CHAPTER 6: INQUIRY SKILLS- skills necessary to gather information and to channel the exploration of
the client problems in certain directions.
a. Focusing: At the beginning of any therapeutic process, clients usually are vague and unable to
focus. It is the counselor’s job to assist the client to brake the problem into more manageable
pieces and to prioritize; therefore, assisting the client in centering on specific issues. There are
two areas in which focusing can be useful:
i. Focusing on the problem: when focusing on this, counselor assists the client in focusing
on one problem by asking questions.
1. “I heard you say that you are angry at your family”
2. “I noticed that you mentioned ‘loss of self’. Can you say more of what you
were thinking when you said that?”
ii. Focusing on feelings: Some people would focus on events without attaching feelings to
the situation. It is the counselor job to assist the client in identifying such feelings by
asking questions:
1. “Just now, I noticed that you expression changed. Can you tell me how were
you feeling?”
2. “We have talked about the stressful situations, we have not talk about how
you feel about these stressful situations”.
b. Probing: it is an inquiry skills that cause the clients to look more deeply into underlying features
of their problems. It can be used to 1- gather information, 2-evoke motivation to change, and 3-
genrate new meanings and experiences.
i. