Personal consultation, as I do it, involves addressing current personal issues in the context of the Character Styles I have outlined in my books. These personal issues include relationship problems in both personal and work settings, career development, decision making, etc. My approach is educational in the sense that such issues or problems are seen as reflecting and being influenced by personality. Character or personality largely determines the problems we have and our knowledge of our character gives us information on how to address them.
You may be wondering how this differs from psychotherapy or life-coaching. There is significant overlap among these three approaches to personal growth and problem solving. Like psychotherapy, this work requires a good and trusting relationship, confidentiality, client openness, and collaboration. Like coaching, it involves focus on current problems, emphasizes personal assets, and involves advice and behavioral prescriptions.
But, unlike most therapy, personal consultation doesn’t involve extensive exploration of history, repeated interpretation, or extensive reliance on insight. It is both more practical/ eclectic than most psychotherapy and psychologically deeper than most coaching.The Character Styles theory guides the work while the eclectic approach allows for a great many ways to facilitate change.
This is what I have been doing for my entire career, both in the University and in the private sector. It involves consultation on psychotherapy cases or on issues that apply in many cases (i.e. ethics, legal issues, common character issues, treatment modalities etc.) It also involves education in the areas of theory and practice of psychology and psychiatry. It is similar to clinical supervision but the relationship is purely collegial and collaborative.