While observing and interacting with my group members in my second lab session, I experienced nervousness as my voice and hands consistently trembled. Although this session was not recorded, I felt extremely pressured to communicate appropriately and effectively with other members in my group. I felt this increase in pressure because all of my group members remained in the research room throughout the entire lab session. It seems that the physical presence of my group members frequently reminded me that everyone was observing my communication techniques. Initially, I was afraid of asking the wrong types of questions that do not elicit an adequate amount of significant information from clients and running out of things to discuss.
With nervous and fearful thoughts, I began this session as a helpee. As a helpee, it felt easier to communicate or thoroughly convey my feelings associated with an issue. It seemed that I understood my feelings, but failed to understand the origin behind these feelings. I noticed myself visiting many different possibilities that could explain the origin behind these feelings or ways of overcoming these feelings with this issue. However, I apparently still battled with confidence as I noticed myself frequently ending my statements with “I don’t know.” This conveys that I was potentially uncomfortable expressing my feelings or statements. With reassurance from a helper, I feel that I will be able to more confidently explore these origins deeper and overcome this issue.
As a helper, I felt a bit more adequate this week, especially with my invitational skills. With knowledge on invitational skills, I felt that I was able to effectively invite my client into a conversation with a welcoming tone of voice and non-coercive, open-ended question, “What is on your mind today?” Throughout the conversation, I encouraged her along the way with frequent head nods and “mhms,” which revealed my focus on the client and adequate understanding of her issue. This was a significant step for me as I selfishly ruminated on my thoughts in the helper position last week, which hindered my helping abilities. By using these encouragers, the client felt heard, which motivated them to continue discussing aspects of their issue without me prompting them. Unfortunately, though, I still struggled towards the end of the conversation with finding appropriate things to ask or say.
One thing I will take away from this lab is that the phrasing of questions relates to the progress in a helping relationship. In other words, open-ended questions positively influence helping relationships. More specifically, using “how” or “what” questions enhance the development of a helping relationship by eliciting deeper responses from clients. When these questions are asked, helpers convey a desire for a greater understanding of an issue, which allows clients to feel cared for. These questions will positively impact my future as a helper by allowing me to further understand and help clients overcome an issue.