Improving Your Digging Skills 1. Leading: Here the counsellor gently directs the conversation in directions that will give use- ful information. Use brief questions, “What happened next?” or “Tell me what you mean by . . .?” Especially when people run into a block, leading can help them proceed. 2. Reflecting: This is a way of letting counselees know that you are with them and understand what they feel or think. Do not reflect after every statement; do it periodically. Use statements such as, “You must feel . . .?” or “That must have been frustrating.” A brief summary of what has been said helps to reflect and stimulate more explora - tion. Dr. Keith Olson mentions three types of responses that the counsellor should reflect on: Ș First, the counselees verbal content as a way to check out and facilitate the counsellor’s understanding. Ș Second, the counselees feelings and emotions that are nonverbally expressed to help them recognize, accept and understand repressed thoughts. Ș Third, the interaction occurring between the counselee and the counsellor or another person who is involved. For example, when a counselee is reluc- tant to open up with the counsellor can be expressed to the counselee and a blockage removed. 3. Questioning: The best questions are those that require a sentence or two to answer. There are a number of different types of questions that can be used in the counselling process: Ș Ask open-ended questions - questions which cannot be answered with a “Yes” or “No”. For example ask, “What are some of the ways in which your parents have influenced you?” rather than, “Do you feel your parents are part of your problem?” Ș Avoid either/or questions - these are questions that present two alternatives.
Contact us at: [email protected] 31 Counselling The person responds with their preference and the discussion stops. Ș Ask indirect questions - these are questions that inquire without seeming to do so. For example, “I wonder how it feels to have one’s relationship break up,” is better than, “How does it feel to have your relationship break up?” Ș Avoid a series of questions - it is better to ask one question at a time rather than stringing a few together, as this tends to be rather daunting. Ș Ask “why?” sparingly - “why” questions sound judgmental and keep counsel- ees from exploring their feelings. Ș Ask both subject-changing questions (to nudge the conversation to specific concerns) and subject-probing questions (to discover background, feelings, attitudes, interests and needs). 4. Filtering: While counsellors should not disbelieve everything they are told, they do need to mentally sort through the counselee’s words. The following unspoken questions should pass through the counsellor’s mind, “What is this person really asking?” “What does he/she expect from me?” “Are there problems other than the ones he/ she is presenting?” One aspect of filtering involves distinguishing between cause and symptoms .
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