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DEM 406 Professor: Dr.

Barriers of
1. Physical
2. Perceptual
3. Emotional
4. Cultural
5. Language
6. Gender
7. Interpersonal

10/3/2013 1:41:04 AM 3
• Some individuals seem to be highly
effective helpers and communicators
without any training at all. Perhaps
the only requirement for the
successful counsellor is to be fully
integrated and to be able to relate
empathically to the other person.
Concepts such as ‘empathy’ and
‘fully integrated’ are difficult to
define and yet it does seem that
some people can be highly effective
helpers and communicators without 4
any training at all
Rogers stresses three core conditions that are necessary for effective helping. In a recent
outline of these conditions (Rogers, 1983) they are described as:

1 Realness or genuineness, where the

helper presents herself as a real 2 Prizing, acceptance,
person, without any front or façade. trust. This involves caring
She is in contact with her feelings and for the other person and
is able to communicate them when it accepting them in their
is appropriate. This gives the teacher own right. Acceptance 3 Empathic understanding, which
permission to express a range of applies to both the positive involves being able to appreciate what
emotions: anger, disappointment, joy, and negative aspects of life is like for the other person; to be
excitement, boredom, as they occur. the other person’s able figuratively to stand in their
Many teachers present themselves behaviour. This is a difficult shoes.
according to their notion of a quality to maintain in the
stereotypical teacher and it is not face of insolence,
difficult for students to see through antisocial behaviour or
this phony image. Perhaps their inner apathy.
feelings leak out in non-verbal
The process of attending to another person is often interrupted by
your own thoughts, needs, problems and feelings.

Sit, with a pencil in your hand and try to concentrate on

nothing but the feel of the breath passing through the
nostrils, and make a mark each time you are aware of
your mind wandering. It may be a salutary experience.
Going into uptime when you are with another person,
this involved just taking in the other person as a
sensory experience, without indulging in any thinking.
An impossible ideal, but a delightful image to use when
you are relating to another person.
It would appear that the conversations going on inside
your own head can have a negative effect on attempts
The power of to communicate with students, staff and parents.
Effective attending puts counsellors in a position to
listen carefully to what their students are saying or not
The acronym SOLER can be used to help you to show your inner attitudes
and values of respect and genuineness towards a client (Egan.)
S: Squarely face your client. Adopt a bodily posture that indicates
involvement with your client. (A more angled position may be preferable for
some clients - as long as you pay attention to the client.) A desk between you
and your client may, for instance, create a psychological barrier between
O: Open posture. Ask yourself to what degree your posture communicates
openness and availability to the client. Crossed legs and crossed arms may
be interpreted as diminished involvement with the client or even
unavailability or remoteness, while an open posture can be a sign that you
are open to the client and to what he or she has to say.
L: Lean toward the client (when appropriate) to show your involvement and
interest. To lean back from your client may convey the opposite message.
E: Eye contact with a client conveys the message that you are interested in
what the client has to say. If you catch yourself looking away frequently, ask
yourself why you are reluctant to get involved with this person or why you feel
so uncomfortable in his or her presence. Be aware of the fact that direct eye
contact is not regarded as acceptable in all cultures.
R: Try to be relaxed or natural with the client. Don't fidget nervously or
engage in distracting facial expressions. The client may begin to wonder
what it is in himself or herself that makes you so nervous! Being relaxed
means that you are comfortable with using your body as a vehicle of
personal contact and expression and for putting the client at ease.
Sometimes the person you are interviewing may be so talkative
that it is difficult to get in a single word. Of course, this will not
stop you from smiling or nodding. This continuous talking does
defeat the purpose of the exercise described above, but it can give
• To listen with empathy means that the the ‘listener’ the opportunity to discover that you can encourage
counsellor must temporarily forget about the other person without saying anything at all. If they do talk
his or her own frame of reference and try continuously, then an intuitive decision will have to be made as to
whether or not it is more helpful to break their flow.
to see the client's world and the way the
client sees him or herself as though he or
she were seeing it through the eyes of the • Empathy is thus the ability to recognize
client. and acknowledge the feelings of another
Some people appear to be fearful of silences in a conversation person without experiencing those same
and have to rush in to fill the gaps. Clearly this is not helpful to emotions. It is an attempt to understand
the inarticulate student who is struggling to find the words to the world of the client by temporarily
express himself, and the teacher’s ability to tolerate pauses can be “stepping into his or her shoes”.
a useful skill for facilitating learning in the classroom as well as in
interpersonal or counselling situations. Having our sentences
completed for us can be a very frustrating experience.

