The Best Counseling Skills for Communication

“A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.”

Proverbs 20:5

How many times have you tried to communicate to someone about something important, only to have the conversation go off on tangents and the real issue is never addressed? This makes communication extremely difficult.

I’ve had countless conversations that started off on track, but as soon as I brought up the issues that I wanted to confront, the person got defensive and would bring up other issues. After a while, we would find ourselves talking about everything but the reason why the conversation started in the first place, and the issue is still unresolved!

This is a common issue that happens in communication. People will defend themselves or their points of view when they feel attacked or confronted.

So how can you address the important issues that need to be confronted, and bring about resolution without it turning into an argument?

rehabilitation-counselorCounselors have been using a simple technique that allows them to influence the conversation, and focus the communication around the issues that need to be addressed.

This approach also allows you to state the facts of what you’ve observed rather than your opinion and feelings, which is instrumental in being able to guide the conversation effectively.

Using ‘I” Statements is a simple technique that allows you to state your observations and focus on the facts of what’s happening. It is an effective tool when you want to deal with something that the other person may be prone to deflect from talking about the topic.

Statements like:

  • “I notice that you smile each time you talk about something sad.”
  • “I believe you just contradicted what you said earlier when you were talking.”
  • “I’ve heard you say that you can’t wait to get here, but you are always late.”

Using “I” statements is a great way to address a topic in a way that is less confrontational because you are referring to yourself, and not them. Even though you are referring to something that said, or did.

Here are a few “I” statements that can help you state facts and keep the conversation focused on the issues that need to be addressed.

  • I’ve noticed…
  • I observed …
  • When I saw …
  • I think that _________ indicates that …
  • I discovered …
  • I get the sense that …
  • I’m worried about …
  • I need to discuss …
  • I want to hear what you have to say about …

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