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Basic Counseling Skills


Basic Counseling Skills MCFC/MHC/CC Residency 1 Learning Objectives From this presentation, you will be given information to: Apply basic of counseling skills ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Basic Counseling Skills

Basic Counseling Skills
  • MCFC/MHC/CC Residency 1

Learning Objectives
  • From this presentation, you will be given
    information to
  • Apply basic of counseling skills
  • Articulate why counseling skills are important
  • Explain the importance of rapport building
  • Define and discuss SOLER skills
  • Discuss appropriate use of verbal and nonverbal
    communication skills.

Setting the Stage
  • Although your ultimate approach to helping will
    be influenced by what the client needs, what the
    client will respond to best, and what stage you
    are in, ultimately you need to create an
    environment that promotes feelings of safety,
    respect, and understanding.
  • The bulk of this relationship building occurs in
    the beginning stage of counseling and there are
    skills that are more effective for use during
    this time.

The PERSON of the counselor
  • Voice have a soothing, comforting tone
  • Eye contact - be natural with eye contact, be as
    animated as possible with your facial expression
    (but be careful showing shock..)
  • Language - keep in mind education level,
    experiences of those with whom you are working
    but be genuine in your own vocabulary
  • Demonstration of confidence in process and

The Counseling Setting
  • Also consider your office
  • Arrangement of furniture - no big objects b/w you
    and client,
  • Credentials hang degree, licenses,
    certifications, registrations on wall
  • Your comfort level

Understanding the CONTEXT of the client
  • Remember first to understand the client in his or
    her context
  • Consider
  • The person of the client
  • How the client acts in session will elicit
    responses form you (if client is withdrawn, you
    may use skills that help bring him/her out if
    client gregarious, you may use skills to cut-off)
  • Sensitivity to diversity

The Client-Counselor Relationship
  • How the relationship itself assists you as a
  • Diagnostic aid
  • How the client acts in session is a clue to how
    he/she acts outside of sessionpatterns of
  • Interpersonal engagement
  • This allows you to have influence over the client
    be careful of this as you carry power in your
  • social modeling,
  • directives and challenges
  • your reactions to their material
  • how you deal with immediacy issues, etc..
  • Unfinished business
  • Transference and countertransference reactions
    can be grist for the mill
  • You can use the relationship to help heal from
    past (think Rogers and Gloria)

The Client-Counselor Relationship
  • Personal support system
  • Research suggests the number one factor in
    clients improvement is support system (its best
    if this is both outside and inside the therapy)
  • Counselors should support clients, be a
    cheerleader for them
  • Support communicates
  • someone is here for you
  • you can count on someone
  • I might not approve of what you are doing, but I
    approve of you
  • there is a person in your life who is reliable
    and dependable
  • you will not be taken advantage of
  • my job is to help you get what you want

The Client-Counselor Relationship
  • Authentic engagement
  • You will like some clients and dislike others,
    but you must be genuine and can use this as
  • If you have have strong reactions to liking or
    disliking a client it is imperative that you
    discuss this in supervision/ consultation.

Basic Attending Skills
  • Purpose
  • To help client tell story
  • Draw out appropriate background and contextual
  • Communicate understanding
  • Facilitate deeper level of exploration make
  • Demonstrate empathy
  • Provide emotional support to the client

Skill Minimal Encourages
  • Prompts
  • Verbal (uh huh, go on, yes, hmmm,)
  • Nonverbal (bodily mvmts, gestures, nods)

Skill Probes
  • Probes should be used to help keep clients
    engaged in dialogue and provide client with
    enough structure to achieve concreteness and
    clarity while providing an opportunity to get
    necessary details of story.
  • Probes can also help clients get a balanced view
    of problem situations and opportunities.
  • Probes help clients get deeper into issues, move
    forward, and help in exploration of issues.
  • Probes can also challenge clients.

Skill Probes
  • Statements
  • Tell me. I wonder. Its still not clear to
    me Im not sure I understand..
  • Phrases that are actually questions or requests
  • Share with me what you are thinking
  • Restating key words with question tone of voice
  • Example
  • Cl I am tired of it all.
  • Co Tired?

Skill Questions
  • When to ask questions
  • Initially. Where would you like to begin today?
  • When you need specific information
  • For clarification (but you could always do a
  • To get things back on track. Earlier you said
    what is.
  • To bring it in the here and now
  • When you want to make a point or a connection.
    What were you thinking just now when you heard
    me say that?
  • When you want to define goals.
  • When you want to motivate the client into action.

Skill Questions
  • Problems with Questions
  • Bombarding client
  • Too many questions in a row (particular text
    reads then you have just asked 2 stupid
  • Using questions effectively
  • If you can make it a statement its better!
  • Tell me.
  • Explain that
  • I wonder.
  • Talk more about that.
  • Good idea to mix probes, statements, reflections

Skill Questions
  • Good and Bad questions
  • Avoid why. Why?
  • It sounds judgmental (think of when you got into
    trouble as a kid)
  • B/c clients dont know why. (Think of when you
    had to give a reason why you got into trouble)
  • Why questions can be restated, sound less
    accusatory and elicit the same information.
    Instead of why did you do that? you may
    consider Can you tell me how you made that
    decision? How did that work for you?

Skill Questions
  • Good and Bad Questions
  • Open and Closed
  • Open questions
  • help elaborate and enrich the client story
  • help bring out the concrete specifics of the
    clients world
  • what would an example be?
  • Closed gives basically a yes/no response
  • Fluff
  • If you are trying to fill space, its probably
    not a useful question
  • If you can reflect or use another skill, its
    always better

Skill Clarifying and Summarizing
  • This is not restating or parroting, but
    summarizing. This shows the client you are paying
  • What is important?
  • Listen to what your heard
  • Ask yourself what is underlying message?
  • Minisummarization
  • A sentence stem I hear you say or In your
    point of view or Looks like
  • Use key words of clients
  • Stay true to clients ideas.. they will correct
    if you are wrong (and thats okay!)

Skill Clarifying and Summarizing
  • Summarize themes of long dialogue
  • Summarize at beginning of new session
  • Summarize at end of session
  • Clarify/Summarize when situation seems to not be
    going anywhere or client is rambling
  • Clarify/Summarize when client gets stuck or when
    clients needs new perspective

Skill Nonverbals
  • Both client and counselor nonverbals can
    communicate volumes.
  • Client nonverbals can give context to the
    information the client is sharing, can support or
    discredit the validity of what the client is
    expressing, and can serve to provide additional
    understanding to words the client is using.
  • Counselor nonverbals also give clients clues
    about counselor confidence, degree to which
    counselor is listening to them, relationship

Skill Nonverbals
  • Nonverbal information can be gained through
    observation of
  • Facial expressions
  • Eye Contact (consider cultural differences)
  • Appearance (clothing, grooming)
  • Gestures/Body movements (i.e., fidgety)
  • Spatial behavior (how did client position
  • Posture

Skill Non-Verbal Attending
  • What information can be gathered from nonverbals?
  • Assessment of general mood
  • Clues to inner states
  • Mental status
  • Verbal and nonverbal congruency
  • Signals of distress
  • Unconscious reactions

Skill Nonverbals
  • List/ discuss nonverbal behaviors associated with
    these feelings
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Happiness
  • Sadness

Skill Counselor Nonverbals
  • So, what nonverbal behaviors indicate interest
    and caring?
  • SOLER (sit squarely, open posture, lean in, eye
    contact, and relax)
  • Also, your facial expression will show
    appropriate response
  • Minimal encouragers head nods, uh huhs

  • Large Group Activity
  • Play Telephone Game
  • One person taps the next person on the shoulder
    and tells a 1-2 sentence story. That person will
    then tap the next person on the shoulder and
    share the same story. The story can only be told
    once per person. The last person to hear the
    story tells it to the group.

  • Did the ending message remain the same as the
    beginning message?
  • WHY?
  • No context
  • No non-verbal
  • No confirmation

  • Now, play the game with these instructions
  • One person chooses a feeling, everyone closes
    eyes and starter taps person to right who then
    opens eyes and starter conveys emotion through
    facial expression goes round the room last
    person verbally identifies feeling

Activity - HOMEWORK
  • Watch one television interview and reflect on it
    to identify nonverbals you can pick up on for
    both interviewer and interviewee. For our
    purposes watch a television show (Dr. Phil, CSI,
    Law Order, or any show that includes interviews
    and watch for the facilitators of communications.)

  • Egan, G. (2010). The skilled helper A problem
    management and opportunity development approach
    to helping (9th ed.). Belmont, CA Brooks/Cole
    (Cengage Learning). ISBN 978-0-495-60189-0 or
    0-495-60189-6 hard.
  • Egan, G. (2010). Exercises in helping skills
    A manual to accompany the skilled helper (9th
    ed.). Belmont, CA Brooks/Cole (Cengage
    Learning). ISBN 978-0-495-80632-5 or
    0-495-80632-3 soft.