Counselling Skills and Strategies for Teachers by Garry Hornby

By Garry Hornby

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The majority of people are not comfortable about getting troubled children or adults to open up and therefore react to such signs by using the blocks to communication described earlier, such as diverting or denial of feelings. In contrast, an effective listener uses an appropriate door opener. Door openers typically have four components: First, the listener feeds back the child’s or adult’s body language. For example, ‘You look hassled’ or ‘You seem upset’. Second, the listener provides an invitation to talk.

If they are not congruent then this contradiction can be fed back to the speaker. For example, ‘You say you are pleased about what has happened but you don’t look it’. Second, the overall content of the message may be of help in identifying the likely feelings experienced. For example, if the person is speaking about a close friend who has just died then it is likely that feelings of sadness and loss will be to the fore. Third, the speaker’s body language will probably provide strong clues regarding the feelings experienced.

Changing interaction patterns In the following section the use of counselling skills as means of changing difficult relationships in school will be explored. This will involve revisiting some of the skills described in Chapter 3 and applying them to situations in which they would not normally spring to mind. There is no guarantee that any particular intervention will work, but if your habitual responses are not working, then there is nothing to lose by trying out something new. Strategies for intervention 35 Using standard counselling skills in what might be a confrontational situation is a way of stepping outside of the relationship between you and the student.

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