Attending to me means to be there for the client. It is important to be fully present and to be able to give your full attention to the client. To be prepare by revising notes and having the room set up. The therapist should take some time before to relax. The therapist needs to be able to put aside their own concerns and give the client their full attention.
Establishing a relationship
This is the first aim of the therapist. For a therapist the session starts as soon as the door opens. It’s important to dress respectfully and to make a connection with the client, so the client feels relaxed and is able to communicate what their problems are.
The therapist not only listens to the words of the client but also needs to hear what is being said. It’s important to maintain good eye contact to let the client know you are listening and that you are there for them. If the client is silent, to remain silent and allow time for the client to process what has been said. The therapist also needs to listen to themselves and be aware of their own issues so they can be fully tuned into the client. Things to avoid would be rehearsing responses or attaching client issues to other material. The therapist should listen as though they are not responsible to gain a deeper understanding of the clients concerns.
As Rogers would say, to walk in the client’s shoes and to understand the client’s subjective world from the client’s frame of reference. The ability to allow yourself to listen as though you are not responsible and to be curious and open minded. Holding empathy for the client has no value so the therapist needs to communicate it back to the client to help them hear themselves, to gain a deeper understanding and help them to act on that understanding.
Reflecting is not only about mirroring back what the client is saying but also its important for the therapist to check that there understanding of what the client’s problem are is accurate. If so the therapist can use this understanding to help the client to see their situation in the bigger picture. The therapist can use this to help the client to focus on feelings or content of the situation.
Probing can be used as a tool to explore concerns more deeply and to help the client gain a deeper understanding of what is going on. The therapist can use statements as an indirect way of questioning. They can use introjections to help the client to focus on a particular word or phrase. They can use direct questions with a purpose to help the client to question what they are saying themselves.
The therapist should listen to what the client is saying or not saying and to listen for omissions or distortions in the message that they are conveying. It’s more helpful to client when things are explored in more deeply rather than being avoided.
Exploring can be used to find out the clients concerns and expectations. It is a skill that is used to help the client explore their own emotions and to help them communicate their concerns so the therapist can have a shared understanding. The therapist should help the client to focus on their concerns, and to enable the client to help themselves. It can be used to see what the client expects from therapy and to gauge whether or not the therapist can be of help to the client and to advise or send them to a relevant practitioner.
To aid the client to decide the seriousness of their issues and which ones they would like to deal with first. You can check with the client to see which one was causing them the most distress, and if dealt with which would have the most positive outcome. It is important to empower the client to choose themselves and decide which direction to go in. It is important for the therapist to facilitate this, but be careful not to influence or put their beliefs onto the client.