What Is “immediacy” in a Counseling Session?

Find a Counsellor defines immediacy as the ability of a counselor to use the immediate situation to encourage the client to see what is happening between them in the counseling relationship. It is a powerful skill in counseling, and it involves the use of the present tense when conversing with the patient.

Immediacy involves revealing a counselor’s feelings and thoughts, Find a Counsellor expounds. Moreover, the counselor shares a hunch of what the client possibly feels, thinks or senses and links these emotions to the client’s problem. The counselor invites the client to explore what is currently going on between them.

Find a Counsellor explains that counselors use immediacy to address implicit or explicit patterns in the helping relationship and to help the client understand such patterns more clearly. It is also used to deal with difficulties, such as a lack of trust, boundary issues and differences issues. When applying immediacy, a counselor must be direct and honest with his response. He must also be sensitive to the client, be aware of timing and be prepared to follow through to the results.

GoodTherapy notes that immediacy is considered an effective technique for managing an alliance rupture, for providing emotional support and for progressing beyond a patient’s defenses. It is a crucial part of a therapeutic alliance, and it has a significant impact on the patient’s ability to process emotions.