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Behavioral Health Counseling Colloquium

January 29, 2015

If you’ve ever seen the movie Good Will Hunting, you know Matt Damon’s title character, Will Hunting, is a tough cookie to crack.  Through the movie, we watch as psychologist Sean Maguire, played by the late Robin Williams, slowly gains Will’s trust and helps him turn his life around.  But how did he do it?   

On January 22, 2015, Robert Chapman, PhD, an associate clinical professor in the Behavioral Health Counseling department, showed us exactly how.  In his presentation, entitled “Profiling the Effective Counselor, a Look Inside the Person Who Provides the Counseling,” Chapman discussed with the students and alumni in attendance how to be a competent and compelling counselor using clips of poignant scenes from Good Will Hunting to illustrate his points. 

A very important point that Chapman made is that counselors are people first and counselors second and must be authentic individuals.  “Effective counseling takes place when the person who is the counselor connects with the person who is the client, that is when the magic in counseling happens,” said Chapman. “Thirty percent of the outcome of counseling, effective counseling or ineffective counseling, can be attributed to the relationship that develops between the person who is receiving the service and the person who provides the service.  In other words, if I like you, if I trust you, if I believe you’re listening to me, if I believe you’re concerned about me, I am going to work harder, I’m going to pay closer attention, and I’m going to be much more likely to benefit from whatever the counseling is.”  

This is apparent in Good Will Hunting.  Chapman played several clips showing the evolution of Will and Sean’s relationship and how much more effective the counseling became once Will began to trust Sean and truly believe that he was concerned for him.

Cristine Marchetti, ’15 said “This presentation helped reaffirm what I already thought about being a counselor and already working in the field: not focusing so much on technique and rather just continuing that therapeutic alliance with whoever I work with. “

To view Chapman’s presentation, please visit The Behavioral Health Counseling department aims to hold two colloquia per term, the next is tentatively scheduled for February.