Counseling Skills

Counseling Skills
• Letting the client know you are with them and
– “In some sense [attending and listening] means that you lay aside your
self; this can only be done by persons who are secure enough in
themselves that they know they will not get lost in what may turn out
to be the strange and bizarre world of the other, and that they can
comfortably return to their own world when they wish.”
• Carl Rogers
Attending Skills:
–Squarely face the client
–Open posture
–Lean in on occasion
–Eye contact
–Relaxed and natural behavior
Non-Verbal Cues
• Validates or invalidates verbal communication
– Bodily behavior
– Facial expressions
– Voice related behavior
– Observable physiological responses
– Physical appearance
Active Listening
Listen where your clients are in their lives
Use to detect gaps, distortions, dissonance and themes
Listen to allow empathy
Listen with appropriate interruption
– Listening with your questions
• Listen to oneself
• Listen without diagnosing
“It means entering the private perceptual world of the other and becoming
thoroughly at home in it. It involves being sensitive, moment by moment,
to the changing felt meanings which flow in this other person, to the fear
or rage or tenderness or confusion or whatever that he or she is
experiencing. It means temporarily living in the other’s life, moving about
in it delicately without making judgments.” (Rogers)
“It’s not what I would feel as me in your shoes, but what I would feel as you in
your shoes”
• Convey genuine warmth and caring
• Affirm client strengths in the midst of
• Come alongside
Empathic Response
• Give yourself time to think before responding
• Use short responses, don’t over elaborate
• Don’t mimic, remain yourself but allow yourself to feel what
they might be feeling
• Don’ts
No response
A question
A cliché’ (pat answer)
An interpretation (diagnosis)
Sympathy (agreement)
Probing and Encouraging
• Don’t ask too many questions
• Ask questions that serve a purpose
• Ask open ended questions that help clients talk about specific
experiences, behaviors, feelings
• Keep the focus on the client
• Ask questions that help clients move forward in the process
• Don’t hesitate to check in with patient about how they are
handling the process.
Self Disclosure
When do I use self disclosure?
How much is too much?
Why does the client want to know?
How might it benefit the client?
How do you feel about giving the information?
Why do you feel you should or should not give the
Dealing with Resistance
• Address when recognized
• Put responsibility on client
The Stages of Change
Taken from Changing for Good by James Prochaska, John Norcross, & Carlo Diclemente