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Warmth

Warmth is the ability to communicate and demonstrate genuine caring and concern for clients. Using this ability, counselors and therapists convey their acceptance of clients, their desire for clients' well-being, and their sincere interest in finding workable solutions to the problems that clients present. The demeanor of the counselor or therapist is often the main avenue for communicating and demonstrating warmth, for it is often through nonverbal behaviors – a smile, a touch, tone of voice, a facial expression – that genuine caring and concern are communicated. The counselor's or therapist's capacity for transmitting concerns and caring to clients, either verbally or nonverbally, enables clients to experience, often for the first time, a truly accepting relationship.

Personal characteristics or behaviors that enhance a counselor's or therapist's ability to demonstrate warmth include, but are not limited to, the following:

• The capacity for self-care and the ability to demonstrate this capacity in both actions and words.

• The capacity for self-acceptance, basing this acceptance on one's assets and liabilities.

• The desire for one's own well-being and the ability to demonstrate this desire through both words and actions.

• The desire to find, and to have a successful personal experience in finding, workable solutions to one's own problems, and the ability to communicate this desire through words and actions.

Immediacy

Immediacy is the ability to deal with the here-and-now factors that operate within the helping relationship. These factors are described as overt and covert interactions that take place between the client and the counselor or therapist. A client's anger at a counselor or therapist, the latter's frustration with a client, and the feelings of the client and counselor or therapist for each other are all examples of factors that need to be addressed as they occur and develop. Addressing such issues in the safety of the helping relationship should help participants in two ways: to gain insight into personal behavioral patterns that may be conducive and not conducive to growth, and to use this insight in relationships outside the helping relationship.

Dealing with these factors can be threatening, as it is often easier to deal with relationships in the abstract and avoid personal encounters. A counselor or therapist needs to be able to use this factor of immediacy to show clients the benefits that can be gained by dealing with issues at they arise. According to Egan (2002), immediacy not only clears the air but also is a valuable learning experience.

Personal characteristics or behaviors that enhance a counselor's or therapist's ability to use immediacy effectively include, but are not limited to, the following:

• The capacity for perceptive accuracy in interpreting one's own feelings for, thoughts about, and behaviors toward clients.

• The capacity for perceptive accuracy in interpreting clients' feelings for, thoughts about, and behaviors toward the counselor or therapist.

• The capacity for and willingness to deal with one's own issues related to clients on a personal as opposed to an abstract level.

• The willingness to confront both oneself and clients with what one observes to be happening in the helping relationship

 
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