Counseling is a balancing act between validation and challenge. Over-validate and you may have stagnancy. Over-challenge and you may have defensiveness and resistance. This is the “art” part of Medicine. When in doubt, go back to supportive counseling which is more of a validation stance.
Mindset: Compassionate, authentic, caring, supportive, unconditional positive regard, defused but not detached, present, journey rather than simply goal, “planting the seed mindset”, and stay curious.
Action: Active listening, reflect often, summarize to check and show understanding, explore with “I am curious or I wonder”, genuine validation and acknowledgement.
Good questions will come with a curiosity mindset eg. If I have a magic wand, what change would you wish for? I am curious, what are your greatest fears because folks are often driven by fears.
When counseling, you need to take on a “surfing mindset” rather than a Thor’s hammer approach. I sometimes imagine myself surfing through their stories and searching for that “breakthroughs” together with the people I look after.