Values are a person's beliefs about what's important, or what matters most to them. They can be just about anything, such as family, hard work, success, or having a good time. Sometimes, people lose sight of their values—they live their life in a way that's incongruent with what they believe. For example, someone who values family might become overwhelmed by work, and neglect their relationships.
Values Clarification is a popular therapeutic exercise that can help a client become more aware of their beliefs, and ways in which they are or are not living up to them. Developing this insight will allow your clients to make positive changes to their lifestyle, so they can better live up to their values. This exercise is completed by simply ranking values from 1 to 10 in order of importance. Discussion should be focused on which values are being met, and which are not. When a value is not being met, what changes would need to occur to change that?
Remember, every person has a unique set of values, and there are no right or wrong answers. Your values will almost certainly be different from those of your clients, and that's OK! Age, culture, family, and individual differences all have major impact on what we hold as most important.
For an interactive values exploration exercise, try the Values Assessment tool: