Basic Communication Skills

Non Verbal Communication
(0900 - 1030)

Body language and its importance in counselling Use of Silence in counselling Active listening and its importance Group Activities: Listening/hearing and Role play

Attending Skills Non-Verbal Communication
Attending Skills

Attending means being with clients both physically and psychologically (Egan, 2002). Attending well to clients involves being aware of their and our own body language. Hence, reading our own body reactions is an important first step to become an effective counselor.

Importance of Body Language  regulates conversations  communicates emotions  modifies verbal messages  provides important information about the relationship  provides clues about unspoken messages  Body language often gives clues to the depth and meaning of what a person says.

According to Mehrabian (1981), 93% of the effectiveness of communication depends on our body language and tone.
Content 7% Tone 38% Body Language 55%

What would you say are some appropriate non- verbal communication that will be important for helpers? Think of the way we should sit, facial expressions, etc.

Use of SOLER

(Egan, 2002)

Sit squarely (with an) Open posture, Lean forward, (and maintain) Eye contact (in a) Relaxed mode

Why use SOLER? Sit squarely  It usually indicates involvement Open posture  It shows availability, non-defensiveness and openness to clients and what they have to say.  On contrary, crossed arms and legs can be regarded as signs of less involvement with clients

Lean forward  A slight inclination toward clients shows interest and responsiveness in them and in what they say.  Leaning back, or even slouching, can be seen as detached or boring posture. Eye contact  Fairly steady eye contact reflects involvement in conversation  Looking away frequently gives a hint about some kind of reluctance or discomfort to be with clients or to get involved with them.

Relaxed mode
Being relaxed or natural means not fidgeting nervously or engaging in distracting facial expressions. Note:Clients differ both culturally and individually. Hence, these should not be taken as absolute rules to be applied rigidly in all cases, but only serve as guideline.

Use of Silence Silence is a powerful non-verbal tool. It allows clients to think through their thoughts especially in counseling sessions

SILENCES: a. May occur since clients often need time to think b. Are often a positive form of communication c. Should not become excessive without an interviewer response

Questions to ask while using silence  Is client silent because he/she is thinking of an answer
for the question I asked? 
Is client experiencing feelings that require some time to process or sink in?  Is client at a difficult part of his/her story that he/she requires time to find the courage and words to describe it?  Is client waiting for a response from me?  Is client uncomfortable in sharing his/her story?

Non-Verbal Communication: Active Listening: Importance of Listening
What clients look for while talking to counsellor is not just the counsellor¶s ability to repeat their words. They want more than counsellor¶s physical presence, they also want counsellor to be present psychologically, socially and emotionally How is listening helpful? What is the difference between listening and hearing?

Important Effects (Nelson-Jones, 1992)  Establish and maintain rapport as clients feel
Encourage clients to disclose as clients feel accepted, safe and understood  Create a knowledge base as clients collaborate in providing relevant information  Create an influence base as clients perceive counselors as competent, trustworthy and creditable  Help clients assume responsibility as their defensiveness reduces and well-timed confrontations are given

Role-Play Practice Form groups of three, so that you can have one counselor, one client & one observer. Use the Appropriate Non-Verbal Behaviour Checklist to observe each other and provide feedback. Each person should get 5 minutes to practice the non-verbal skills. You can take turns at different roles.

Attending Behaviour
(1045 - 1215)

Eye contact Body Posture Verbal Responses Questioning Skills Two exercises on questioning Skills

Attending Behaviour: Points to Remember
Suggest that you are attending to what is being communicated  Should be natural and culturally appropriate  Is most likely to be modified when a break in discussion occurs or when either party is thinking  Can signal understanding and feedback.

2. BODY POSTURE a. Should be natural, attentive, and relaxed, communicating interest. Gestures should be easy and natural. Facial expression should be appropriate to the material under discussion.

b. c.



a. Should be made in a warm and expressive tone, made at an appropriate pace, and communicate involvement b. Should follow from the client¶s comments c. Should not change the topic or interrupt client d. Should relate to previous aspects of the client¶s story when the topic being discussed is exhausted e. Should be made with regard to both the verbal (content and tone) and the nonverbal (glances, gestures, and other physical reactions) behavior and culture of the client.

