The use of a counselling approach

This essay will critically assess the use of a counselling approach which might be appropriate for supporting an identified client through the process of change or coping with stress and Illness. This will be achieved through considering the counselling skills and counselling approaches and also considering how the practitioner will use the chosen approaches to support the client. The essay will also be looking at how the approach will be used with other aspects of intervention relevant for the service users. 

The chosen client is a young child, who is of the age of 6 who is currently in primary school. The special needs co-ordinator who is working alongside the client feels that the child in question is withdrawn from the rest of the class and this could possibly be due to a speech and language difficulties that the child may be suffering from. The special co-ordinator will be using art as a form of counselling the child, alongside using the transactional analysis approach (TA) which inter-links with the psychodynamic approach.  

The special needs co-ordinator was particularly used for this child over the other professionals such as a teacher assistant because the special needs co-ordinator is able to give the child regular periods of individual help, by raising the child’s self-esteem this is through classroom activities such as creative arts (Szwed, 2007).

For example story telling would be used by the child through puppets whereby the child would use the puppets to act out a story, this would allow the special need co-ordinator to identify how the child may be feeling through their thought process through their imagination (Wright, 1995). 

It is important to understand that as children are seen to be vulnerable, that the right professional is chosen for them, as the special needs co-ordinator will be working with the child on a daily basis, the child will feel secure and is able to express how they are feeling, this will not only help the child but also the professional to, as the professional is able to gain information from the child, but also the child will feel secure (as they will feel conformable to talk to the professional) and able to recover quickly from their illness (The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, 2011).

Certain skills and training is required by the specials needs co-ordinator in order to support the child. For example as the special need co-ordinator is using art for counselling the child, the professional needs training on how they can interpret the art that the child has made. This is  important because if for example the child draws a firework, that could either represent the child being happy or the child being sad as they are frighten from it, however these skills by the professional only comes when training and support is provide to them (Hegarty, 1993)

However, there are many problem that a child may be faced with when dealing with a special need co-ordinator. It is important that the special needs co-ordinator support both the child and the family this is because the family may feel neglected into the stages of the child development so it is important that the professional at all times informs the parent of what happening with the child (Lindsay and Dockrell, 2000) 

It is essential that the professional make sure that the child needs and want are paramount this is important because the professional needs to make sure that certain barrier are not crossed and know what the limits are. For example the child may feel enhinder by the special needs co-ordinator because he/she is sitting to close to the child and the child may feel that he/she is not getting treated the same, this could be a result of peer pressure through being teased by the other children (Croll and Moss, 2000) 

There are many different approaches that can by used when supporting a client who is going through the counselling process, some of which include the psychodynamic, humanistic and behavioural approach. However for the purpose of this essay, it will be focusing on the psychodynamic approach, which focus on the border picture of the therapeutic approaches (This session was introduced in the counselling module in Week 8 on 24/11/10) (The Counsellor’s Guide, 2011).

For example the psychodynamic approach would by used on a child to try to get them to bring their feeling to the surface, so that the child is understood and can experience their feelings (Hood, 2008)

The Psychodynamic approach looks at the principle of that everyone has an unconscious mind. It believes that everyone who has a feeling which is held by the unconscious  part of the mind find it painful to face their feeling. An example of this within children are that children can become very in-denial of their illness or condition. The development of psychodynamic therapy was introduced by a man called Sigmund Freud (Shaver and Mikulincer, 2005)

This approach identified that the humans personality can be divided into three components of the Id, Super-Ego and Ego, through the three domains of the mental activity of the unconscious, pre-conscious and conscious (Segrist, 2009).

For example the special needs co-ordinator will chose a specific art activity as a way of looking at how the development in the childhood process has had an impact on the child today (Kaplan, 2007) 

The transactional analysis approach is an approach that incorporates both the theory of psychotherapy and psychology, however the transactional analysis is based on a integrative model whereby it uses an element of cognitive and psychoanalytic approach but it mainly focuses on the psychoanalytic approach. The transactional analysis approach was developed by a psychiatrist Eric Berne in the late 1950’s (Hargaden and Sills, 2002).  

According to Berne everyone has three behavioural characterises, which are the adult, parent and child, these are referred to as ego states.

The child ego states looks at the way in which the child thinks, feels and behaves from the first few years of their life. For example, for a child it will be looking at how the child has survive through life to reach the stage that they are now (Stewart, 2007)

Whereas the adult ego looks at the thinking, feeling and behaviour in the way which is appropriate with what is actually here and now. For example how a persons bereavement process is after losing a love one, through the feeling, thinking and behaviour (Pitman, 1982)

However the parent ego looks at how you can copy and borrow from parent and other grown-ups through a variety of social influences such as the media. An example of this would be when a child behaviour changes through a influence of a adult peer due to peer pressure or role models (Midgley, 1999) 

For example this approach in relation to the child is saying that the child always has an adult inside them and can experience different characteristics, for example they can show empathy by acting like the adult (Killick and Schaverien, 1997).

