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Trust between a counselor and client

Counselors must overcome barriers to trust in order to begin effective patient treatment

counselor client trust

After a diagnosis has been established but before any therapy begins, the rehabilitation counselor must establish trust with his or her patient. One of the critical skills learned in a degree program in psychology is interpersonal communications.

The ability to relate to and gain the trust of the person suffering from a disability is one of the first hurdles of the rehabilitation process. In some cases, the rehabilitation counselor is embarking on a several month or year-long relationship, one that involves every aspect of the patient’s life. According to BioMed Central Health Services Research, patients that trust their healthcare provider are more likely to follow through with their prescribed treatment plan.

The rehabilitation counselor establishes trust through empathy, consistency, and reliability. While trust must be earned over time, rehabilitation counselors begin by establishing a rapport with a patient, including getting to know the individual on a personal level. Empathy is the ability to relate to someone who is suffering without feeling sorry for them. It means conveying a sense of compassion without pity or judgment.

Counselors must be consistent in their moods, communications and behaviors. Keeping things simple and predictable for a patient suffering from a disability is the best way to accomplish this. They learn to ask patients questions about themselves, maintain eye contact, and actively listen to their answers. Showing up on time, following through on promises, and being dependable even under adverse circumstances are all part of being reliable and trustworthy.

Counselors also learn not to immediately assume that they have a patient’s trust. When patients don’t respond well, rehabilitation counselors remain kind, and refrain from anger or returning unpleasantness. No one – including counselors - fully comprehends how others are feeling, how much pain they are in, or what other emotional issues are causing them to be unhappy at that moment.

Counseling

Barriers to trust are both physical and emotional. Someone dealing with the loss of their legs, for example, is going to have emotional barriers, depression, anger, and other frustrations. Someone with a mental disability might exhibit paranoia, dementia, distrust of the counselor and strangers, and other psychological barriers. Brain injuries often cause disassociation, hostility, and aggressive behavior. And paralyzed patients will have feelings of helplessness, which creates fear, and therefore distrust.

Gaining the trust of children is yet another skill for rehabilitation counselors to master. A child who was battered will have emotional issues around trusting adults. Disabled children may not fully understand what a disability really means, and may be subjected to intense pressures to “fit in” as they return to school. Children with learning disabilities or developmental disabilities do not process emotions as others, often requiring additional mental health counseling. Above all, consistency is especially important when dealing with children. (see also Childhood Developmental Psychology).

As the process of establishing trust evolves, the rehabilitation counselor will employ different strategies to maintain relationships and motivate patients. It requires the ability to be flexible, patient, and honest throughout the duration of the treatment plan. It means working hard to understand the patient, identifying each individual’s physical and psychological barriers to trust, and finding ways to overcome them.

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5 Programs in
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  • Partnerships with thousands of companies
  • Alliances with many national industry associations
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  • Partnerships with thousands of companies
  • Alliances with many national industry associations
  • Personalized career guidance
  • Job market research tools to help you explore your career of interest
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
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5 Programs in
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  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
  • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
  • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Programs in
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  • Ranked among the 2015 Best Regional Universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 94% of students in the 2014-2015 academic year received some form of financial aid.
  • Student to faculty ratio is 13:1, with an average class size of 15.
  • 104 full-time faculty members, and more than 71% of them hold the highest degree in their field.
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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  • Ranked among the 2015 Best Regional Universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report.
  • 94% of students in the 2014-2015 academic year received some form of financial aid.
  • Student to faculty ratio is 13:1, with an average class size of 15.
  • 104 full-time faculty members, and more than 71% of them hold the highest degree in their field.
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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  • Online Programs
1 Programs in
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  • Its Fast Track program enables qualified students to save up to 30% on tuition and graduate up to 30% faster.
  • Its online MBA program was named by the International Graduate Forum as a top 10 Online MBA Program in 2012.
  • Listed as a military friendly school by G.I. Jobs magazine in 2014.
  • Lets students watch, view, read, or hear content through its program, My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.).
  • Has additional campus locations near military bases in Colorado Springs and Denver.
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  • Its Fast Track program enables qualified students to save up to 30% on tuition and graduate up to 30% faster.
  • Its online MBA program was named by the International Graduate Forum as a top 10 Online MBA Program in 2012.
  • Listed as a military friendly school by G.I. Jobs magazine in 2014.
  • Lets students watch, view, read, or hear content through its program, My Unique Student Experience (M.U.S.E.).
  • Has additional campus locations near military bases in Colorado Springs and Denver.
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  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
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  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
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  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Features a competency-based MBA program that allows students to test out of subjects based on prior professional experience.
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
5 Programs in
Campus
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities ( beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities. 
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
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  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities ( beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities. 
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Programs in
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  • Several institutional scholarship opportunities are available to students who qualify.
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  • Offers graduate degree programs in organizational leadership, mind-body medicine, psychology and human science.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Three teaching locations in Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, with the university headquarters located in San Francisco, California.
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  • Several institutional scholarship opportunities are available to students who qualify.
  • Features several learning model options, including online, residency, and hybrid options.
  • Offers graduate degree programs in organizational leadership, mind-body medicine, psychology and human science.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Three teaching locations in Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, with the university headquarters located in San Francisco, California.
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Online
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
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  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked among the Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
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  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Programs in
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  • Several student organizations are present on campus, including Alpha Chi and Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Societies, intramural sports, and a student government association.
  • Main campus is located in Hobbs, New Mexico, with online options as well.
  • Originally founded in 1962 as College of the Southwest.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
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  • Several student organizations are present on campus, including Alpha Chi and Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Societies, intramural sports, and a student government association.
  • Main campus is located in Hobbs, New Mexico, with online options as well.
  • Originally founded in 1962 as College of the Southwest.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
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  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits