Discussion: Skills of attentiveness

Discussion: Skills of attentiveness

Discussion: Skills of attentiveness

Your task in this module is to practice your skills of attentiveness, reflection of content, reflection of feeling, asking open-ended questions, providing appropriate self-disclosure, and giving information. Most of us have a tendency to ask close-ended questions (e.g., “Do you feel angry?”) when an open-ended question (e.g., “How are you feeling?”) would elicit greater feedback and deeper exploration by the client. In self-disclosure, we have a tendency to convey each communication about ourselves rather than keep the focus on others. Remember that we want our therapeutic self-disclosure to serve the client. Additionally, we want to provide information that empowers the client.

In your regular conversations with friends, family, peers, and co-workers, practice what you are learning by being attentive, using your reflective listening skills, asking open-ended questions, using therapeutic self-disclosure, and providing empowering information. Try the skills with a variety of individuals in a myriad of settings to observe the different responses.

Make a note of the responses you receive. Notice what influence it has on the relationships and the disclosures others make. Pay attention to how similar or different the interaction is from your “normal” interactions with those persons.


In a minimum of 500 words, post to the Discussion Area your response to the following:

Describe your experience of practicing your skills, especially open-ended questions.

What did you do well?

How can you improve those skills?

What was the reaction of those with whom you communicated?

How did using your skills impact the communication?

How will your experience of and learning from this exercise be beneficial in a counseling session?

Provide three examples of open-ended questions you asked others this week, and the responses you received. What would have occurred if you changed these to close-ended questions? What information might you have been missing?

Support your rationale and analysis by using at least two resources from professional literature in your response. Professional literature may include the University online library resources, relevant textbooks, peer-reviewed journal articles, and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions (websites ending in .edu or .gov).

Grammar and plagiarism will be checked.

You must proofread your paper. But do not strictly rely on your computer’s spell-checker and grammar-checker; failure to do so indicates a lack of effort on your part and you can expect your grade to suffer accordingly. Papers with numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes will be penalized. Read over your paper – in silence and then aloud – before handing it in and make corrections as necessary. Often it is advantageous to have a friend proofread your paper for obvious errors. Handwritten corrections are preferable to uncorrected mistakes.

Use a standard 10 to 12 point (10 to 12 characters per inch) typeface. Smaller or compressed type and papers with small margins or single-spacing are hard to read. It is better to let your essay run over the recommended number of pages than to try to compress it into fewer pages.

Likewise, large type, large margins, large indentations, triple-spacing, increased leading (space between lines), increased kerning (space between letters), and any other such attempts at “padding” to increase the length of a paper are unacceptable, wasteful of trees, and will not fool your professor.

The paper must be neatly formatted, double-spaced with a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. When submitting hard copy, be sure to use white paper and print out using dark ink. If it is hard to read your essay, it will also be hard to follow your argument.


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