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5 Essential Counselling Skills for the Community Services Worker

May 20, 2015

Counselling Skills for the Community Services Worker

After earning their community services worker diploma, students might go on to work at women’s rehabilitation facilities, community centres and emergency shelters, helping those in need get their life back on track. Because community services work revolves around helping others through difficult and stressful times, counselling skills are an important component of a CSW’s training.

Here are some of the essential counselling skills used by community services workers in the field.

1. Active Listening is a Must for Counsellors

Professionals with CSW training who work with individuals dealing with grief, or who have behavioural problems, know about the importance of active listening. Active listening is how community services workers really get at the core of what their clients are trying to tell them. Active listening includes giving small prompts of encouragement, and paraphrasing the individual’s concerns in order to reflect on the root causes of their problems.

2. CSWs Know How to Interpret Body Language

Psychology, communication skills and counselling techniques are all areas of study for students earning their community services worker diploma in Ontario. This specialized training ensures that community services workers know how to interpret body language and understand emotions that someone might be burying, or unable to communicate outright.

For example, a client with crossed arms might be defensive or closed to communication, while someone who is rubbing their hands together or touching their neck might be unhappy and trying to reassure themselves. Community services workers are highly attuned to these kinds of indicators, and what they say about a person’s emotional state.

3. Community Service Workers Use Open Questions

Community services workers use open questions to give clients a chance to expand on their feelings and elaborate on key issues that are bothering them. This technique helps to generate a dialogue and establish a conversation so that the client and CSW can get to the core of a problem, and begin working on establishing solutions.

4. Using Closed Questions

While open questions help begin a conversation, a closed question will help direct it. Community services workers will sometimes use a closed question to get more information about a specific incident, or identify the parameters of the issues the client is facing.

5. Using the Miracle Question as a Counselling Tool

Another kind of question that community services workers use is the miracle question. This question tries to change a person’s perceptions by asking them what their life would be like if a miracle happened. What would that miracle be? How would the client’s life be changed by it? The miracle question focuses on a positive change that would make life better, and switches the focus from the present to where a client wants to be in the future.

Professionals with community services worker training are increasingly in demand, because of the range and scope of the work that they do, as well as the positive impact they have on others and on their community.

Do you have strong communication skills and enjoy helping others? Take a look at our Community Services Worker program.



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