Review Questions Say whether each of the following statements is true or false: ‡ Good helpers maintain intent eye-to-eye contact at all times. ‡ It is most important to offer solutions to a client¶s problem as soon as possible in the interview. ‡ A competent helper is comfortable with brief reflective silences. ‡ A relaxed, professional, and respectful posture communicates a helper¶s concern for a client. ‡ When a helper feels temporarily lost during an interview, it is usually a good idea to focus the discussion on something the client has related in the immediate or near past. ‡ A competent helper is more attentive to verbal cues than to non-verbal cues.

Questioning Skills Asking questions is very important to help clients state, describe and share their stories
Question Types. Doc

Questioning Skill Exercise I: Changing Closed questions to open-ended questions
Closed Questions & Open Questions.doc

Effective Questioning: Points to Remember 1. Ask questions that cannot be answered with ³yes,´ ³no,´ or a simple fact. 2. Ask a question that is on topic. 

What questions are frequently fact oriented. How questions are frequently people oriented. Could and can questions provide greatest flexibility for response. Why questions often provoke defensive feelings and are not recommended. 

3. Ask questions to 
Give clients greater opportunity to relate their story.  Gather information and help clients explore and clarify their concerns.  Put clients at ease.  Begin an interview.  Facilitate elaboration of a point.  Elicit specific examples of general situations.

4. Ask closed questions  as infrequently as possible, and 
only when you need information that is missing or important to the progress of the interview.

5. Avoid  Asking too many questions 
Asking probing questions too early in the conversation  Asking too many closed-ended questions without providing the person an opportunity to describe how they feel and what they think  Asking questions without giving ample time to answer. (Questioning Skill Exercise II)

Reflecting Skills
(1245 - 1415)

Reflecting Content Paraphrasing Summarizing Reflecting of Feelings Exercise on Reflection of Feelings

Reflecting Content
1. Paraphrasing skills What is paraphrashing? 
reflection of information and thoughts  repetition of clients¶ key thoughts in your own words  identifying the essence of what client says & attempting to feedback in concise & clear manner

Example Client: ´Within a week I had to organize my house for the inter-house competition, sit for an English test, lead the school team to take part in the Football tournament besides all the other thins I do. And then, I had to take all this scolding from the principal and the coach.µ

Counsellor: ´You had so many things to take care of in a short time and the school authorities are not appreciative of you.µ

How to paraphrase? 
Restate the main ideas contained in a client¶s communication  Don¶t add to or change the meaning of a client¶s statement.  Avoid parroting a client¶s comments.

Why Paraphrase?
a. Indicates that you are attending to and attempting to understand what a client is saying. b. Helps develop a working relationship between you and the client. c. Serves to check your understanding of the client¶s statement. d. Serves as a sounding board for clients to hear what they said and helps the client crystallize his or her thoughts. e. Gives direction to an interview. f. Lets clients feel understood & be prepared to explore deeper into their issues

When to paraphrase? a. When a client is threatened by discussion of feelings. b. To check & clarify your perceptions of what a client is saying. c. To indicate to a client that you understand what has been said, & facilitate further discussion.

2. Summarizing
What is summarizing? 
Clients often tell stories in a random way. Hence, summarizing provides an opportunity to repeat in an organized way to them the main thoughts, behaviour and feelings, which were shared in the conversation  A gentle way to interrupt clients so as to provide for a momentary pause and minimize excessive talking by clients

Why Summarize? 

To provide concise, accurate, & timely overviews of clients¶ narratives and help them reorganize their thoughts. Helps client review what has been said. Stimulates a thorough exploration of themes that are important to the client. Provides organization of an interview. Helps break the monotony of the conversation, especially if clients are long-winded and absorbed with their problems 


How to summarize? a. Systematically integrate the important ideas contained in a client¶s story and restate them. When to summarize? a. When a client¶s comments are lengthy, rambling, or confused. b. When a client presents a number of unrelated ideas. c. To add direction and coherence to an interview. d. To move from one phase of an interview to the next. e. To conclude an interview f. To provide an introduction to an interview by reviewing the previous interview.

REVIEW Indicate whether each of the following statements is true or false. 1. When reflecting content, it¶s important to repeat accurately everything a client has said. 2. Effective reflections of content confirm for the client that his or her message has been understood. 3. Frequent use of reflection of content may cause a parrot like effect and inhibit a client¶s communication. 4. When clients are threatened by discussion of their feelings, the interviewer can use reflections of content.

