Counselling Clients with Criminal Records

As a counseling student who provides services at a counseling internship placement site, the most difficult type of client would be the ones with criminal records. The main issues are the fact that it is necessary to ensure anonymity, where the given category of a client might reveal something troublesome. In addition, the imperfections of the modern criminal justice system can result in individuals with criminal records who are actually innocent. Therefore, it is important to be careful and considerate when communicating and dealing with these people.

When it comes to counseling convicts, the motivation to communicate with a specialist is primary. However, talking about the truth of this motivation, its grounds, and fullness is the fundamental principle of the counseling attitude. At first glance, there is no contradiction in the situation of filling the consultative process and transferring it to the specific environment of the penitentiary institution, but it is important to turn to the basic principles of counseling. There is a principle of focusing on the norms and values of the client, and it is stated that there is always a certain stigma revolving around him or her (Jones et al., 2017). The very formulation of the question is completely correct and presupposes a significant transformation, such as an amendment for specifics. However, in connection with the above, a preliminary task immediately arises. In the conditions of a penitentiary institution, a psychologist cannot advise and conduct therapeutic work from scratch, as is the case in a normal life situation. The specialist needs additional time and opportunity to study the personality of the person with whom he has to communicate and work.

At the same time, the category of study is also conditional, and to a large extent, incorrect. The main reason is that it revolves around a professional skill and the ability to compose a holistic idea of the personality in the shortest period of time. Thus, the coping process occurs by relying not only on preliminary information about it, but on the overall knowledge, experience, and professional intuition. Intrapersonal conflict almost inevitably arises in a specialist, especially a young one. In connection with the specifics of the interpretation of the sounded principle, it can be solved only in a single way by searching and finding common values and similar ideas about significant things, events, and objects.

Separate major issues in the analysis of the specifics of the psychological counseling process in a penitentiary institution are the problem of the perception of a psychologist by convicts. Consequently, both the reaction to it, the attitude towards it, as well as the issue of gaining and retaining authority by a specialist are important. Evidently, as soon as it comes to practical advisory work, the classic triad of questions pops up in a separate line. The answer to the question of the approach is relatively simple because it describes the methodology and techniques for leading the interlocutor. As a result, there is a need for special development of the scheme of the consultative process in connection with the specifics of the subject of consultation and the field of conditions.

In conclusion, as a novice counselor, one of the most challenging types of clients are convicts and people with criminal records. The main reason is the fact that there a wide range of complex issues involved in defining such a person. In addition, it will be necessary to avoid any form of social judgement and be able to relate to the client by respecting his or her views.


Jones, M., Coleman, S., & Leierer, S. (2017). Challenges facing released prisoners and people with criminal records: A focus group approach. Corrections: Policy, Practice and Research, 2(2), 91-109. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. "Counselling Clients with Criminal Records." September 19, 2023.