Psychological communication: Theories, roles and skills for counsellors by van der Molen, Lang, Trower, & Look (second edition) – Chapter 6 summary

Listening skills are used to give the client an opportunity and encouragement to tell their story. Non-selective listening skills refer to skills that exert little influence and are intended to encourage and stimulate the client. The are several non-selective listening skills:

  • Non-verbal behaviour
    This includes the following skills:
    • Facial expression
      This should be tailored to the individual (e.g. occasional smiling; frowning)
    • Eye contact
      The clinician should look at, or in the direction of the client most of the times but should not stare or avoid eye contact.
    • Body language
      This communicates the tenseness of the situation.
    • Encouraging gestures
      This includes nodding and using supportive hand gestures.
  • Verbal following silences
    This includes the following skills:

    • Verbal following
      This includes ensuring that one’s comments line up as closely as possible with what the client says and does not introduce new topics (e.g. minimal encouragement). It gives the client the opportunity to explore and elaborate on their own line of thought.
    • Use of silences
      This gives the client the opportunity to consider what they have just said.

Selective skills refer to skills that are used to select a certain aspect of the client’s story which is deemed important. This can be done by going into the content, feeling of giving extra attention to a certain subject. There are several selective listening skills:

  • Open questions
    This gives the client a lot of freedom in their answers.
  • Closed questions
    This does not give the client a lot of freedom and often stem from the clinician’s frame of reference. It has three disadvantages:

    • It restricts the client in their range of possible responses.
    • The questions are often suggestive.
    • It may steer the conversation to a question-answer format.
  • Why-questions
    This is a form of open question that can give the idea of the need to justify oneself.
  • Paraphrasing
    This refers to briefly reproducing in one’s own words the gist of what the client said and refers to the informational content of the client. It should be done in a tentative voice and reflect genuine interest, acceptance and understanding. It has three goals:

    • It shows the clinician
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Summaries & Study Note of JesperN
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“Clinical Skills: Developmental Psychology – Course summary (UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM)"

This bundle contains everything you need to know for the course "Clinical Skills: Developmental Psychology" given at the University of Amsterdam. It contains all the lectures and the following chapters of the books:

Clinical assessment

...