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THE IMPORTANCE OF ACTIVE LISTENING AND THE COMMUNICATION OF EMPATHY IN THE COUNSELLING RELATIONSHIP

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  • Jan. 2014
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THE IMPORTANCE OF ACTIVE LISTENING AND THE COMMUNICATION OF EMPATHY IN THE COUNSELLING RELATIONSHIP – (Assignment 2)

There are many and varied skills used in a counselling environment and whilst all have equal relevance, I would like to focus on two skills which I feel are particularly important in the development of the counselling relationship. Active listening and the communication of empathy towards a client are individual skills which along with others help to form a basis for development at the onset of a therapeutic relationship. Through the use of relevant literature and some personal observation, I will explore the fundamental requirement of each skill within the counselling relationship, looking at the reasons why I feel they are particularly important and the benefits that can be achieved by the client when these skills are used effectively.

All skills used in a client/helper relationship form part of the contract between the two and must be demonstrated effectively and appropriately so they help to move the relationship forward and obtain the best possible results for the client. To do this the client needs to feel that they are the focus in the process. An ordinary conversation between two people is normally an equal relationship which usually meets the needs of both parties. However, Nelson–Jones’s (1995) opinion is that the client/ helper relationship is different in that the emphasis in counselling conversations is primarily to meet the client’s needs. Active listening is, in my opinion, the starting point for any therapeutic relationship and forms the basis on which to build feelings of trust within the client. Active listening is in reality a combination of specific skills which show the client you are listening. Giving the client your full attention, maintaining eye contact, using good body language and facial expression as well as considering the clients’ non-verbal messages, all help to accurately gather information and...