach to counseling. 2015).

Role plays offers children and adults an exceptional tool for understanding the issues they are facing. This make them to face those experiences from which they afraid or do not want to think about them (Meares, 2005). This play provides them opportunity to act in an unfamiliar role. Involvement of therapist in they role play helps him in better understanding of the situation which can create significant results. Children will takes it as a game and enjoy it with the therapist. This make them realize what they feel deep inside and how they feel (Hoxter, Daws and Boston,1998). It also shows them what others see in them and what they feel. Children and adults focus on their thoughts and ways to convey them to interact with public. This help adults in changing their perception and also increasing their confidence. Psycho dynamic theory with role play is one of the valuable and advanced theory which motivates the children and adults, improve their communication and makes them sensitive (Hopper, 2007).


From the above study, it has been concluded that counseling is a method in which the client has explained his own issues to the counselor for getting the solutions. With the help of the various counseling skills, it becomes more easy to see the things very clearly and develop the best possible solutions for bringing the positive changes in the behavior of children and adolescents. counseling skills and psycho-dynamic theory both are related to each other. counseling skills has helped in determine the helping approaches which highlighted the intellectual and emotional experiences of children and adolescents. On the other hand, psycho-dynamic theory has encouraged the clients to return to their previous experience to understand the reasons of present problems. The most common counseling skills that has used by counselors are role play, first encounter and transference and taking and expressions.

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  • Meares, R., 2005. The Metaphor of Play. Routledge
  • Hoxter, S., Daws, D. and Boston, M., 1998. The Child Psychotherapist and the Problems of Young People. Karnac
  • Hopper, L., 2007. counseling and Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Mak-Pearce, G. and Baruch, G., 2001. Community-Based Psychotherapy with Young People. Routledge.
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