The Vital Skills
A counselor utilizing a collaborative perspective will use skills like active listening, questioning, and non-verbal communication. Active listening is when a person solely focuses on a speaker and can paraphrase or summarize the speaker’s message. Questioning is another skill utilized and is used to explore, understand, clarify, or transform and could be used to deepen understanding and transformations. A counselor using a collaborative perspective will view the client as the expert in their life and perspective. The counselor may also use verbal or non-verbal communication to better understand the client’s perspective and behaviors. Pauses or silences are used to allow clients time to think, reflect, relax, or form appropriate or best fitting dialogue.
But even before many of these skills are introduced, the counselor and client will work towards building a therapeutic and trusting relationship. Developing a trusting relationship with the counselor is a priority in the first stages of counseling. Once this is established the counselor may gently and carefully challenge clients to guide them in understanding other viewpoints of a situation.