In 2007, the game show Deal or No Deal swept the airways with its live action and suspenseful endings. The host, Howie Long, kept the contestant and the captive audience on the edge of their seat. The objective of the game was to reach $1,000,000 by choosing the correct case. This is accomplished by the client utilizing process of elimination and choosing “Deal” or “No Deal”. Ultimately, the client has to make the final decision.
Now how in the world does this relate to counseling? Let me first breakdown the primary roles in Deal or No Deal. Howie (The Counselor) job is to advise throughout the entire game. Initially, he will let the client know what they can achieve and assure them that he will be with them during the journey. However, he will not give any assistance in making the choice, nor will he help them when the pressure of the game (counseling) surges.
The contestant (client) enters the game with no money (brokenness) and the goal is to obtain a level of financial stability. The contestant is alone throughout their journey; outside help is impermissible. As Howie coaches, the contestant must choose the best case (decision) in order to progress.
But wait; there is this obstacle that is placed in front of the contestant the closer they get to achieving their goal. The banker (The enemy) sole purpose is to disrupt progression, but more importantly for the contestant to walk away still broke and worse than before. If the banker cannot get that, he will try his best to make them settle for less.
Essentially, the question in class was Heal or No Heal. When can the counselor say he has done his job? When can the client walk away in a healthy state? As future counselors, our job is not to “fix” our clients. It is to equip them with the necessary tools. Throughout therapy, the counselor is there to guide, direct, and make suggestions, similar to what Howie does. If the counselor can achieve this basic fundamental, he has been effective. As for the client, encouragement and positive reinforcement has been given throughout therapy. Each time the client did not make the best choice, feelings of inadequacy or even hurt makes them second guess their next decision, similar to when the contestant chooses the $500,000 case. Therefore, a client must not only obtain stability, they must own it! Being able to stand firm in decision making post counseling implies that a client has benefited from counseling.