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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What's Important In Almost Any Context

I was sitting in my Counseling Theories and Techniques Lab last night when my professor threw out this question, "What contributes to a good counseling session?"

After a few minutes of discussion, she highlighted four foundational elements:

1. Theories and techniques
2. External factors (client issues)
3. Placebo/Hope (expectations that this is going to work)
4. Relationship (client/counselor chemistry)

Then she asked what percentage we thought these made up in that process/session of counseling. After another bit of discussion, she said that in her experience and in light of the meta data the percentages are as follows:

1. 15%
2. 40%
3. 15%
4. 30%

I sat back and thought to myself that those are pretty much right on given any helping context with people i.e. counseling, youth ministry, pastoral ministry, education, etc. The bulk of life change, educational progress, behavioral/cognitive reconstruction lies most with the person being helped and the relationship being formed between helper/helpee.

I also found it encouraging to find that theory and technique (philosophy and methodology, doctrinal orientation and praxis, etc) are at the bottom of the short list. It's not to say those aren't important because they are. Leadership skills, teaching skills, education skills, and people skills are big, but not the biggest. I also found it interesting that Hope was at the bottom. And as I got to thinking about that, I wondered if that was largely influenced by the counselor/teacher/pastor who was leading and facilitating towards this overtly or subversively stated theme of hope in our lives.

One thing this doesn't account for in the world is the ever present reality of the divine Holy Spirit as it relates to enlightening, guiding, and convicting people about stuff they are dealing with in life. I'm not sure what some meta statistical analysis can come up with as it relates to that supernatural X factor, but here's to acknowledging it and even praising it!

Just thought I'd drop a little knowledge on you while it's hot. That's how we school counselors/former youth pastors roll.

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