VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Helpful Strategies for Teaching Effective Confrontation Skills
Alan S. Bakes
Confrontation is one of the basic counseling interventions counselors use to promote the wellness of the client. According to MacCluskie (2010), effective confrontation promotes insight and awareness, reduces resistance, increases congruence between the client’s goals and their behaviors, promotes open communication, and leads to positive changes in people’s emotions, thoughts and actions. Despite the benefits and necessity of confrontation, the term can invoke negative emotions for many people, especially counseling students in training. As a result, much of the literature has begun to refer to the skill of confronting as challenging or even caring confrontation (Lankford, 2004; Seligman, 2004; Young, 2009). It can be difficult for students to fully comprehend or grasp the significance and need for effective confrontation due to their own negative experiences of being criticized and confronted and the negative feelings confrontation stirs up (Lankford, 2004). These may contribute to a student’s fear of being criticized themselves, offending, fear of being wrong, fear of failing, or making a mistake. Similarly, student’s poor confrontation skills may also be attributed to the inability to clearly and accurately conceptualize the client’s underlying issue, which keeps them from actively using confrontation.