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Basic Counselling Skills

1. Attending Behaviour
2. Closed and Open-Ended Questions
3. Paraphrase
4. Summary
5. Reflection

1) Attending Behaviour
❖ Orienting oneself physically and psychological
❖ Encourages the other person to talk
❖ Lets the client know you’re listening
❖ Conveys empathy

What Does Attending Behaviour Look Like?

a) SHOVLER (Or SOLER – the underlined):

❖ S: Face the other Squarely
❖ H: Head nods
❖ O: Adopt an Open Posture
❖ V: Verbal Following
❖ E: Speech
❖ L: Lean toward the other
❖ E: Make Eye Contact
❖ R: Be Relatively Relaxed

b) Listening:

Listening is the most important skill in counselling. It is the process of ‘hearing’ the other person. Three aspects of listening; i) Linguistic: actual words, phrases and metaphors used to convey feelings. ii) Paralinguistic: not words themselves but timing, accent, volume, pitch, etc. iii) Non-verbal: ‘body language’ or facial expression, use of gestures, body position and movement, proximity or touch in relation to the counsellor All these express the internal state of the counselee and can be ‘listened’ to by the attentive counsellor.

2) Four types of Counselling Interventions

i) Open-Ended Questions

✓ Questions that clients cannot easily answer with “Yes,”, “No,” or one- or two-word responses ✓ “Tell me about your family while you were growing up” ✓ “Why is that important to you?”

✓ How did you feel when that happened?”
✓ “What did you do when she said that?”
✓ “What are your reasons for saying that?”

Purposes of Open-Ended Questions:

• To begin an interview
• To encourage client elaboration
• To elicit specific examples
• To motivate clients to communicate

ii) Closed-Ended Questions

• Questions that the other can easily answer with a “Yes,” “No,” or one- or two-word responses • “Are you going to have the test done?”
• “Did you drink before you got into the car?” • “Do you drink often?”
• “Do you exercise?”
• “Do you like your job?”

Purposes of Closed-Ended Questions:

• To obtain specific information
• To identify parameters of a problem or issue
• To narrow the topic of discussion
• To interrupt an over-talkative client

Closed vs. Open-Ended Question

Examples
C: Are you scared?
O: How do you feel?
C: Are you concerned about what you will do if the test results are positive? O: What do you think you might do if the test results are positive? C: Is your relationship with your husband a good one?

O: Tell me about your relationship with your husband.

iii) Reflection:

Reflection is the echoing back of the last few words that the client has spoken. It is widely used in Rogerian counselling.
e.g.: Counselee: We moved to Bangalore from gulf at the beginning of last year but none of us really settled down. My wife never did like living in such a large city. I found it difficult to get a job….

Counsellor: You found it difficult to get a job…
Counselee: Well, it was difficult to start with, any way. I suppose I didn’t really try hard enough …
Counsellor: You didn’t really try hard enough … (more later-below)

iv) Challenging:

Though challenging and confronting are not associated with counselling, there are times they are appropriate and even necessary.
Counselee: There is no one in this organization that I can talk to at all
Counsellor: No one?
Counselee: I have always been a failure, never been any good at anything.
Counsellor: Always?

3) Paraphrasing

The counsellor rephrases the content of the client’s message

Example:
➢ Client: “I know it...
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