For my counselor readers: What books or other helps have you encountered that improved your ability to conceptualize cases?
When we teach counseling skills we do the following (we do more than this but this is the general trajectory):
- Build basic helping/counseling skills (if you can’t connect with a person and build a trusting relationship, any knowledge you might have will be useless!)
- Expose students to a wide variety of problems (so they can understand and describe common problems in living or common pathologies–even if they are not sure of the causes of these problems)
- Explore human growth and development from a descriptive and biblical viewpoint (this at the same time as #2 so that they learn about common problems and sufferings as well as what healthy and Godward lives look like in a fallen world)
- Teach case conceptualization (marrying client information (e.g., background info, presenting problems, attempts to solve the problems, etc.) with theoretical understanding of the person/problem/desired outcome.
- Build intervention repertoire during fieldwork.
#4 is the hardest, especially in a generalist program that doesn’t spend a great deal of time on theoretical models (we teach models as part of every course and our model of Christian psychology (biblical anthropology along with process oriented model) isn’t as defined as the old models (e.g., Rogers, Freud, etc.).
If you were teaching counseling to practicum students who needed help with conceptualizing cases, what resources would you turn to?