MONDAY MAY 16, 2022
BASIC COUNSELLING SKILLS: ATTENDING SKILLS
Scripture Reference: Genesis 18:1-17.
This week we focus on the essential counselling skills one has to acquire in order to practice person centred counselling. They can be useful in becoming a counsellor formally as well as becoming a better human being informally. We start with Attending skills. It refers to how counsellors attend to clients. It is the first counselling skill a trainee counsellor learns. It means being attentive and giving your client your full focus; paying attention. It is the base on which other skills can be built on and used.
From today’s readings, Abraham demonstrated some essential skills that resulted in receiving some first-hand information from his visitors which enabled him to start his intercession for Lot, his family and the people of Sodom. The way Abraham received them, made them feel at home and engaged them could be called the skill of attending.
There are several key elements in attending. Firstly, Eye Contact: Looking directly at someone demonstrates they have your full attention and you are listening to them. Be thoughtful not to stare intently, as this can make a person feel uncomfortable.
Just be your natural self. Be mindful that in some cultures eye contacts can be seen as disrespectful. Secondly, Body language: Be considerate of your posture. Being relaxed is a great way to invite someone to talk about themselves. Leaning slightly forward in the chair shows that you are giving your full attention and actively listening.
Also, Gestures: You communicate so much in your body movements. For example, sitting with your arms and legs crossed, hunched up, can give the impression that you have put a barrier up and are not or interested. Waving your arms about can also be distracting. Additionally, Facial Expressions: A good listener will be thoughtful of their facial expressions. Frowning or raising eyebrows can transmit revulsion or judgment which may shut the client down, while smiling at appropriate times demonstrates human warmth which helps build trust and develops rapport.
Lastly, How you speak: Attending is not all about listening; sometimes you may need to ask clarifying questions or paraphrase back what the client has said. When you respond, be thoughtful and precise in the words you use. Good attending will show the client that they are respected and it encourages them to talk about their thoughts and feelings. Through effective attending, the counsellor is able to illicit sensitive information from the client so as to administer care.
Prayer Guide: Lord Jesus, please help me to become a good counsellor and a better human being for others.
MEMORY VERSE OF THIS WEEK:
Proverbs 11: 14 (NKJV) – “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”