TCU Mapping-Enhanced Counseling

TCU (Texas Christian University) Mapping-Enhanced Counseling is a communication and decision-making technique designed to support delivery of treatment services by improving client and counselor interactions through graphic visualization tools that focus on critical issues and recovery strategies. As a therapeutic tool, it helps address problems more clearly than when relying strictly on verbal skills.

Mapping-Enhanced Counseling is the cognitive centerpiece for an adaptive approach to addiction treatment that incorporates client assessments of needs and progress with the planning and delivery of interventions targeted to client readiness, engagement, and life-skills building stages of recovery. The technique centers on the use of "node-link" maps to depict interrelationships among people, events, actions, thoughts, and feelings that underlie negative circumstances and the search for potential solutions.

There are three types of maps: (1) information maps are produced by a counselor or content expert to communicate important ideas (e.g., causes and consequences of HIV); (2) guide maps are predrawn "fill-in-the-node" displays completed by the client (either with assistance from the counselor or as homework); and (3) free style maps are drawn "from scratch" on paper or a marker board while a session progresses. These map types can be used independently or in combination to capitalize on the cognitive advantages of graphical representation while augmenting the flexibility and power of a verbal dialog between clients and counselors/therapists. They also document process and progress across sessions.