THE IMPORTANCE OF ACTIVE LISTENING AND THE COMMUNICATION OF EMPATHY IN THE COUNSELLING RELATIONSHIP

2307 WordsJan 15, 201410 Pages
THE IMPORTANCE OF ACTIVE LISTENING AND THE COMMUNICATION OF EMPATHY IN THE COUNSELLING RELATIONSHIP – (Assignment 2) There are many and varied skills used in a counselling environment and whilst all have equal relevance, I would like to focus on two skills which I feel are particularly important in the development of the counselling relationship. Active listening and the communication of empathy towards a client are individual skills which along with others help to form a basis for development at the onset of a therapeutic relationship. Through the use of relevant literature and some personal observation, I will explore the fundamental requirement of each skill within the counselling relationship, looking at the reasons why I feel they…show more content…
In a therapeutic setting, asking relevant questions, the use of pauses and silences to help the client think more deeply about what they are trying to say and the use of minimal responses show the client you are still listening but encourages them to continue. Listening carefully provides the basis for the cycle of understanding from the helper; listen, understand, evaluate, clarify, understand; which in turn focuses attention back to the client. I feel that the real ‘skill’ behind the concept of active listening is the ability of the helper to draw together all the information available and effectively use it to provide an atmosphere of calm, warm, respectful acceptance where personal barriers and prejudices are put aside so that the client has a safe, supported space in which to experience their emotions. Nelson-Jones (1995) feels that ‘Having their feelings sensitively listened to provides clients with the opportunity to experience and explore these feelings and so understand them better.’ (p40) Another skill required in a client/helper relationship is the use of ‘empathy’. Nearly all the books I have read on counselling and counselling skills consider empathy as one of the most important requirements in the development of this relationship. It is considered by Carl Rogers to be one of the Core Conditions of any successful therapeutic relationship. Carl Rogers was an influential American psychologist born at the beginning of the 20th Century. He

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