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Communication Skills Necessary To Improve The Therapist Client Relationship

2068 words - 8 pages

People talk at a rate of 125–175 words per minute yet can listen to 450 (Carver, Johnson, & Friedman, 1971). Since a person speaks slower than what the brain can manage, the mind drifts off to thinking of other things rather than listening to the message at hand and communication can be lost. This barrier to effective listening causes one to miss or misconceive what the other is saying (Janusik & Wolvin, 2009). It is imperative as a psychologist to actively listen, ask questions, seek clarification and check for understanding of what others are saying for effective communication to occur. The interpersonal relationship between a psychologist and their client should focus on that person’s growth and change in their personal and professional development as well as social adjustment. It is the responsibility of the psychologist to contribute to these areas and problem solve with their client to assist them to meet these needs (Bordin, 1981).
Maslow (1943) describes people as being driven to achieve certain needs and once demand is met they seek to pursue the next, however Rogers (1951) took a softer side by suggesting a humanistic approach. Crucial core conditions of helping were emphasized to include empathy, warmth and genuineness. This aimed at supporting people in becoming who and what they aspire to be. Clearly Rogers described principles rather than stages, it is undoubtedly Egan’s (1998) skilled helper model that encompasses all of these, and is vital in a psychologist’s treatment of their client to facilitate a productive outcome. The helping process has two main objectives; to help the client manage their problems more effectively while developing untried or untapped opportunities more adequately, and becoming more efficient at helping themselves in their day to day lives (Egan, 1998). This focuses on supporting clients to set and achieve goals in their agreed areas of life.
The skilled helper model (Egan, 1998) addresses three main stages and guides the discussion to further possible movements in the helping relationship. The first stage is discussing the current situation. When assessing the presenting problem, a psychologist must gather information by asking the client several questions. Asking the right questions at the right time is indispensable when having a good interview technique (Paul & Elder, 2007). Generally the two main formats to questions being asked are either open or closed. An example of an open question as seen here (0.26) comprises of discovering precise information and knowledge on the issue at hand (Cameron, 2008). Prioritising the problem as discussed here (0.38) helps break down the larger situation into smaller points of action. This issue then appears to the client to be more manageable. As a result the implement of a closed question as displayed here (0.56) and (1.06) was used to gain necessary information and move forward with the conversation therefore relaxing the client into discussing the issue further...

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