Strong communication is a key component of any relationship and can have significant positive effects on all parts of professional and personal life. Without effective communication skills, a relationship may suffer. Individuals may find it difficult to collaborate in a positive manner. In counseling and other related fields, the right professional communication techniques are essential to forming an open yet still businesslike and lawful relationship with your client. Effective communication takes practice and involves many factors, which is why professional liability insurance for mental health counselors is so important.
There are several important skills to develop when honing your professional communication techniques. These are some of the most important:
Being an effective listener is the most crucial aspect of being a good communicator. This allows you to properly advance the conversation and understand your partner’s needs appropriately. Being a poor listener will make your clients feel undervalued and misunderstood.
Eye contact, hand gestures and body language all tie into successful communication. If you’re trying to be open to a new idea looking closed off, intimidated, annoyed or distant won’t help advance the dialogue. When speaking, pay attention to stances, hand gestures, eye contact or movements that seem aggressive or passive. You’ll be surprised how quickly the tone of a conversation changes when you change your body language.
Showing empathy can be a difficult skill to acquire but can go such a long way in having excellent communication skills. Expressing that you understand how someone feels or get why they made a specific decision can be a great way to let them know you care about their feelings.
Remaining calm when speaking is an incredibly important skill if seeking to become a stronger communicator. Not losing your cool when you’re talking about emotional topics may be difficult at times, yet incredibly useful skill to master. Keeping calm when speaking will help you work through issues without becoming angry, hurtful or saying something you may regret later.
Being able to provide feedback within a conversation is another key component of communication. It helps to show the client that they are understood and appreciated. It also helps you both work together to come up with the best solutions.
The counseling profession has been greatly impacted by advances in technology. Social media has created both new issues to consider and benefits for counselors. There are now challenges of establishing effective boundaries with clients since social media has the ability to blur the line between private and public information. However, social media has opened many different doors for counselors.
Consider implementing the following:
- Privacy settings on social media accounts whenever possible
- Check with state licensing board to stay current on rules and regulations
- Have separate social media accounts for your professional and private life
- Ensure social media communication does not have any session-related content or diagnosis information.
- Get written permission from the client to communicate informally via social media
It’s ethical for counselors to use social media, but you must always do what is in the client’s best interest. It’s up to you to ensure that the method you use serves to help the client in the best way possible. Some cases may call for more traditional methods of communication, and some cases may call for the use of technology. Regardless of the method, protect yourself with professional liability insurance for mental health counselors.
About Bozzuto & Co. Insurance Services, Inc.
Bozzuto & Company Insurance Services has provided business and personal insurance solutions to clients throughout California since its founding in 1981. Our experienced staff understands the unique needs that each person has when insuring their lives and their businesses, and we pride ourselves on our deeply personal customer service. We are happy to help you through every step of the insurance selection process. Contact us today at (800) 400-6394 to learn more about what we can do for you.