5. In framing a reflection of content, an interviewer should concentrate on a client¶s most recent remarks because these are usually most important. 6. Summarization is appropriate when a client¶s comments have been confusing, lengthy, or rambling. 7. When summarizing, an interviewer must include all the topics discussed by a client. 8. Summarizing is inappropriate at the conclusion of an interview. 9. Reflection of content should be concise and should capture the essence of a client¶s comments. 10. Summarization may be used to give direction to an interview.

Reflection of Feelings
Why? ‡ Helps clients become aware of their feelings ‡ Helps clients accept and explore their feelings ‡ Helps you show that you understand what the client is experiencing ‡ Helps build a strong relationship with the client How? When identifying feelings ‡ Attend to the affective component of what the client is saying ‡ Attend to client¶s behaviour (posture, voice tone, rate of delivery, and other mannerisms)

When reflecting feelings ‡ Use appropriate introductory phrases followed by a clear and concise summary of the feelings the client seems to be experiencing ‡ Do not repeat the clients exact words or use the same introductory phrases all the time ‡ Reflect all types of emotions (negative, positive or mixed)

Some useful introductory phrases: It seems that you feel«« You believe««« It sounds like «««. In other words ««. You feel««««« I gather that ««««« As I get it, you feel that« Kind of makes you feel««««..

Some useful Phrases ±ContdIf I¶m hearing you correctly, ««« You mean«««. Perhaps you¶re feeling«««.. May be you feel««.. You appear to be feeling««. (Note: Make sure you don¶t turn them into habitual phrases) Exercise on Reflection of Feelings
E:\Exercise on reflection of feeling1.doc

The Counselling Process
(1430 - 1600)

The Counselling Process

If someone sought your help to resolve a personal problem, how would you go about it? What would be some of the pre-requisites/ necessary conditions that will be required in order to be able to provide this kind of help?

Phases of Counselling Process
1. Relationship-Building 2. Assessing the problem 3. Goal setting 4. Initiating Interventions 5. Termination and follow-up

1. Relationship-Building Establish rapport by demonstrating respect, trust, & providing for the client¶s comfort  greet the client by name  attend to the client's emotional state (empathy)  invite the client to talk about the reason(s)for counseling  use active listening / attending behaviours Structure the parameters of the relationship: 

telling the client how long the interview will last what your role as counsellor will be what role you want the client to play indicate the limits of confidentiality

2.Assessing the problem
Understand the reasons for seeking counselling Client's personal/social-emotional issues may be seen as: 
Needs - something is missing in the client's life & its absence is disturbing the natural flow of life  stress - unpleasant things are causing distress & distraction  misinterpretations - the way the client is thinking about his/her life is limiting alternatives  maladaptive interpersonal patterns

Assessment skills include: 
observing both nonverbal & verbal behaviours  clarifying by using open & closed questions  recording information  associating facts & events - forming hunches

3. Goal setting 
Help clients understand what behaviours they presently lack & what behaviors they need to solve the problem  Helps to evaluate the outcomes of counseling  Goals must be set collaboratively to solve the problem  Goals may be altered when they are inappropriate in the light of new information

Goal setting skills include: 
differentiating between ultimate, intermediate & immediate goals  teaching clients how to think realistically in intermediate & immediate terms  setting specific, measurable, attainable, realistic goals to be achieved within a reasonable time period (SMART).

4. Initiating Interventions 
Interventions should relate to three dimensions of human behaviour: Affective, behavioural & cognitive.  The interventions need to be suited or adapted to the client's situation.  Not all the interventions will work with every client.

Skills needed: 
competency in using specific interventions  knowledge of appropriate uses of interventions  knowledge of typical client responses to that type of intervention  observational skills related to the client's response to the intervention

5. Termination and follow-up 

Begins when counselling goals begin to be met 

Initiate a follow-up interview within two or three weeks after the termination.

Role play: Try to follow the phases we have just discussed

Egan, G.(2002). The skilled helper: A problem-management approach to helping (7th ed.). Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole Publishing. Evans, D.R., Hearn, M.T., Uhlemann, M.& Ivey, A. (2004). Essential Interviewing: A Programmed Approach to Effective Communication (6th ed.). Belmont, CA:Thomson, Brooks/Cole. Kottler, J.A., & Kottler, E., (1993). Teachers as Counselor: Developing the helping Skills You Need, California, Corwin Press,Inc.

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