In goal-directed counseling, sessions focus on solutions rather than problems. I believe that counseling is a service, and like other service industries, there should be measures for you to know that you’re getting what you paid for! It’s also important for me to know that the work I’m doing with you is effective. One of the first processes of goal-directed counseling is helping the client to define their goals for therapy. Those goals might be direct (e.g. I want to lose 10 pounds) or diffuse (e.g. I want to be happy). In diffuse goals we have to further define the goal. So in the goal “I want to be happy,” we have to get clear on what happiness means to you. In both diffuse and direct goals, we then have to look at what gets in the way of reaching that goal. We also have to explore what benefit you might be getting from keeping things as they are. For example, If you smoke marijuana and want to quit smoking, but smoking helps you to manage your anxiety – then we have to figure out another way to decrease your anxiety, otherwise quitting smoking is much less likely to happen.
My clients’ goals guide my work with them. We regularly review those goals to keep us on track and to set new goals as needed. Meeting goals is a great way for us both to know that counseling is working. Some people come into spiritual counseling as a form of self-growth and self-exploration. While goals may be part of this type of counseling, it is not generally the main focus.