Improving self-talk & self-perceptions, terminating helping


Improving client‘s self talk & self-perceptions.

Self-talk is the way you talk to yourself, or your inner voice. You might not be aware that you’re self talking, but you almost certainly are. This inner voice combines conscious thoughts with inbuilt beliefs and biases to create an internal monologue throughout the day in.

There are actually three types of self talk: Positive, Negative, and also Instructional. Examples of self-talk are, “I am really happy for myself,” “I am doing well,” or “That is not great, but it could be worse”.

Self-talk as a matter of fact is something you do naturally throughout your waking hours. People are also becoming more aware that positive self-talk is a powerful tool for increasing your self-confidence as well as curbing negative emotions. People who can master positive self-talk are thought to be more confident, motivated, and equally productive.

Self perception is a person’s view of his or her self or of any of the mental or physical attributes that correspondingly constitute the self.

Behavior therapy helps in overcoming disorders such as anxiety disorder, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, etc. If you change the way you think, you can change the way you feel is the main idea behind behavior therapy.

Behavior therapy:

Behavior therapy practitioners focus on:

    • Directly observable behavior, 
    • Current determinants of behavior, 
    • Learning experiences that is likely to promote change, 
    • Tailoring treatment strategies to individual clients, and also
    • Rigorous assessment as well as evaluation.

Anxiety disorders, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, eating and weight disorders, sexual problems, pain management, as well as hypertension have all been successfully treated using this approach (Wilson, 2011).

Behavioral approach to counselling.

  • Four major areas of development Behavior therapy
  1. Classical conditioning,– Joseph Wolpe’s systematic desensitization
  2. Operant conditioning, 
  3. Social cognitive theory-
    • Albert Bandura and Richard Walters (1963) interactional, interdisciplinary, and multimodal.
    • It involves a triadic reciprocal interaction among the environment, personal factors (beliefs, preferences, expectations, self-perceptions, and interpretations),and individual behavior.
  4. Cognitive behavior therapy-
    • Assumption – what people believe influences how they act and feel.

Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

  • First of the cognitive behavior therapies,
  • Stresses on thinking, judging, deciding, analyzing, and doing.
  • Assumption that cognitions, emotions, and behaviors interact significantly and have a reciprocal cause-and-effect relationship.
  • Epictetus, who said “People are disturbed not by events, but by the views which they take of them” 
  • Ellis’s reformulation of Epictetus’s dictum can be stated as, “People disturb themselves by the rigid and extreme beliefs they hold about events.
  • REBT’s basic hypothesis is that our emotions stem mainly from our beliefs, which influence the evaluations and interpretations we make of the reactions we have to life situations.
  • If we want to become psychologically healthy, we had better stop blaming ourselves and others and learn to fully and unconditionally accept ourselves despite our imperfections.
  • We have strong tendencies to transform our desires and preferences into dogmatic “shoulds,” “musts,” “oughts,” demands, as well as commands.
  • A-B-C Framework-
  • Cognitive restructuring is a central technique.
  • Furthermore, it teaches people how to improve themselves by replacing irrational beliefs with rational beliefs (Ellis, 2008). 
  • Restructuring involves helping clients learn to monitor their self-talk, identify maladaptive self-talk and also substitute adaptive self-talk for their negative self-talk (Spiegler, 2008).

Steps to Improve Self Talk & Self perception.

  1. Fully acknowledging that we are largely responsible for creating our own emotional problems; 
  2. Accepting the notion that we have the ability to change these disturbances significantly; 
  3. Then recognizing that our emotional problems largely stem from irrational beliefs; 
  4. Clearly perceiving these beliefs; 
  5. Also seeing the value of disputing such self-defeating beliefs; 
  6. Moreover, accepting the fact that if we expect to change we had better work hard in emotive and behavioral ways to counteract our beliefs and the dysfunctional feelings and actions that follow; 
  7. Understanding what the rational alternative to these irrational beliefs are; and 
  8. In addition practicing REBT methods of uprooting or changing disturbed consequences and practicing their healthy alternatives for the rest of our life (Ellis, 1999, 2001b, 2002).

Terminating Helping.

 Functions of terminating relationship / helping

    • According to Ward (1984)- avoid termination because
        1. Termination is associated with loss.
        2. not a direct micro skill related to counselling 
  1. Termination signals that something is finished. Life is series of Hello and also good byes. To begin something new , a former experience must be completed & resolved..
  2. Termination is the opportunity to end a learning experience properly.
  3. Termination is not just end of therapy but also a motivator (Yalom, 2005). Both for client & counsellor.
    • Limited sessions make both aware of time.
  4. Termination means of maintaining changes already achieved.
    • Now is time to practice learning in real world.
  5. Termination reminds client that s/he has matured (Vickio,1990).
    • A new skill or different ways of thinking.

Timing of termination.

There is no one answer when termination is to take place. Questions the counselor may wish to ask concerning termination include:

  • Have clients achieved behavioral, cognitive, or affective goals?
  • Can clients concretely show where they have made progress in what they wanted to accomplish?
  • Is the counselling relationship helpful? and also,
  • Has the context of the initial counselling arrangements changed?

Resistance to termination.

  • From both Clients & Counsellors
    • Clients and Counsellors may not want counseling to end. 
    • To avoid the pain.
    • Loneliness,
    • Unresolved grief
    • Also in need of gratification
    • In many cases this may be the result of feelings about the loss and grief or insecurities of losing the relationship. For clients, this is something to process. Whereas, for counsellors, this is an issue for supervision.
  • Client resistance
    • Ask for more time in session.
    • More sessions.
  • Counselor Resistance.
    • Money
    • Counselors also have anxiety towards clients ability.
    • They might have a guilt of not being more effective.

Premature Termination

  • Client- 
    • Many clients may end counselling before all goals are completed.
    • This can be seen by not making appointments, resisting new appointments etc.
    • It is a good idea to try and schedule a termination/review session with the client so closure may take place.
    • At this time a referral may be in order
  • Counselor
    • At times, counsellors also have to end counselling prematurely.
    • Whatever the reason for the termination, a summary session is in order and referrals are made, if appropriate, to another counsellor.
  • Referrals
    • At times, a counsellor needs to make a referral.
    • By doing so, counselor need to address specific issues with the client.
  • Reasons for the referrals
    • Note specific behaviors or actions which brought the need for a referral.
    • Also have the names of several other counsellors ready for referral.
    • Moreover it is important to remember that the counselor cannot follow up with the new counsellor to see if the client followed through (Confidentiality issue).
  • Follow Up
    • At times, a follow-up may be scheduled for various reasons including evaluation, research, or checking with client.
    • It needs to be scheduled so as to not take the responsibility of change away from the client.

To read on previous topic, Training clients in relaxation, click here.


Gladding, S. T. (2018). Counselling: A Comprehensive profession (9th Edn). Pearson.

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