The pattern of sessions has a predictable rhythm with an introduction, information gathering, discussion and a conclusion.
Active listening happens when you “listen for meaning”. The listener says very little but conveys much interest. The listener only speaks to find out if a statement (or two or twenty) has been correctly heard and understood.
Body language takes into account our facial expressions, angle of our body, proximity of ourself to another, placement of arms and legs, and so much more. Notice how much can be expressed by raising and lowering your eyebrows!
You need to monitor the tone of your voice – in the same way that you monitor your body language. Remember, the person may not remember what was said, but they will remember how you made them feel!
An open question is one that is used in order to gathering lots of information – you ask it with the intent of getting a long answer.
A closed question is one used to gather specific information – it can normally be answered with either a single word or a short phrase. Good counseling techniques to know!
Paraphrasing is when you restate what the speaker said. Often different words are used and the listener may be using this to draw attention to a particular concern or aspect. Sometimes paraphrasing is used to clarify.
Summarizing is focusing on the main points of a presentation or conversation in order to highlight them. At the same time you are giving the “gist”, you are checking to see if you are accurate.
Notetaking is the practice of writing down pieces of information, often in an shorthand and messy manner. The listener needs to be discreet and not disturb the flow of thought, speech or body language of the speaker.
Homework? Absolutely! When the person identifies a need or concern, she or he must be willing to work hard at addressing it. This is much like what you are doing right now. You want to learn counseling techniques, so you are going to study and practice these basic skills!
The Goodie Bag and Other Fun and Informative Stuff help make a counseling session an occasion for joy, as well as for additional learning.