Addressing Consultee Difficulties

Especially when engaged in consultee-centered MHC, a consultant must determine the likely cause(s) of consultee difficulty. These include lack of knowledge, lack of skill, lack of self-confidence, and lack of objectivity. The first three mentioned are relatively straightforward, but lack of objectivity appears more complicated. Lack of objectivity occurs when a consultee loses his or her usual professional distance when working with a client, and consequently is unable to apply established skills effectively to resolve a current work problem. In an interview, Caplan stated that, when supervisory and administrative systems are functioning well (and lack of knowledge and lack of skill thus can be eliminated as causes), most displays of consultee ineffectiveness are caused by a lack of objectivity.

Caplan and Caplan point to five types of consultee lack of objectivity:

1. Direct personal involvement

2. Simple identification

3. Transference

4. Characterological distortion

5. Theme interference

To address problems surrounding consultee objectivity, they recommend several indirect, psychody-namic techniques (e.g., theme interference reduction, verbal focus on the client, parable, nonverbal focus on the client, nonverbal focus on the consultation relationship).

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