EMPIRICAL RESEARCH ON COUNSELLING SKILLS 

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CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION.

Introduction

The focus of the study is on the assessment of the counselling skills among the clergy, the Roman Catholic priests in the diocese of Masvingo in Zimbabwe. This chapter of the study presents analyses and interprets the data collected. The questionnaire was the main instrument used by the study. Data was presented and analysed in a thematic style. Diagrams like bar graphs and tables were often used.
The questionnaire was structured in three categories namely:
Questionnaire to the priests/pastors who completed Pastoral Counselling course at the Seminary.
Questionnaire to the priests/pastors who were not exposed to Pastoral Counselling course at the Seminary.
Questionnaire to the faithful/parishioners who work with the clergy or who received any form of pastoral counselling help from the priests.
The first questionnaire was intended to extract the information about the skills that were currently used by the clergy in the pastoral ministry basing on the training received during their formation at the Seminary. The responses to the questionnaire would determine the adequacy or the lack of pastoral counselling skills among the clergy who completed training. The study then evaluated the effectiveness and adequacy of training in counselling skills from the given responses.
The second questionnaire was intended to evaluate on the priests who were not exposed to pastoral counselling training during their formation whether they were competent or not in using pastoral counselling skills in the pastoral ministry. If they were counselling the questionnaire would extract the actual skills in pastoral counselling and evaluate the given responses. The responses to the questionnaire reflected the adequacy/inadequacy and the effectiveness/ineffectiveness of pastoral counselling skills used by the priests who were not exposed to pastoral counselling training in the pastoral ministry.
The third questionnaire was intended to elicit some feedback from the /faithful/parishioners who had gone to the priests with counselling problems. The responses from the parishioners
would determine the satisfaction of a client and the adequacy and effectiveness of skills used by the priests during counselling sessions. The parishioners were asked to suggest some improvements in pastoral counselling for priests to enhance effective pastoral work.
 

The Actual counselling skills of the priests who were exposed to Pastoral Counselling training at the Seminary.

Questionnaire to the priests who trained in Pastoral Counselling at the Seminary from 2002 onwards (30-45 years old)
The first question elicited the information on how the priest/counsellor would react in pastoral counselling relationship when attending problems. The question was structured as follows:
Question 01. After completing your Pastoral Counselling course may you explain your feelings when attending to people’s problems?
The responses are presented in a diagram
 

Most of the responses indicated that the priests in pastoral work frequently met counselling problems.

When parishioners came with problems the priests had no choice between to counsel and not to counsel. The priests had to counsel no matter how competent they were in pastoral counselling. Though the priests were engaged in pastoral counselling, they expressed the issue of lack of pastoral counselling skills and competence to deal with problems brought to them. The diagram in figure 4.2.1 presents the answers given by the respondents in question.
According to the respondents counselling is much needed in the pastoral ministry as reflected by the given percentages in diagram 4.2.1. The following quotation from an interview with one of the priests confirms how the counsellors perceived the parishioners. “I feel that people come to me and perceive me as a competent pastoral counsellor to deal with their problems out of trust, faith and hope.” (Catholic priest 41 years old). However, when people come to the priests they expect their problems to be alleviated through effective expertise. Their perception of a priest- counsellor should be fulfilled when they come to a priest for assistance. Sixty eight percent of the respondents indicated that they needed to deepen their standards of counselling skills. The pastoral counselling course that they did at the Seminary did not prepare them enough to deal with complex counselling issues. The respondents expressed that they needed more training in counselling skills. Another priest interviewed was quoted as saying “I feel like helping my people in their spiritual needs and direct them into personal relationship with God. However I feel very incompetent when I cannot help them to have an emotional and psychological healing” (Catholic priest 35 years).
As tabled above there were various reasons that were given for and against the appropriate setting. The answers given in table
 

Reflect that counselling was practiced by priests in the pastoral ministry no matter what setting they might have.

