Published on May 9, 2013
Communicating EffectivelyCommunicating EffectivelyDr D. S. SatputeProf Sandeep Sinha
Counselling is all about effective oral communication.As a counselor you will need to follow a three stepprocess which will be used extensively in the counselingprocess.These three steps are: Questioning Listening Responding
QuestioningQuestioningUsing Open QuestionsThe way in which you pose the questions will influence theway they are answered. Since your objective is to get theclient to talk, your questions should be framed to encouragethis. The simplest method is to ask questions beginning withwords such as WhenWhereWhatHowWhy They are usually referred to as open questions.
Questions that can be answered with a simple yes orno are known as closed questions. Below are a number of closed questions. Re-write eachone as an open question, designed to produce moredetailed information. Did the interview go well?………… Do you enjoy the job you are doing?…………….. Are you getting on OK with your work colleagues? Do you have a good social life?…………………….. Do you find the work difficult?……………….
Using Different Types of QuestionYou can use different types of questions to guideyour client towards providing specific informationElaboration questionsSpecific questionsFeelings questionsBehavioral questionsOpinion questions
Asking for Elaboration These give the client the opportunity to talk freely andcan provide the counselor with valuable clues. It is agood method of opening the interview. e.g. Tell me about ……..Describe ……….
Asking Specific questions These ask the client to provide specific information,often about points raised during the answer to theelaboration. e.g. When did this happen?How long ago was that?
Asking about Feelings These investigate how the client felt at certain times orafter particular events. e.g. How did you feel when…..?What did you feel about….?
Asking what the client did These discover how the client reacted to specificevents. The way in which a person behaved in the pastis a guide to how they will react in future to similarhappenings. e.g. What did you do when….?And after that?
Asking the client’s opinion Most people like to asked and to give their opinions.Apart from revealing the client’s views, it can also beuseful in moving the interview along should the clientbe hesitant in answering other questions, as it should beseen as non – threatening. e.g What do you think about….?What are your views on….?
Questions to AvoidQuestions to AvoidAs a counselor you should avoid asking the following types ofquestionsLeading questionse.g “You should agree with me that…. Wouldn’t you?” This willbe seen by the client as coercive. The client is likely to becomedefensive. Multi – Choice questionse.g “Would you prefer to do… or… ?” Faced with such aquestion, the client may feel backed into a corner and becometense. Multiple questionsThis means asking several questions together without waiting foran answer. The client will generally answer the easiest questiononly.
Active ListeningActive listening is a phrase coined by Carl Rogers. Itmeans demonstrating to the speaker that you arelistening to what is being said. This skill is veryimportant to any counselor and must be practiced as itdoes not always come naturally.The following techniques will help you acquire this skill.
Maintaining Eye ContactLooking at the speaker will show them that you arelistening. This does not mean staring at them straight inthe eye, as they may find that threatening. Continuation BehaviorThis is achieved by nodding your head and usingencouraging noises such as “Uh – Huh”. Such behaviorwill help the speaker to continue to talk with theknowledge that you are listening to them.
Tolerating PausesWhen the speaker pauses, do not be tempted to jumpin with a question or comment. Give the client time togather their thoughts and continue. Reflecting FactsRepeat the last word or phrase of the speaker, to showthat you are following them.
Reflecting FeelingsIt is very important to judge the emotion behind whatthe speaker says and reflect it back. e.g. “You feelunhappy about that.” It is important to identify the rightemotion, otherwise the speaker may feel cheated andthat you have not listened properly. SummarisingThis means repeating a condensed version of what hasbeen said.
Using Body LanguageYou have to ensure that you are using the appropriatebody language Remaining NeutralYou should refrain from showing emotion either atwhat is being said or about the person. You may notlike the other person’s appearance, attitude or behaviorbut a good listener will not let this affect their activelistening skills.
The Client’s PostureThe Client’s PostureList of postures and their possible meaning Clenched hands, leaning forward slightly – apprehensive,worried Fingering the collar – May not be telling the truth Stroking the chin – considering what has been said Pulling earlobe – the person wants to speak Scratching neck – doubt or uncertainty Hand over mouth – may be telling lies Rubbing nose – negative thoughts Chin or palm with fingers in or near mouth – seekingreassurance Tapping fingers – irritated Tapping feet – had enough and wants to leave.
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