Four factors that influence counselling effectiveness

​(based on the work of Scott D. Miller as presented by Dr David Morawetz of Financial Counselling Australia)

The effectiveness of counselling isn’t all down to the counsellor nor is it completely within the control of the client, according to Dr Scott D. Miller’s research. What’s happening with the client both in terms of beliefs and of circumstances is a key factor (40%). So is the therapeutic relationship (30%). Smaller contributors include the client’s degree of hopefulness (15%) and the type of therapy used by the counsellor (15%).

Extra-therapeutic Client Factors (40 per cent of effectiveness).
These include the client’s personal strengths, weaknesses and other characteristics including beliefs and attitudes; and also  factors in the client’s environment that help or hinder.

How the therapist can help: Identify and talk about strengths while helping client to deal with weaknesses. Tailor solutions to client’s beliefs and values.

Therapeutic Relationship (30 per cent of effectiveness).
Empathy, warmth, acceptance (i.e. Rogerian factors) perceived by client.

How the therapist can help: Be warm and empathic. Address issues the client wants to deal with i.e. work with the client’s goals rather than those of your theoretical model. Be collaborative – don’t dictate.

Realistic hope (15 per cent of effectiveness).
This refers to the client’s hopefulness about the outcome and the possibility of improvement.

How the therapist can help: Communicate hopefulness about what can be achieved. Don’t get stuck in the past – look also at what is possible now and in the future.

Model of counselling (15 per cent of effectiveness)
Using the right approach for the particular client or situation. The approach should be tailored to the client’s needs, beliefs and strengths.

How the therapist can help: Be willing to change the approach/model to suit the needs of the client on the day.

Source: WHAT WORKS IN COUNSELLING?  US Evidence and Australian Experience

Keynote address presented by Dr. David Morawetz, clinical and counselling psychologist to the Annual Conference of the South Australian Financial
Counsellors’ Association on 22 September 2006.  With comments and case studies from Jan Pentland, financial counsellor, Eastern
Access Community Health, Victoria.

(I can no longer access this on the website of Financial Counselling Australia. However, the link to Scott D Miller’s website will bring you to a source of good information on this topic).