It could be an indication that some of the counselling skills are not stereotyped or dogmatic but could be adjusted or used according to the environment and needs of clients. Another issue that was raised by respondents was that of culture. There are skills and techniques in pastoral counselling that work together with local culture. As reflected by the responses in table 4.2.2. choosing an appropriate counselling setting goes together with the Shona-Ndebele culture of confidentiality and privacy. The multi-cultural approaches to counselling too consider setting an appropriate place for counselling as an important skill/technique (Ivey et al. 2002:55).
On the other hand, the findings had reflected that an appropriate setting might not be needed at times. There are places like shantytowns, shacks, swampy and filthy places where some parishioners could reside yet they could not create a room for privacy and respect for each other. In such „abnormal‟ places an appropriate setting might not be necessary for counselling. It was left to the priest/counsellor to use his competence. The study found that it was very important to take into consideration the reasons given against having an appropriate setting. This could help counsellors to be critical of the skills that are often used in counselling and to apply them where and when they would be required most (Keely 2008:148).
The role of culture in counselling need to be observed to enhance the success of counselling all the time(Ivey et.al 2002:55; Lartey 2005:37).There are skills that are theoretically considered as very important but could not apply to some cultures. In the findings, one thing to note was that the Shona Ndebele culture accommodates most of the counselling skills as they promote their dignity and values. For example, being empathetic and finding an appropriate place for counselling. It was highlighted that the Shona-Ndebele people who are the majority in Zimbabwe were still influenced by their traditional religion. That is why they are so secretive and difficult to open up. Therefore an appropriate setting was needed bearing in mind that some environments differ and people differ as well.According to the figure above, 88% of the respondents had shown that they were not aware of any theoretical approaches they could use during counselling sessions. Only 10% had responded positively that they would prefer an eclectic approach. The study had revealed that the 10% who answered positively were the few who had pursued their studies in counselling with the Open University of Zimbabwe (ZOU). The 2% were those who had managed to have some counselling courses that were held with Support groups like FACT, New Start Centre, Kubatana AIDS Support group and other groups that were offering counselling and training services in Zimbabwe.
The lack of theoretical basis of pastoral counselling skills among the priests in Zimbabwe is an indication that their counselling background and skills were inadequate. The lack of skills bounces back to the seminary training where the seminarians (student priests) had only two semesters of Pastoral counselling and care programme. The contents of the programme covered within the first semester were theoretical aspects in pastoral counselling, theological perspective, and ethics in pastoral counselling, communication skills in pastoral counselling, assessment in pastoral counselling, crisis intervention and the act of pastoral counselling (Makamure 2006:7).
The priests had shown that they would frequently counsel using their little and general knowledge of which any other layperson could use when counselling. The lack of theoretical approaches to counselling of the priests is a pointer to the reason why on question 1 they were not confident enough to meet counselling challenges of their flock. Had they had a “broad base of theoretical approaches” to counselling, they would have counselled confidently and would apply different skills anyhow (Mccabe 2007:47).
The table above presents the responses about paraphrasing as one of pastoral counselling skills. Many respondents argued in favour of paraphrasing and they valued it as an important skill in the process of pastoral counselling (Egan 2007:83; Ivey et.al.2002:32;Hugo 2006:03). Very few respondents had taken paraphrasing as a hindrance to proper counselling process. The reasons given reflect that such counsellors were not thoroughly trained in counselling skills and they would be hesitant to engage some of the skills in case they would get lost whilst the clients expected a fruitful counselling session. The findings above couldbe a clear indication that counselling skills were done on a peripheral level and they needed to be deepened.

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The Importance of Summarising in Counselling

Is it important to summarise what your clients have said?

