Relating to Clients In “Calling on—and Grateful for—Counseling Skills” (First Person/Last Page, May 2016), Joanna Close shared an experience she had with a client. He was finding living as he wished difficult, and told her in a session that he had made a suicide attempt a day or so earlier. Uncomfortable but resourceful, ... Inbox
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Inbox  |   September 01, 2016
Relating to Clients
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Professional Issues & Training / Inbox
Inbox   |   September 01, 2016
Relating to Clients
The ASHA Leader, September 2016, Vol. 21, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.21092016.4
The ASHA Leader, September 2016, Vol. 21, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.21092016.4
In “Calling on—and Grateful for—Counseling Skills” (First Person/Last Page, May 2016), Joanna Close shared an experience she had with a client. He was finding living as he wished difficult, and told her in a session that he had made a suicide attempt a day or so earlier. Uncomfortable but resourceful, she drew on the knowledge and skills acquired in a graduate-level counseling course for communication sciences and disorders students, and worked with interdisciplinary team members to help him.
Based on my work, I have learned that without knowledge of counseling skills, our practice can become dry and routine—providing little that encourages healing while pushing us into burnout. So, midway through my career, I enrolled in a didactic and experiential training program in transactional analysis. What I learned shifted my clinical approach from primarily identifying and measuring client behavior—an approach that never seemed entirely sufficient to do what I felt most capable of doing—to relating more comfortably and skillfully to clients to help them modify their behavior.
Counseling skills help us establish a professional, empathic presence through which we become better at listening, more comfortable with silence, and skilled in speaking words of direction and comfort that assist healing.
As Close has discovered, it is the relationship we cultivate with clients, caregivers and colleagues that is our fundamental tool. The more we learn about how to do that, the more helpful we can be throughout a long-lived, satisfying career.
Ellen-Marie Silverman, Milwaukee

We’re glad you found Joanna Close’s column to be relevant and important. Thanks for sharing your insight.

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FROM THIS ISSUE
September 2016
Volume 21, Issue 9