When addressing the needs of a customer, active listening is vital since it helps to establish a rapport, therefore, creating an environment in which one will feel comfortable to receive assistance from a social worker. Among numerous elements of active listening, one should pay specific attention to two aspects, namely, that one of containment and the one of moving from general issues to specific ones. By integrating the specified items into the process of active listening, a social worker will be able to address some of the most complicated concerns and work in the setting that may contain major impediments to effective counseling, such as the presence of a language barrier or cultural issues.
The focus on containment is vital since it allows the social worker to remain responsive and empathetic while offering the patient to take charge over the exploration of his or her personal issues. In addition, since it is quite common for patients to generalize the issues that they are experiencing, the necessity to help them transition to more specific concerns emerge. The described change can be implemented by asking clients the questions that will help narrow down the range of ideas to which they are willing to refer, thus, making them focus on the ones that are related directly to them and pertain specifically to the situation. As a result, the process of personal analysis of unique emotional and psychological concern experienced by an individual can be started (Shulman, 2015). Therefore, including the notions of containment as the means of encouraging the client to share emotional issues and the transition from general to specific issues will lead to a positive change in clients’ attitudes and improvement in the understanding of their situation.
Considering a personal example of the specified strategies being applied to manage one’s emotional, mental, and psychological issues, I must mention my attempts at assisting my friend. She has been experiencing significant difficulties with her marriage and faced challenges communicating with her husband. As the rapport was established and she started telling me about her issues, she sounded very angry and emotional, leading the conversation. While she was talking, I encouraged her to share by providing supportive statements and using nonverbal communication such as nodding and changing my facial expression accordingly. Thus, the containment principle was deployed to collect the necessary information and ensure that she expressed all of her concerns (Hayes et al., 2019). Simultaneously, short responses and nonverbal language were used to steer the conversation toward a more specific issue that concerned her as opposed to her general expression of disappointment. It was also crucial to abstain from giving her direct answers and, instead, encourage her to shape the relationships with her husband independently.
By incorporating the principle of contamination and the strategy of transitioning from general issues to client-specific concerns, a social worker will be able to integrated the approach of active listening effectively into the management of the client’s needs by creating a positive environment and building trust. As a result, even issues that represent a particular challenge from the perspective of counseling can be addressed accordingly, with patients’ needs being fully met, and the opportunities for healing being identified and actively explored. By integrating the foundational notions of active listening., a social worker will provide the client with a chance at becoming an active participant of the therapy process and develop the ability to navigate it independently.
Hayes, S. C., Hofmann, S. G., Stanton, C. E., Carpenter, J. K., Sanford, B. T., Curtiss, J. E., & Ciarrochi, J. (2019). The role of the individual in the coming era of process-based therapy. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 117, 40-53. Web.
Shulman, L (2016). The skills of helping individuals, families, groups, and communities (8th ed.). Cengage Learning.