Counseling Skills

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The Top Ten Basic Counseling Skills

Kevin J. Drab, M.Ed., M.A., LPC, CAC Diplomate

Research is increasingly finding that the type of therapy used is not as important to outcomes as are specific counselor behaviors such as (1) Enthusiasm, (2) Confidence, (3) Belief in the client’s ability to change.

Although there is nothing which will ensure change, it would appear that clients are more likely to achieve their goals when a good and positive relationship exists between them and their therapist. In essence the counselor’s interactions with the client are a powerful tool in the helping relationship.

1. Listening

1. a. Attending - orienting oneself physically to the client (client) to indicate one is aware of the client, and, in fact, that the client has your full, undivided attention and that you care. Methods include eye contact; nods; not moving around, being distracted, eye contact, encouraging verbalizations; mirroring body postures and language; leaning forward, etc. Researchers estimate that about 80 percent of communication takes place non-verbally. 2. 3. b. Listening/observing - capturing and understanding the verbal and nonverbal information communicated by that client.

Two primary sources of information:

1. • CONTENT - what is specifically said. Listen carefully for, not only what a person says, but also the words, expressions and patterns the person is using, which may give you a deeper insight. Counselors should develop their ability to remember what was said, as well as to clarify what was said or finding out what was not said. 2. • PROCESS - all nonverbal phenomena, including how content is conveyed, themes, body language, interactions, etc. Smiling

2. Empathy

The ability to perceive another's experience and then to communicate that perception back to the individual to clarify and amplify their…...

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