Counselling Microskills: Influencing
Influencing is part of all counselling. Even if the counsellor only used attending skills to actively listen to the client, being genuinely heard by another person can influence a person’s behaviour. Influencing skills take a more direct approach to client change, with specific alternatives for actions that can promote change quicker and in some cases be more permanent.
Influencing may facilitate change in the way a client chooses to think or act.
When is it used?
Influencing is generally used when the client is exploring alternative ways of thinking or behaving.
Interpretation/reframing: Through interpretation/reframing, the client is encouraged to perceive their experience in a more positive fashion. The counsellor encourages this shift by offering alternative ways of viewing their experience.
For example, a client who is upset about having to move away from home is likely to be focusing on the loss of her support network and the familiarity of her community. The counsellor, while acknowledging the client’s loss, could reframe the event to be perceived as an opportunity to experience new places, people and things: an opportunity for growth.
Interpretation/reframing encourages the client to view life situations from an alternative frame of reference. This strategy does not change the facts of a situation, nor does it trivialise the hurt or pain the client may be experiencing.
Information giving: Information giving involves providing the client with factual information that may assist them in some way (such as details of a community support group or accommodation option). Sometimes clients are not sure where to start to look for the information they need, so counsellors can help their clients find that starting point.