Homework tasks : an exploration into how between-session tiasks are co-constructed and experienced by adolescents in solution-focused counselling sessions.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Counselling
Solution-focused therapy is a client-centred, strengths-based approach that aims to work with clients to help them recognise their own unique abilities and resources that they can use to make positive change in their lives. Solution-focused counsellors frequently conclude consultations by agreeing with the client on something useful for them to do between sessions with the aim of clients taking small steps towards their therapeutic goals. There is little research investigating this co-construction of between-session tasks and none that explores the clients’ experiences of this process. This study attempts to address this gap in the literature. Qualitative methods and a case study design were used to explore both the process and the clients’ experiences relating to between-session task discussions. This research was conducted in a New Zealand high school counselling setting with 4 adolescent participants who each participated in a maximum of 5 individual, solution-focused counselling sessions and 1 semi-structured final interview. Research data from transcripts of counselling sessions and final interviews and researcher observations and reflections were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Four themes emerged: co-constructive conversations about client goals and past successes reveal appropriate between-session tasks; tasks were seen to be helpful and worked to build client confidence and support clients’ thinking; client suggested tasks were most ideal, however if tasks were aligned to what clients wanted, counsellor suggested tasks were acceptable; following up on how clients engaged with tasks (when they did not arise naturally in conversation) provided useful information for the therapeutic process and was helpful for clients. Findings from this practice-based research make a useful contribution to the current literature, showing how between-sessions tasks can be talked about in solution-focused counselling sessions with adolescents, and most importantly add the client’s perspective about this specific part of the counselling process.