Effective communication is not just the exchange of information but the understanding of the intentional and sentimental basis of that information (Robinson, Segal and Smith, 2019). Effectively communicating is an important aspect of a patient-counsellor interaction and while it might seem an easy task, having an effective communication with the client can have multiple challenges. Similarly, building rapport with his clients is also a crucial part of having an effective communication for a counsellor. This essay focuses on the ways of how a counsellor can develop rapport with his client. Strategies to be employed in order to have an effective communication will also be discussed. Furthermore, the various barriers in doing so and the ethical considerations to be taken care of along with the challenges encountered in an interprofessional communication will also be shared.
Building a rapport with the client is important regardless of the kind of therapy or counselling one is involved in (Hall, 2016). Since no meaningful conversation or change can occur until a close harmonious connection is present between the two entities involved in a conversation, I as a counsellor will make sure to first build a rapport with my client, Benjamin Hurley in order to have an effective conversation with him. For maintaining an effective rapport, a counsellor should at least take care of the following five points: he should be prepared with all the details from the previous counselling session as forgetting intense details about the client can destroy the rapport (Hall, 2016).
The counsellor in no case should judge his client for his moral or cultural values and always should listen to him without judging. The use of self-disclosure should be done cautiously, especially in the case of clients who are hard to, thus it should be kept to small stuff, while maintaining the professional limits at the same time (Hall, 2016). The counsellor should be aware of the things he is unsure of and should be honest with the client rather than practicing new skill that he has not developed yet. Most important of all, the counsellor should be empathetic with his client, accompanying him in all his emotions such as sorrow or anger. This can be done with the help of actively listening to everything what the client is trying to say (Hall, 2016). In order to build a meaningful and close connection with Benny, I will make sure to keep all these points in my mind during the counselling session.
Considering the importance of an effective communication, especially between a therapist/counsellor and a patient, I will use all the strategies important to enhance the meaning of my conversation with Benny Hurley. The four foremost important skills required to have an effective communication are: being an engaged listener, paying equal attention to the non verbal signals in addition to the verbal communication, keeping stress under control and being affirmative (Robinson, Segal and Smith, 2019). Effective communication is more concerned with listening rather than talking and engaged listening means understanding the emotions of the speaker along with the communicated words from the intonation in the speaker’s voice. This process can lower stress and supports mental and physical well being (Robinson, Segal and Smith, 2019).
For being an engaged listener with Benny Hurley, I will fully focus on him, showing interest in what he is saying without interruptions or trying to direct the conversation to my concerns. Moreover, non-verbal signs are of equal importance as verbal signals in any conversation, these include the way one looks, listens, move or react to the other person. I will make myself aware of the differences among the individual non-verbal gestures that people from different cultural, religious or emotional background use to understand Benjamin better since he is somewhere related to a different culture because of her mother, who is an aboriginal Australian. I will also try to consider all the non-verbal signs I will receive such as eye contact to the intonation of Benny’s voice to read him accurately. Furthermore, I will make sure to be affirmative in expressing my feelings to Benjamin and to calm down in any stressful situation.
There can be multiple factors or barriers stopping two people from having an effective communication. These can be stress, emotions that are not under control, absence of focus and negative or inconsistent body gestures (Robinson, Segal and Smith, 2019). When the client is overly stressed when he cannot control his emotions, effective communication can be hindered. Multitasking or lacking focus can also act as a barrier, therefore, in order to have an effective communication with Benny I will make sure to avoid and distractions in our surrounding. Additionally, body gestures which are negative or inconsistent with the verbal communication can put the client on his defensive side (Robinson, Segal and Smith, 2019), thus I will make sure to not use any such gesture.
Furthermore, even if all the aforementioned factors are absent cultural differences can act as a hindrance in having effective communication because the way the two individuals feel and think about the world can be entirely different as an impact of their different cultural backgrounds (GoodTherapy, 2019). In such scenarios, the counsellor should be compassionate to the patient and treat them appropriately, providing them with advocacy to ensure positive changes in their health. Considering the fact that Benjamin Hurley’s mother is an aboriginal Australian, there will certainly be some socio-cultural differences involved with him. So to overcome this barrier, I will acknowledge and respect the cultural differences to give Benny Hurley a culturally competent environment. In addition to this, I will use therapeutic communication and behavioural management with him. Therapeutic communication refers to the in person interaction process focused on the advancement of both emotional and physical health of the patient (Registered Nursing.org, 2020).
Ethical considerations that have to be taken care of in the case of Benjamin Hurley are mostly related to the disclosure, privacy and confidentiality of his personal information shared by him with his counsellor (American Psychological Association, 2016). The counsellor is primarily obliged to protect Benny’s obtained or stored information and to discuss with him the confidentiality limits. Before recording any images or voices, the counsellor has to obtain Benny’s consent and must only include the in his reports the information relevant to the purpose of Benjamin’s visit to him. Benny’s counsellor can disclose Benny’s obtained confidential information for appropriate professional or scientific purposes only with people concerned with related matters and can only with Benny’s appropriate consent.
Although the counsellor can disclose Benny’s confidential information without Benny’s consent but only in the ways as mandated by the law, for instance, for providing professional services/consultation that are needed or in cases where such disclosure is required to prevent the Benny, himself or others from harm (American Psychological Association, 2016). The counsellor cannot disclose Benny’s any confidential piece of information with his colleague that can lead to Benny’s identification without taking his consent prior doing so (American Psychological Association, 2016).
Considering Benjamin Hurley’s mental state as described in the referral sheet, Benjamin can be suspected to be suffering from depression and anxiety following the traumatic incidences he is going through in his family. Based on this suspicion, I would consider communicating with the doctors such as, psychiatrist, psychologist and social workers, treating patients with similar illnesses (Legg, 2016). Since the counsellor is not supposed to discuss or consult any confidential information of a client with his colleagues, this can be seen as an ethical consideration in communicating with other health professionals regarding Benny’s mental state.
According to the referral chart, Benny does not want to talk to anyone about his sufferings, current mood and his alcohol and drug abuse, so it is highly likely that he might not give consent for disclosing his symptoms and taking advice from any other healthcare specialist thus the challenges that can be encountered in such a scenario include the explanation of Benny’s state of mind to those health professionals without telling them the Benny’s family background and his current state.
Effective communication is an important aspect of a client-counsellor interaction, without which meaningful communication cannot be made. Building of an effective rapport with the patient is the foremost important factor to enhance communication. Although there can be many factors that can act as a barrier in having an effective communication, these factors can be overcome by following taking certain precautions. The provided case study was based on Benjamin Hurley’s mental state following specific traumatic events taking place in his family, which made him isolated from his family and undergo alcohol abuse. Therefore, as his counsellor, I will make sure to follow all the aforementioned measures in the light of providing the best care possible to him, keeping in mind the ethical considerations and the challenges that can be encountered.
American Psychological Association. (2016). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index
GoodTherapy. (2019). Communication problems. Retrieved from https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/communication-issues
Hall, L. (2016). How to build Rapport with new counselling clients. Retrieved from https://www.opencolleges.edu.au/careers/blog/how-to-build-rapport-with-new-counselling-clients
Legg, T. J. (2016). Doctors for depression. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/doctors
Registered Nursing.org. (2020). Therapeutic communication: NCLEX-RN. Retrieved from https://www.registerednursing.org/nclex/therapeutic-communication/
Robinson, L., Segal, J., & Smith, M. (2019). Effective communication. Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/effective-communication.htm
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