Listening Skills In Counselling

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Listening is an art, a skill, and a discipline that is considered to be an integral aspect in the success of the therapeutic alliance. Listening is not a passive technique, it is an active process in which the therapist listens to what is said, and how it is said, as well as listening to the whole person and the context of their social setting. Aspects of listening encompass linguistic, paralinguistic, and non-verbal aspects in order to tune in both mentally and visibly. Egan (2014) explains full listening as listening actively, listening accurately, and listening for meaning. According to Egan (2014) listening does not just occur; it requires effort on the part of the counsellor in order to avoid engaging in inadequate listening. The counsellor…show more content…
Listening to the client is vital (Egan, 2014). This involves giving your full concentration to the individual regarding their thoughts, emotions, concerns, hesitations, available resources, their expectations regarding method of treatment, view of the counselling process, and reaction to the therapist. It is necessary to avoid being overwhelmed by information by concentrating on key messages and feelings of the client. Listening to the client involves considering the context including certain nonverbal messages conveyed. According to Cook, ‘listening in its deepest sense, means listening to clients themselves as influenced by the contexts in which they live, move and have their being” (Cook, 2012, as cited in Egan 2014 p.). By listening to the flow of the dialogue between client and counsellor, the counsellor is able to make necessary adjustments in response to the needs of the client. By listening to the decisions made the counsellor is able to identify whether clients have made carefully reasoned decisions and also if they understand the consequences. Decision making can be complex and ambiguous; however counsellors need to use their skills and experience to guide the decision making process (Egan, 2014). Client’s perceptions and handle on reality may be distorted and in order to be able to identify any gaps or distortions, a holistic approach to listening is…show more content…
To gain an understanding of a client’s thought patterns cohesively, one can use narrative therapy. Narrative therapy is known as re-authoring or re-storying of conversations (Morgan, 2000). It is a method that centres on people as experts of their own lives. A narrative approach thus views problems as separate from people. It is assumed that the person has many beliefs, values, commitments, skills, abilities and competencies which will help them to change their relationship with the problems that are influencing their lives. The person is encouraged to rely on their skill set to minimise the problems that exist in their everyday lives. Since clients are interpretive beings, they tend to attach different meanings to daily experiences or events. The stories about a person’s life are connected through these events along a time period in a particular sequence (Morgan, 2000). A client may find it challenging to explain or make sense of an order to the varied meanings or experiences. Narrative therapy may serve to act as a tool for the client to include untold aspects of their life into their narrative as they emotionally enter and re-author their own stories or construct meanings from old
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