Stages in Counseling Process

What are the essential stages in Counseling Process?

There are four stages in Counseling Process,

  1. Identify the need for counseling.
  2. Prepare for counseling.
  3. Conduct counseling.
  4. Follow up.

Counselling is a process. It focuses on enhancing the psychological well being of the that the client will able to reach his/her full potential.

This can be achieved by the counsellor facilitating the client in his/ her personal growth, development,  and self-understanding, which in turn empowers the client to adopt more constructive life practices.


Marjorie Neslon’s (2001) nine steps in the counseling process.

1) Establish a safe, trusting environment.
2) Clarify: Help the person put their concern into words.
3) Active listening: find out the client’s agenda.

a) paraphrase, summarize, reflect, interpret.
b) focus on feelings, not events.

4) Transform problem statements into goal statements.
5) Explore possible approaches to the goal.
6) Help person choose one way towards goal Develop a plan (may involve several steps).
7) Make a contract to fulfil the plan (or to take the next step). Counselling Process.
8) Summarize what has occurred, clarify, and get verification. Evaluate progress.
9) Get feedback and confirmation.

G. Egan, (1986) three-stage counseling process –

1) Exploration:

  • The client clarifies his/her understanding of the problems that have brought him/her to counselling.
  • The client explores and clarifies problems.
  • The counsellor helps the client tell his/her story, focusing and clarifying as well as pointing out blind spots and helping to generate new perspective.

2) Planning:

  • The client develops strategies to improve his/her situation.
  • He/she develops a plan for change.
  • The client imagines a new scenario and develops goals to achieve it.
  • The counselor encourages a commitment to change.

3) Action:

  • The client takes concrete steps to achieve measurable change.
  • The client moves toward the preferred scenario.
  • The counsellor helps the client develop strategies for action and encourages him/her to implement plans and achieve goals.

Fuster (2005), five stages counseling process-

  1. Attending,
  2. Responding,
  3. Personalizing,
  4. Initiating
  5. Evaluating.

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