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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:

their strengths
what they want (motivations for change)
what matters to them
the effort they are putting into their change process
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!

Read Issue 16

#about affirming clients #affirming #reflecting #unconditional positive regard