COU108: Examine the importance of building a therapeutic helping relationship with Mr Tan citing THREE (3) points. Counselling Processes and Practice assignment

COU108: Examine the importance of building a therapeutic helping relationship with Mr Tan citing THREE (3) points. Counselling Processes and Practice assignment

Module / Subject / School:

COU108 Counselling Processes and Practice

Singapore University of Social Sciences


Case Study
Mr Tan Ah Meng is a single elderly man aged 60 years old who lives with his 58-year old sister in a 2-room HDB rental flat. He has kidney problems and is on kidney dialysis treatment. Mr Tan often feels depressed and discouraged because he is often exhausted and has multiple chronic health problems. He walks very slowly with the aid of a walking stick, and his legs are often swollen and painful. He used to work as a cook in the past.

He has problems going for his dialysis treatment because of his extreme fatigue and weak legs. Sometimes, his sister who is also single, will take him for dialysis treatment but she is unable to help him when she has to work. She does odd job work as a dish washer. Sometimes, Tan will request a befriender to take him to the dialysis centre. Mr Tan feels useless and wishes that he can be physically strong like he was in the past. He is also stressed and worried about finances as he is on social welfare assistance and does not have an income. He does not want to burden his sister. He does not have much savings as his income was low as a cook, and he did not have a high education being educated only to Secondary Four level. He speaks mostly Mandarin and Cantonese. He speaks English at the Secondary Four level.

Mr Tan is a Christian and goes to a church near his home. His mood is lifted when he goes to church as it is a social support for him. The church members there are friendly and treat him nicely, and they sometimes deliver free groceries to him. Mr Tan also looks forward to the once a week visits by befrienders from the nearby Family Service Centre that has an Outreach arm for the elderly in the community. Mr Tan is a quiet and friendly man. He worked hard as a cook and was resilient when he was younger. Mr Tan is caring towards his neighbours and his sister. He will try to help his neighbours whenever possible, and has referred them to the Family Service Centre, Social Service Office and church for help when he found that they had financial difficulties or other problems when he chatted with them. He is well-liked by people in his community, the volunteers and church mates. Mr Tan also tries to join in the outreach activities by the volunteers from the Family Service Centre. Even though he is tired, he tries to attend the activities such as Chinese New Year and Mooncake Festival celebrations.

Mr Tan often has extreme black-and-white thinking. For example, he believes that he is totally useless now that he is not working. He also feels that he is a burden to his sister as she has to look after him. He worries that they will not have sufficient finances as they are both ageing, and she will not be able to work one day due to old age or health problems. He worries that no one will help them.

Mr Tan also often worries that his health will deteriorate. He is concerned and stressed that he will one day be confined to a wheelchair and be unable to walk and do household chores. When he ruminates on such thoughts, he becomes melancholic and has no mood to eat. He is known to the Social Service Office (SSO) and Family Service Centre (FSC).

You have been assigned to be his counsellor by the FSC as he has shared with the SSO officer about his worries and sad feelings.

Question 1
The Skilled Helper Model highlights in Stage 1 the importance of building a therapeutic helping relationship. Examine the importance of building a therapeutic helping relationship with Mr Tan citing THREE (3) points. Secondly, examine what are the SEVEN (7) qualities of that therapeutic helping relationship. Thirdly, examine what would happen if there is no therapeutic relationship between the counsellor and the client.
(15 marks)

Question 2
Demonstrate how you would utilise and demonstrate empathy as applied to Mr Tan’s case. Illustrate your answer by elaborating on the various facets of listening with examples given on how you would counsel Mr Tan by using and applying empathy, empathetic presence and listening skills.
(20 marks)

Question 3
Demonstrate and evaluate the successful use of the five counselling techniques of probes, paraphrasing, encouragers, reflecting feelings and summarising used in engaging Mr. Tan in the case study. Demonstrate with his answers and your responses to show his readiness to share his story in Task 1-A of the Skilled Helper Model in response to your use of empathetic listening and sensitive attunement. (Please use the format of the verbatim transcript stated below.)

