The Aim of the Practical
The aim of the practical is to demonstrate and inculcate the attentive behaviour that is an important skill required in counselling. The interpersonal and verbal interaction takes place if the attentive behaviour is attained. The establishment of a specialised human behaviour takes place when the interpersonal interaction takes place between the counsellor and the client. For achieving the attention of mind that is required while listening or focusing on the other person and what they say or feel, this practical is performed. The practical demonstrated attention and interest along with physical attending during a counselling that is required between the counsellor and client. The practical also demonstrated the basic elements of physical attending through the non-attending in a one-to-one situation and close attending. The practical also demonstrated group discussion through the exercise three minutes topic where there is interchange of roles that involves the speaker and listener (Magill et al., 2014).
There was no material that was used for the practical. The practical involved the use of verbal and non-verbal communication as a way to interact between the counsellor and the client. There was demonstration of attending behaviour through concentration and alertness of mind. In addition, the basic elements like A-Availability, R-Relaxed, O-Open, L-Lean, E-Eye, F-Face and N-Nod. The practical comprises of physical attention, communication and body language. Another practical consists of close attending and non-attending where once the listener becomes the speaker and vice-versa that would help the person to inculcate both the qualities of a good speaker and listener (Draxten, Flattum & Fulkerson, 2016).
Firstly, in the practical, a partner was chosen from the group. On is named A and another B. Two topics were chosen from the Three Minutes Topics on which one can talk for two to three minutes. Then, partner A becomes the speaker that adopted the attending position and partner B becomes the listener. Then exercise begins with non-attending in a one-to-one situation. At the end of the two to three minutes, the partners write down their experiences as a speaker as well as a listener. Then, they repeat the exercise with close attending situation. Then , partner A adopts the attending position and partner B becomes the listener by attending closely and listening to the speaker. At the end of the exercise, they again write down their experiences as speaker and listener by reversing their roles and repeating the exercise. Finally, there is group discussion where people form groups and collate the responses in non-attending and close attending situations. The practical’s content is to attend attentive behaviour, interpersonal communication skills, verbal interaction and physical attending during a counselling or psychotherapy session (Hald, Baker & Ridder, 2017).
Summary of Outcomes
The outcomes of the practical were to attend the interpersonal and verbal interaction that is required during a counselling or psychotherapy session. The practical was intended to focus on positive message through the demonstration of listening and speaking that are required to attend the attentive behaviour during a counselling session. Moreover, it also helped to achieve the basic elements of physical attending that is required to attain attention, communication and concentration towards the person to whom one is listening and vice-versa (Danziger, 2013).
Personal Comments on Relation Between Practical and Real Life Experience:
Interpersonal communication has a huge impact on the counselling process, it allows the participants of the counselling to express their feelings in clarity and it brings transparency to the interpretation of the listener as well (Broadbent, 2013). In this practical both parties engaged in interpersonal verbal communication using non attending and close attending approach. In this approach one of the members has to be the speaker and the other has to listen and record their feelings and experience. In the next setting both members will swap places and record their experience as well. This practice allows the members the opportunity to experience both speaking their mind on a chosen topic without any apprehension, and on the other hand lets the member practice the perseverance required to listen to other people communicate their views without interrupting them.
In my opinion this exercise has enabled me to explore my skills, principles and confidence, has enabled me a way to reflect on my communicational prowess. This exercise has also made me aware of the approach and tone of my verbal interactions and has helped me evaluate if my message are well articulated and coherent. With the feedback from my partner I also received a clear idea about how my thoughts are conveyed when I am communicating them to my audience and what impact my choice of words have.
The purpose of this exercise was to help us overcome our communicational apprehension both in personal and professional context. I would like to add that this exercise held true to its actual purpose and helped me overcome my communicational apprehension and lack of confidence. I am confident and assertive in my communication without seeming offensive or crude, and can freely speak my mind in my educational, personal and professional life. It has also given me the insight to respect others and their opinions while they speak and I have started paying attention to when my peers speak to me. I have overcome my tendency to zone out when they speak to me and I can now engage in fruitful conservation outside of my comfort zone of university peers.
Relevance in PracticalCounselling:
Verbal communication is the first interaction technique used in the professional counselling and is still is the first choice of psychologists worldwide. Effective interpersonal communication is vital in counselling for the professional to interpret the thoughts and feelings that the client is likely to hide from the rest of the world (Broadbent, 2013). It requires confrontation, persuasion and coercions for a psychotherapist to extract experiences and elements from the past of the clients that might hold a key to the psychological issue the individual is undergoing.
Drawing the concepts of popular communication theories, like uncertainty reduction theory, interpersonal communication allows the counsellors to gain vital knowledge about their clients and helps in categorizing different clients according to their nature and characteristics (Cook et al., 2013). According to the social exchange theory, communication builds a mutually respectful relationship between the counsellor and its client so that the client can feel comfortable to approach the counsellors with their secrets and grievances. In my opinion different people have different personalities, with attributes that have developed from the past experiences (Dainton & Zelley, 2014). As different individuals must have had different experiences throughout their life, it is only natural that their characteristics will be unique and unpredictable. Communication helps in decoding different actions and attitude of different individuals, study the effects and get to the cause of it. According to the onion theory, different individuals have different personalities and each personality has different layers to it (Heath & Bryant, 2013). Each of these layers is somewhat interconnected to each other. Interpersonal communication helps in peeling away the layers of pretence we put forth for the world to see, and get to the inner personality that we tend to keep hidden from the world. It helps the counsellors to find the real personality of their clients so that they can arrive at what has propelled the psychological disturbance (Pinto et al., 2012).
All of these theories have different approaches to them but have a similar conception arriving at the same conclusion. Without verbal communication, a psychotherapist cannot comprehend the thoughts and feelings that the patient is experiencing and as a result it is impossible to arrive at a treatment that would help the patients (West & Turner, 2013). In the practical we learned the basics of effective communication; we learned not just to speak our mind we learned to listen as well. It has to be considered that it is imperative for a good psychotherapist to have patients listening capabilities as well. Hence in my opinion this practical would be instrumental in shaping me and preparing me for my career in psychology.
Broadbent, D. E. (2013). Perception and communication. Elsevier.
Cook, K. S., Cheshire, C., Rice, E. R., & Nakagawa, S. (2013). Social exchange theory. In Handbook of social psychology (pp. 61-88). Springer Netherlands.
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Danziger, K. (2013). Interpersonal Communication: Pergamon General Psychology Series (Vol. 53). Elsevier.
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Heath, R. L., & Bryant, J. (2013). Human communication theory and research: Concepts, contexts, and challenges. Routledge.
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Pinto, R. Z., Ferreira, M. L., Oliveira, V. C., Franco, M. R., Adams, R., Maher, C. G., & Ferreira, P. H. (2012). Patient-centred communication is associated with positive therapeutic alliance: a systematic review. Journal of physiotherapy, 58(2), 77-87.
West, R., & Turner, L. H. (2013). Introducing Communication Theory: Analysis and Application (2013 Ed.).