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Nondirective Counseling: Theory and Practice (From Correctional Assessment, Casework, and Counseling, P 161-184, 2001, Anthony Walsh, -- See NCJ-192641)

NCJ Number
Anthony Walsh
Date Published
24 pages
This chapter describes the theory and practice of nondirective counseling.
The point of counseling in the correctional setting is to help offenders to help themselves to feel better and to become more productive members of society. Advice giving must be avoided in a counseling situation unless specifically requested. Learning and discovery ultimately can come only from within the client; that is the real task confronting the counselor. Counselors attempt to help offenders with specific life-adjustment problems and to develop the personality that already exists. Counseling is a series of concerned responses offered to offenders who have concerns and problems that adversely affect their functioning. It is essentially an extension of the interviewing process and uses the same communication skills and techniques. The differences between counseling and interviewing are the likelihood of encountering offender resistance during the counseling process; and the depth of the counseling process. Correctional counseling is defined as an ongoing, positive, interpersonal relationship between offender and counselor for the purpose of increasing the offender’s feelings of self-satisfaction, and improving his or her social adjustments. Psychoanalysis and client-centered counseling are nondirective forms of counseling. They put great faith in their patients’ or clients’ ability to discover their own capabilities and find their own directions. Counselors play a relatively passive role and are reluctant to impose their values on patients/clients and provide them with direction. Psychoanalysis and client-centered therapy are rarely used in a correctional setting because they are too nondirective, and because the terminology and concepts are too difficult. The usefulness of Freudian psychoanalysis to the criminal justice worker is in its profound insights into human nature. The counselor should possess three attributes: unconditional positive regard, genuineness, and empathy. Primary empathy is the communication to offenders of an initial basic understanding of what they are saying. Advanced empathy implies a deeper understanding. Empathy is developed only by experience, by learning about human behavior, and by really caring about what the offender is trying to communicate. 28 references