SOLER Communication Techniques in Counselling
Soler Communication refers to the skills and techniques needed by counsellors in order to actively listen and engage with their clients. Honing these skills will ensure that clients feel heard, understood, and supported by their counsellor and help the client feel like a part of the therapeutic process.
By practising listening techniques regularly with clients it will also increase self-awareness and help the counsellor be present during therapeutic conversations.
SOLER was developed by Gerard Egan as part of his staged approach helping model and is one of the core listening techniques taught to students during initial counselling training. It involves how you position yourself and use body language when in a counselling room with clients.
SOLER stands for:
(S) – Sitting Squarely;
(O) – Open Posture;
(L) -Lean Slightly towards Client (L),
(E) -Eye Contact and
When communicating with clients in person or remotely such as via telephone or internet it is essential that these tips be remembered, as this will enable you to be actively engaged with them while simultaneously developing rapport and trust within a therapeutic relationship.
The use of these techniques will enable you to be more active during counselling sessions and ensure the client feels as though you are truly listening. With accurate responses of encouraging, paraphrasing, summarising etc you will be able to respond accurately and provide more opportunities for understanding from both ends of the conversation.
Encouragers are nonverbal ways of encouraging clients to continue talking and exploring their issues more deeply.
Counsellors may paraphrase what the client said but with different words so as to ensure that they are listening without sounding like parrots. Summaries – Longer paraphrases which pull together key parts of extended communication into short sentences before providing a check at the end to ensure accuracy are also effective strategies.
Mastering these techniques may not come easily, especially when there are so many other pressing concerns on your mind and it’s easy to become distracted by other voices or the environment around you. Maintaining effective listening skills requires practice but is worth investing time into in order to enhance communication in a counselling session with clients.