The fourth question came as a follow up of other counselling skills that were considered to be basic to any pastoral counselling student. The majority of the respondents were very positive in their answers. Summarising was considered to be very important taking into consideration the follow up of a counsellor into the client‟s problem (Egan 2007:48, Ivey 2002:33, Igo 2006:35, and Hugo 2006:03).
The respondents confirmed that summarising helps the clients to appreciate that the counsellor was listening to his/her problem. The client is helped to refocus and to progress especially when he/she is stuck. With summary both counsellor and counselee get the overall picture of the problem at hand. It clarifies issues that might seem hidden.
Few respondents were not in favour of summarising and they argued that it could confuse both the counsellor and the client and would waste time in trying to trace what the client had actually said. However, the study found out that the few respondents had some fear in summarising because they were not very confident in their counselling skills. Generally, the responses on question 5 reflected the importance of summarising as one of the skills in counselling. Those who could not practise summarising in the pastoral field indicated a level of inefficiency and insufficient learning of counselling skills during their formation.
The findings indicated that asking of questions is important in counselling. The respondents consented that as counsellors, they had to ask questions during counselling session.
However, it is more important to be tactful or skilful when asking questions (Egan 2007:48).
As reflected in the responses, asking questions might confuse the client if it is not skilfully
done.

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The impact of counselling skills in the presence of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe

With the presence of HIV/AIDS pandemic and socio-psychological disorders what role does pastoral counselling play?

The findings indicated that the question above was intended to determine the effectiveness of pastoral counselling skills vis- avis the challenges of HIV/AIDS pandemic in the pastoral ministry in Zimbabwe. The study got data from the respondents that could help in the field of pastoral work. The research found out that the exercise of pastoral counselling by priests was providing the much-needed service in the presence of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe.
The respondents indicated that Pastoral counselling skills were necessary to the counsellors, doctors, nurses, care- givers, the affected and the infected. Through counselling, a bridge was created between the infected –stigmatised patients of HIV/AIDS and their family members who were abandoning them. Pastoral counselling skills helped the priests/counsellors to be more effective in their dealing with the people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) and had helped them on how to handle cases of such people.
It was confirmed that through the exercise of counselling skills the infected developed positive attitudes towards their chronic conditions. The presence of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe prompted a number of priests to join support groups and training focused on the handling of the affected and the infected. The priests/counsellors used their counselling skills to help to save those who developed suicidal tendencies due to chronic illnesses and stigma. The respondents confirmed that they were not confident enough to face and stand the challenges HIV/AIDS. There are frequent deaths, child- headed families, orphans, widows widowers, divorces, broken families, chronic sicknesses, poverty, unemployment, moral decadence and many other problems.

CHAPTER ONE: AIM, PROBLEM STATEMENT AND METHODOLOGY 
1.0. Introduction
1.1. Skills
1.2. Background
1.3. Course Outline
1.4. Pastoral Care
1.5. Counselling
1.6. Aim
1.7. The Problem
1.8. Research Questions
1.9. Significance of Study
1.10. Methodology
1.11. Limitation of the Study
1.12. Conclusion
CHAPTER TWO COUNSELLING SKILLS 
2.0. Introduction
2.1. Psychodynamic skills
2.2. The cognitive Behavioural skills
2.3. The Existential-Humanistic Skills
2.4. Reality Skills
2.5. Systemic skills
2.6. Eclectic Skills
2.7. Narrative Skills
2.8. The Multicultural Skills
2.9. The skilled Helper Skills
2.10. Pastoral Skills
2.11. Analysis of Counselling Models
2.12. The Zimbabwean Context
2.13. Conclusion
CHAPTER THREE: EMPIRICAL RESEARCH ON COUNSELLING SKILLS 
3.1 The Research Design
3.2 Population Sample
3.3 Sampling Procedures
3.4 Research Instruments
3.5 Data Gathering
3.6 Data Presentation
3.7 Conclusion
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
4.1. Introduction
4.2. The Actual Counselling skills
4.3. Counselling skills among the clergy
4.4. Feedback from the faithful as clients
4.5. Conclusion
CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
5.1. Introductions
5.2. Summary
5.3. Conclusions
5.4. Recommendations
5.5 Conclusion to the Study
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
ASSESSMENT OF COUNSELLING SKILLS AMONG THE CLERGY: A CASE STUDY OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN THE DIOCESE OF MASVINGO IN ZIMBABWE

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