Counseling Micro Skills

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Counseling Microskills: Disclosure, Proxemics, and Eye Contact Wendy Dearringer
Walden University

In counseling, the use of micro-skills such as disclosure, proxemics, and eye contact helps to strengthen the therapeutic relationship, which in turn generates a more positive counseling outcome. These skills are used as non-verbal cues of communication, and develop a positive rapport within the counseling session. Disclosure, often termed ‘self-disclosure’ is when the counselor reveals personal information about him/herself that should have beneficial effects on the client. Proxemics is the science of how the “spatial features” in one’s environment impact behaviors (Haase & Dimattia, 1970, p. 319). For instance, the seating arrangement and counselor’s body posture will have effects on the client’s ability to bond with the counselor. Lastly, eye contact is necessary to show that the counselor is actively listening, interested, and empathetic to the client. A good policy for counselors to adopt is the SOLER acronym (Knapp, 2007). The counselor should sit Straight facing the client, keep legs and arms Open, Lean forward towards the client, maintain Eye contact, and appear relaxed. Appropriate use of these skills in both individual and couples counseling will be discussed in the following paragraphs. Individual

On an individual level, the counselor may have an easier time managing each of these micro-skills. Self-disclosure can be extremely helpful in developing a therapeutic bond; however, the counselor needs carefully consider that the disclosure is beneficial to the client’s concern, rather than to the counselor (Nyman & Daugherty, 2001). They should always be honest and genuine (Knapp, 2007). A counselor should not make up a story because he wants to have a better rapport with the client. Disclosures should be used sparingly, and not be lengthy in order to ensure that the focus remains on the client’s...
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