  Transactional analysis is used on children so that they are able to understand their own emotions and how this affects the child’s behaviour. For example the transactional analysis approach would be used on a chid who may have a speech and language difficulty by using drawing to express how the child maybe feeling. For example, when the child has drawn the picture if he/she is feeling anything different and if he/she does feel different, what is it, that is making the child feel the way that they are. If they drawing made the child feel happy what is it that made them feel that way, it could possibility be the use of the creativity used in art through the colourful drawing, then you would look at the past and ask the child how they were feeling then (Teacher.Tv, 2006).  

Art is used by the transactional analysis approach for children as it provides an aid which enable the child to communicate in an creative way. This is because as the chosen child is withdrawn from the class due to a speech and language difficulty, the child is less likely to open up and express how they are feeling. Art provides a good bases for the professional to understand the child and change the way in which the child is thinking (Clarkson, 1992).

An integrated art therapy exercises was used in the counselling module on the 26/01/11 through creativity by making an object out of art material to identify the process of university life in the last year. From this activity it identified that arts can bring out what the person is feeling and the way in which they can express their feeling and through through the use of art.

The approaches to counselling can overlap each other for example transactional analysis and cognitive behavioural therapy according to Hann (2011) stated that both of  these approaches use a collaborative methods, this means that the child and the professional work on equal grounds.

However these both do have some limitations, for example although both of the approaches look at the child’s past experiences the transactional analysis approach focus’s more on the childhood rather than focusing on the here and now whereas the cognitive behavioural approach look at both however it mainly focus’s on the behaviour of the child and how that can change the child’s thoughts and feeling (Taylor and Francis, 1977).   

The transactional analysis approach itself both has it strengths and limitations. For example the strength of the approach is that it look at the child’s childhood experience this is a positive as you are able to identify the root cause of the problem however this also can be seen as a disadvantage as you are not considering other factors that may have contributed to the illness such as lifestyle factors.

In relation to the ego states the ego’s may overlap this could be seen both as a positive and a negative, it can be seen as a positive as the communication can be lost when the ego’s overlap this can be seen as be a negative as the child may loose trust, however it can bee seen to be positive as it considering the overlapping factor of all the ego’s because the child can’t just have one ego’s sometime a child may overlap through different stages of counselling.  

Overall it can be concluded that 


• Clarkson, P (1992) Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy (An integrated approach). London: Routledge 

• Croll, P and Moses, D (2000) Special Needs in Primary School.  London: Cassell

• Hargaden, H and Sills, C (2002) Transactional Analysis (A Relational Perspective). Sussex: Routledge 

• Hann, C (2011) About Counselling/Psychotherapy [WWW]  Counselling/Psychotherapy. Available from: “″&HYPERLINK “″part=2 [Accessed 02/03/11]

• Hegarty, S (1993) Meeting special needs in ordinary school, 2nd ed. London: Cassell Education Limited

• Kaplan, F.F (2007) Art Therapy and Social Action. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

• Killick, K and Schaverien, J (1997) Art, Psychotherapy and Psychosis. London: Routledge

• Lindsay, G and Dockrell, J (2000) The behaviour and self-esteem of children with specific speech and language difficulties. The British Journal of Educational Psychology, 70 (4), pp. 583-601

• Midgley, D (1999) New Direction in Transactional Analysis Counselling. London: Free Association Book Ltd

• Pitman, E (1982) Transactional Analysis: An Introduction to its Theory and Practice . Journals of Social Work, 12, pp. 47-63

• Segrist, D (2009) What’s going in your professor’s head? Demonstrating the Id, Ego and Superego. Teaching of Psychology, 36 (1), pp. 51-54

• Shaver, P and Mikulincer, M (2005) Attachment theory and research: Resurrection of the psychodynamic approach to personality. Journal of Research in Personality, 39 (1), pp. 22-45

• Stewart, I (2007) Transactional Analysis Counselling in Action, 3rd ed. London: Sage Publication Ltd

• Szwed, C (2007) Reconsidering the role of the primary special educational needs co-ordinator: policy, practice and further priorities. British Journal of Special Education, 34 (2), pp. 96-104

• Taylor and Francis (1977) Free Paper. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, 6 (4), pp. 25 – 146 

• Teacher.Tv (2006) Transactional Analysis [WWW] Teacher.Tv. Available from: [Accessed 02/03/11]

• The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (2011) What is therapy? [WWW] The  British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Available from: [Accessed 28/02/11]

• The Counsellor’s Guide (2011) Psychodynamic Approaches to  Counselling [WWW] The Counsellor’s Guide. Available from: [Accessed 02/03/11]

• Wright, A (1995) Storytelling with children. Oxford: Oxford University Press  

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