Supportive counseling is another name for Person Centered Therapy. According to Ann Reitan, PsyD, “Carl Rogers created a theory and therapy indicated by the terms ‘umanistic theory’ and ‘person-centered therapy’.” A supportive counselor is one who listens to the problems of clients, supports them and makes them feel ‘understood’. It is often seen that having ‘someone to talk to’ is all one needs to get over his/her troubles; learn more about how people are turning to online therapy for professional help. Supportive counseling is comforting, advising, encouraging, reassuring and mostly listening attentively with sympathy to people suffering from depression and anxiety. According to Jerry Kennard, Ph.D., a Chartered Psychologist ,“During supportive counseling the opportunity to explore and clarify issues that can offer a greater sense of wellbeing will be explored. Your problems and the way you see things become the real focus of attention.” Extensive research on psychotherapy has proved that supportive counseling is the only therapy that can be used in combination with all existing therapies to get a better outcome.
Methods of Supportive Counseling – The answer to depression
- Emotional Ventilation – Supportive counseling lets the person vent out his/her anger , rage or grief. This process is good to be used in the early phases for most people have been observed to feel better after allowing all the rapid emotions to clear out. It is very important to make the patient ventilate emotions in the right talking the client clarify and seek out the thoughts so that he/she gains a better concept of the ‘why and how’ of his/her feelings and reactions.
- Elucidation – This is making the client clarify and seek out the thoughts so that he/she gains a better concept of the ‘why and how’ of his/her feelings and reactions.
- Active Listening – Carl Rogers believed “We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change.” One of the essential requisites of supportive counseling is actively listening to the client. The feeling of being heard itself begins the healing process. Many problems seem to be unbearable until it is shared with someone. The supportive counselor becomes a friend to the client and listens with empathy without judging.
- Client Awareness – Discussing the problems and educating the client about his/her situation helps in gaining insight and acceptance. Supportive counseling ensure the client stays calm and accept with positivity.
- Suggestion with helpful guidance – For clients with low self-esteem and confidence, the counselor constantly reminds them of their positive sides and achievements. Counselors need to be very alert in providing their guidance in a correct manner so that it may prove valuable.
- Exteriorization of Interests – People who are overwhelmed with their problems should be helped out by the counselors by diverting their attention from the depressive and negative thoughts running in their minds to the pursuit of some activity or interest. In short, encouraging them with some mind refreshing hobbies.
- Making use of Social Support – Often being in a depressive situation people start losing on all social ties and embrace self-isolation resulting to more serious anxiety and depression. Thus counselors encourage their clients to renew intimate bonds which provide for social and emotional support.
- Doing more pleasurable activities – Depressed people often become so engrossed in grief that they fail to explore the happiness around. Supportive counselors provide aid in letting them do so. They advise (or sometimes insist) the clients to do things they love to do. That may be going out with friends, playing or listening to music, any pleasurable activity can work.
Supportive counseling does not make the client dependent on the counselor. Therefore the termination of the sessions does not relapse depression unlike many other forms of therapy which is why it is known as one of the best ways to challenge depression and issued as an adjunct to all other forms of anti-depression treatments.
One thing that we all should remember is – getting support is easy, but being our own support can shield us from many adversities. Supportive therapy is one way of making us able to do so.
Depression doesn’t mean you are weak, so never step back from seeking help and healing yourself. “Depression is not a weakness of character, laziness, or a phase.”, according to Deborah Serani, PsyD. You are in charge of your happiness.