My wife is a hair stylist. She likes to say that counselors should put salon chairs in their offices because, in her experience, if you put hair clients in a salon chair they spill their guts.
One day she was telling me about a client of hers who was going on and on about her no-good husband, and how they had gone to see a marriage counselor. The woman said she loved it and wanted to have follow-up sessions, but her husband refused. He said he didn’t like the counselor. That’s when my wife said, “It probably had nothing to do with the counselor. It’s more likely the guy didn’t know how to be counseled.”
As she spoke these words, an idea came to mind. I immediately went to my computer and began searching for books that help clients become better clients. Surprisingly, I found nothing. Long story short, I teamed up with Mark Carpenter, LPC and director of the Lighthouse Counseling Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Together we wrote a book to help clients succeed in counseling. We titled the book Counseling Client. It’s a book for clients, written from the perspective of a client—the first of its kind.
Once the manuscript was drafted, Mark and I joined forces with Dr. Oliver McMahan (vice president and counseling professor at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee) and his research assistant, Laura Land, to oversee a nine-month clinical trail to test the efficacy of the book. At the conclusion of the study, we found reading the book improved clients’:
- Understanding of the counseling process
- Understanding of their rights as a counselee
- Understanding of their counselor’s credentials
- Belief that counseling was more effective
- Feeling of responsibility as a counseling client for the counseling process
- Clinical diagnosis ratings, that is, their functioning improvement
- Strength of personal identity
Last week Mark, Oliver, Laura, and I traveled to Orlando, Florida to present our findings at the 2015 American Counseling Association Conference and Expo. It was an incredible honor to present Counseling Client and its helping potential to the worldwide counseling community, and also speak directly with publishers about the book. We are now actively seeking publication of Counseling Client and hope to have more news about the future of the book in the coming months.
For more information about the book and our research, please visit counselingclient.com.