Counsellor and Client Conversation
Counsellor : Thank you Mr Tan for coming forward to talk to me….

Process Comments
I used an encourager by thanking him.…

Question 4
Articulate the FIVE (5) target areas for facilitating client’s self-challenge in Stage 1-B. Provide ONE (1) example for each of the target areas of how you could empathically challenge your client Mr Tan, through the use of relevant open-ended questions.
(10 marks)

Question 5
Delineate Task 1A, 1B and 1C in Stage 1 of the Skilled Helper Model and articulate what are the key open-ended questions you would ask Mr Tan at these Stages to help him explore and uncover the issues. Demonstrate the skills used in accomplishing the tasks in Stage 1 with SEVEN (7) questions for each stage to illustrate that your counselling is intentional, empathetic and sensitively-attuned to the client’s needs and issues.
(30 marks)

What we score:


Our Writer’s Comment 

This assignment tests students on their understanding of the Skilled Helper Model.

To score well on this assignment, you need to approach each question systematically and demonstrate your understanding of the Skilled Helper Model while applying it to Mr. Tan’s case.

Question 1 (15 marks):

  • Start by explaining the significance of building a therapeutic helping relationship with Mr. Tan. Mention that this rapport serves as a foundation for effective counseling and fosters trust and openness between the counselor and the client.
  • Identify and elaborate on the SEVEN qualities of a therapeutic helping relationship. These qualities include empathy, genuineness, non-judgmental attitude, active listening, respect, warmth, and understanding. Provide examples of how you would exhibit these qualities when counseling Mr. Tan.
  • Discuss the consequences of lacking a therapeutic relationship between the counselor and the client. Emphasize that without this relationship, Mr. Tan might not feel comfortable sharing his thoughts and feelings, hindering progress and potentially limiting the effectiveness of the counseling process.

Question 2 (20 marks):

  • Demonstrate how you would apply empathy in Mr. Tan’s case. Explain that empathy involves understanding and acknowledging Mr. Tan’s emotions, thoughts, and experiences without judgment.
  • Illustrate various facets of active listening in your counseling approach with examples. Show how you would respond empathetically to Mr. Tan’s concerns and encourage him to express his feelings openly.

Question 3 (20 marks):

  • Use the verbatim transcript format to showcase the conversation between you and Mr. Tan.
  • Demonstrate your successful use of five counseling techniques (probes, paraphrasing, encouragers, reflecting feelings, and summarizing) to engage Mr. Tan in Task 1-A of the Skilled Helper Model. Provide examples of how Mr. Tan responds to your techniques, and explain how your empathetic listening and sensitive attunement helped him share his story more openly.

Question 4 (10 marks):

  • Identify the five target areas for facilitating client self-challenge in Stage 1-B of the Skilled Helper Model. These areas include discrepancy, preferred reality, current picture, consequences, and action planning.
  • Provide one example for each target area, demonstrating how you could empathically challenge Mr. Tan using relevant open-ended questions. Explain how these questions can help Mr. Tan explore his thoughts and feelings while encouraging him to consider potential solutions.

Question 5 (30 marks):

  • Clearly delineate Task 1A, 1B, and 1C in Stage 1 of the Skilled Helper Model.
  • Craft seven key open-ended questions for each stage to help Mr. Tan explore and uncover the issues he faces. Show that your questions are intentional, empathetic, and sensitive to his needs and emotions.
  • As you provide the questions, explain how each one aligns with the specific task and how they can aid Mr. Tan in gaining insights and identifying potential solutions to his challenges.

General Tips:

  • Structure your answers logically and coherently, ensuring a clear flow from one point to another.
  • Support your responses with relevant theories and concepts from the Skilled Helper Model and counseling literature.
  • Use appropriate language and terminology related to counseling and the Skilled Helper Model.
  • Ensure your answers are specific to Mr. Tan’s case, showcasing a deep understanding of his unique situation.
  • Provide concrete examples and references from the case study to strengthen your arguments.

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