Probing involves statements and questions from the counsellor that enable
clients to explore more fully any relevant issue of their lives. Probes can
take the form of statements, questions, requests, single word or phrases
and non-verbal prompts. Probes or questions serve the following purposes:

to encourage non-assertive or reluctant clients to tell their stories

to help clients to remain focussed on relevant and important issues

to help clients to identify experiences, behaviours and feelings that give a fuller picture to their story,
in other words, to fill in missing pieces of the picture

to help clients understand themselves and their problem situations more fully

to help clients to move forward in the helping process 10

Keep the following in mind when you use probes or questions:
•Use questions with caution.
•Don't ask too many questions. They make clients feel “grilled”,
and they often serve as fillers when counsellors don't know what
else to do.
•Don't ask a question if you don't really want to know the answer!
•If you ask two questions in a row, it is probably one question too
•Although close-ended questions have there place, avoid asking
too many close-ended questions that begin with “does”, “did”, or
•Ask open-ended questions - that is, questions that require more
than a simple yes or no answer. Start sentences with: “how”, “tell
me about”, or “what”. Open-ended questions are non-threatening
and they encourage description. 11
of content

•Avoid distracting questions. Counsellors often ask questions to get more information from the client
in order to pursue their own agendas. They do this at the expense of the client, i.e. they ignore the
feelings that the client expressed about his or her experiences.
of content

•Avoid using clichés. Clichés are hollow, and they communicate the message to the client that his or
her problems are not serious. Avoid saying: “I know how you feel” because you don't.
•Empathy is not interpreting. The counsellor should respond to the client's feelings and should not
distort the content of what the client is telling the counsellor.
•Although giving advice has its place in counselling, it should be used sparingly to honor the value of
self responsibility.

of content

•To merely repeat what the client has said is not empathy but parroting. Counsellors who “parrot”
what the client said, do not understand the client, are not “with” the client, and show no respect for
the client. Empathy should always add something to the conversation.
•Empathy is not the same as sympathy. To sympathize with a client is to show pity, condolence and
compassion - all well, intentioned traits but not very helpful in counselling. 14
•Avoid confrontation and arguments with the client.
• The difficulty of expressing feelings in words is often due simply
to lack of practice. This exercise is designed to provide such
• It is easy just to consider negative feelings in relation to teaching
situations, as a high proportion of the statements made are of a
We are deliberately including damning nature. A way out of this trap is to practise using
positive comments as well as negative comments in the form given
this section between ‘reflection above.
of content’ and ‘reflection of • Intuitively, we are certain that an open expression of feeling,
feeling’, as it seems a sensible directed to both individuals and groups, can only enhance the
assumption that you must have quality of relationships in educational settings. Furthermore, a
a good understanding of the substantial shift towards the expression of positive feelings will
improve the school or college ethos even more.
expression of feeling before you
can accurately reflect it

• A much more subtle reflection of feeling involves feeding back the
emotions that are behind the content but have not been directly
• The person may be encouraged to talk about new issues that
relate to the hint that was given. Alternatively, the other person
Feelings usually play an important may deny the interpretation that has been made. In this case
part in the problems that are there is no point in pressing the matter further and, indeed, it
presented to a person in a pastoral or may have been a misperception on your part. Often an intuition is
counselling role. Focusing
on these feelings and reflecting them denied by the client and is brought up in a later session as if it
back to the other person adds had never been mentioned earlier.
a further dimension to merely • A way of making interpretations begins with the statement:
reflecting back the content of what ‘What I hear you saying is…’,
has been said. The expression of
feeling is often part of the which is followed by a restatement in terms of the unspoken
content: message that is coming across. This can be a very potent
intervention, but it is sometimes abused and used to impose a
point of view on the client. It is also jargon, which may confuse
some individuals.
• This section is not an invitation to rush into your class
and self disclose indiscriminately. If there is not a
trusting relationship with the class, you may find your
self-disclosures thrown back at you in an insulting
manner. This leaves a negative double bind.
Objections to exercises of this • Self-disclosure without trust can lead to problems, and
nature are often made on the yet we
grounds that the compliments have suggested that trust can be developed by
are contrived and insincere. demonstrating that you are a human being through self-
These complaints are usually disclosure. The resolution of the bind comes in starting
made by people who have slowly and increasing the degree of self disclosure as
difficulties themselves in giving the trust develops.

• Assertion training (Lange and Jakubowsky, 1976;
Liberman et al, 1975), a popular activity at the
time of writing, involves ideas and exercises
which are similar to those for developing skills in
Wherever there is a conflict of interest, there is confrontation.
a good chance that a confrontation will develop.
Conflict seems to be endemic in schools,
• 1 Aggressive confrontation. Aggression here is
particularly when teachers are trying to impose seen as an attack reaction to a perceived threat,
an inappropriate or irrelevant curriculum on
their students, many of whom would prefer to usually verbal, although sometimes in
be anywhere else but in school. Conflicts also
arise between staff themselves, and there is
• 2 Passive confrontation. This is a contradiction in
limited evidence that these are more stressful terms and involves the avoidance of the
than the conflicts with the students
confrontation merge.
(Woodhouse, Hall and Wooster, 1985).
• 3 Manipulation. Here the teacher uses an
indirect approach to gain the upper hand in a
conflict of interest. This is done in many different
• Communication skills should be integrated in
a natural way in the counselling process.
Skilled counsellors continually attend and
listen, and use a mix of empathy and probes
to help the client to come to grips with their
The skills developed in this problems. Which communication skills will be
chapter are designed to develop
awareness and are consistent with the used and how they will be used depends on
phenomenological notions outlined in the
introductory chapter. The skills provide a
the client, the needs of the client and the
practical tool-kit for phenomenology. The problem situation.
ideas developed in Kelly’s personal
construct psychology underline the
importance of using exploratory
techniques of this nature in the early
stages of a helping relationship. Using this
approach within a management structure
can result in a significant reduction of 19