Evaluation and termination stage in Counseling
Evaluation is an important part of the counselling process. It is essential that the counsellor undertakes evaluation before the termination of the process. Evaluating means to review how the counselee has taken the action in order to achieve the goal and in view of the plans how far the client is progressing.Assessment or evaluation of client’s progress is an ongoing process which begins right in the first stage.However, it is done at this stage with the purpose of terminating the process. Counselling should never be abruptly terminated. The termination of counselling is systematically done after following a series of steps. The counsellor during the evaluation and termination stage ensures the followings:
1. Evaluating readiness for termination of counselling process;
1. Letting the client know in advance about the termination of counselling;
3. Discuss with client the readiness for termination;
4. Review the course of action plan;
5. Emphasis the client’s role in effecting change;
6. Warning against the danger of ‘flight into health’;
7. Giving instructions for the maintenance of adaptive functioning;
8. Discussion of follow up sessions; and
9. Assuring the availability of counsellor in case of relapse into dysfunction.
While discussing about this stage, it is important to know when and how the counsellor should discontinue the counselling process. The client is the point of reference to make this decision.As the client gains desired benefits, the client her/himself may suggest that there is no further need for continuation. Sometimes termination may depend upon external influences, such as time constraints or unforeseen contingencies.
The counselling may also terminate because the client feels that s/he does not wish to continue; or, because both either decide that no progress is being made towards the set goals.
As it has been discussed in planning stage, counselling is always conducted with predetermined goals. The goals may be modified as required during the course of therapy. The counsellor develops specific plan for each client.Accordingly, as action plan progresses and the goals of client are progressively attained, the counsellor must evaluate and assess the readiness to terminate the process.
The counsellor must give adequate advance notice of termination so that clients can psychologically orient themselves towards independent functioning. Such notice of termination is also necessary to give the client an opportunity to raise issues that she/ he had not discussed. Failure to provide adequate notice of termination may lead to crisis in functioning when the termination is announced. The clients appraisal of the situation is essential while terminating counselling sessions. The counsellor should discuss with the client about his/her readiness to terminate. The discussion may include client’s understanding of what has transpired during the process, his/her doubts and misconceptions, and confidence to handle future situations. While terminating counselling, it is important that the client is warned against the ‘flight into health’ which keeps him/her aware of the realities of the situation and the possibilities of relapsse after returning to the unsupervised environment. Since the risk for setbacks, temporary or otherwise, after termination is high, the client should be given adequate counselling about how to handle potential troublesome situations.
Further, while reviewing the whole process, the counsellor draws to the client’s attention the problems initially identified with him/her, the goals that were agreed upon and the plan of action employed to attain the goals, tasks given, interpretations and insights that resulted, progress and setbacks in the process, and such other issues. In order tomake the client more confident the counsellor must make the client known about the role that s/he has played. The counsellor should also explain that his/her role has been that of a guide to the client on his journey to achieve the set goal.
Lastly, at this stage some discussion of follow up sessions and continued uncritical accessibility of the counsellor to the clients is necessary. There is need for the client to continue to maintain contact with the counsellor for continued assistance for the maintenance of the functional equilibrium. The frequency of such follow-up sessions is based upon individual circumstances, and can increase or decrease depending upon the need. Therefore, the counsellor should stress on ‘open doors’ which refers to easy accessibility of the counsellor to the client. The clients must be made feel that he/she need not feel guilt in case he/she relapses into dysfunction and he/she should be made to feel that the counsellor will always be available to him/her.