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Nine Essential Basic Client Centered Counseling Skills

(Handout)
1. Attending: Verbal and nonverbal responses, often minimal, that communicate genuine interest, empathy, caring and respect to a client. Some examples of attending behaviors are: o hand gestures, o nodding, o saying, yes, or, uh, huh, or go on o maintaining eye contact, o leaning forward 2. Open-Ended Questioning: Often questions that begin with How, Who, What, When, Where, and Why encourage the client to provide more useful information than closed questions do. Open questions can help a client get started, find direction, and/or explore a concern further. Closed questions can typically be answered with a yes, or no. Closed questions are useful when the counselor is summarizing and believes the client is ready to move on to another phase or topic. 3. Paraphrasing: Stating back to the client the content of what a client has said, using fewer words, to selectively summarize in a way that will focus and move the next interaction, demonstrate and clarify the counselors understanding of the clients meaning. So, let me see if I understand, what you are saying is ? Translate the content into your own word 4. Reflecting Feelings: Stating clearly what you perceive to be the clients feelings, to encourage further emotional expression and demonstrate the counselor understands . If you are wrong the client can clarify and that may help the client clarify further as well. You are angry about o Recall and restate clients message o Identify affective component o Translate affect into words Captures a clients emotional tone and communicates a sense of empathy Use of Reflection: o Encourages expression of feelings o Intensifies feelings and increases awareness o Increases awareness of ignored feelings o Encourages client to focus on affect/feeling 5. Giving Information Simply: Answering questions or correcting incorrect information using language that is understandable by the client, with a minimum of detail. Note: Because counselors, too, can be uncomfortable in the presence of feelings, they will

sometimes overwhelm clients with more information than the client can possibly absorb, integrate or need. 6. Reframing: Reframing is the restating a clients negative presentation of her/his perception and adding a more positive way to view the same situation. This must be authentic and genuine to be effective. You seem to feel anxious talking about the reasons youre here, yet your coming in today is a positive step toward talking good care of yourself. 7. Supportive Confrontation: Offering the client a verbal summary of what the counselor has heard as an inconsistency between two or more things a client has said. You have told me that you absolutely do not want to cause a pregnancy and your partner will not use birth control. You also said you intend to continue having intercourse and will not use a condom. Help me understand how a pregnancy will be prevented. Maintaining a neutral and non-judgmental tone of voice is essential 8. Minimal Self-Disclosure: In the context of the very brief interactions that counselors have with clients in family planning and reproductive health settings, self disclosure should be limited to simple revelation of current, caring emotional response to the client Self-disclosure that involves sharing details of a counselors personal experience is frequently inappropriate and counterproductive to short term work. 9. Summarizing and Closing: Summarizing the work of the session recognizes the clients efforts and the courage to share and gives you both a chance to say what you have accomplished in the session, and what the client wants to do as a result. It gives you the chance to acknowledge that further work is within the clients reach. In closing, you want to identify the major points that have been discussed and tie them together. Formulate a concise statement of the clients issues and decisions, including content feelings and the connections between them Check that the client owns the summary Signs of ineffective summarization, closure: Client says you have missed the main or major point(s) Client leave without acknowledging an understanding