For most people struggling with change, being really heard is a very encouraging and positive experience. Past issues of Practice Pavestones have featured lots of discussion about the power of reflective listening in assisting our clients this way. Affirming takes the skill of reflective listening one step further to amplify the positive effects of being heard and understood.
In the course of a session, clients can say an awful lot to us. What we select from our clients' statements to reflect back to them can have a real influence on our client and the direction of the conversation in session. As we become more skilled at active listening we can become more deliberate in what we highlight to our client in our reflective responding.
Affirming is the intentional act of reflecting back to our client something about:
Here's a great definition from David Rosengren:
'Affirmations are statements of appreciation for the client and his or her strengths. ....The statements are strategically designed to anchor clients to their strengths and resources as they address their problem behaviour' p 62
When we affirm, we sift through our clients dialogue and actions and creatively highlight aspects of forward movement. To read more on what this may sound like and the practitioner attributes involved go for the download!
In this Issue of Practice Pavestones we will be exploring the last core attribute in our client centered practice: Unconditional Positive Regard. So how does Unconditional Positive Regard contribute to relief, acceptance, motivation and other experiences that our clients really value?
What is Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR)?
UPR is a disposition or attitude towards our client whereby: 'the client is viewed with dignity and seen as a worthwhile human being' Phillip Burnard
This attitude accepts that our clients have a right to their subjective reality and is offered without conditions.
When a client experiences UPR they often report feeling:
genuinely cared for by their health professional
praised spontaneously and authentically
supported without strings attached
To find out more about how UPR helps and what is might sound like in session read on. I hope this exploration gets you thinking......
There are so many counselling modalities offered to Allied Health Practitioners to assist in helping their clients: ACT, CBT-E, MI...to name a few. Recently I was asked by a colleague which counselling modality was the 'best one to start with' for Dietitians. My short answer to this question is Motivational Interviewing (MI)- a great starting place for health professionals working in behaviour change. For a more comprehensive response there are some really important issues to consider beyond choosing a 'best fit' modality. Knowing where to start can be confusing and a tad overwhelming!
With the risk of actually adding to the confusion I am going to be quite challenging and say – take great care with how you begin with any of the modalities above! Let me share more…….