Attending and Observation

Chapter 3 /Ivey

What are attending skills?...

The way the counselor is in session can encourage the client to talk/tell their story.


*vocal (tone/rate)
*verbal tracking
*body language...


*direct eye contact
*if client looks away--complex or distressing
*counselor eye contact can be an encourager or discourager (be aware)

Vocal Qualities...

*voice (pitch, volume, speech rate)
*communicates distress, anxiety, discomfort
*verbal underlining (important)

Verbal Tracking...

*stay with client topic
*encourage them to talk and stay with it
*especially important when the counselor is lost or confused
*asking questions shows interest

Body Language...

*facing client
*lean forward
*expressive face
*encouraging gestures
*show warmth and interest...

Also important to observe the CLIENT'S body language for cues to how the session is going...
*signs of discomfort (jiggling legs, body shift, folding arms)
*confusion (random, nonsense-like gestures)
*seeking control (straight line gestures, pointed fingers)
*harmony/comfort (smooth/flowing gestures)
*movement dissynchrony (tight fists and relaxed demeanor--mixed feelings?)

Counselor will know if their attending skills (3V + B) are working...
*counselor won't talk much
*client tells story (with detail, if they choose to)
*counselor can observe the verbal and non-verbal behavior
*counselor can note topics client talks about (and which ones they avoid)

*hard to sit and wait on client/uncomfortable
*sometimes best support--sit and wait
*can be frightening to counselor--but take the lead from the client (are THEY comfortable?)

What is counselor NON-attention?
*use to close client's story
*use to make the most of time in session

What does this look like?

*lose eye contact
*change posture
*alter voice tone
*deliberate topic shift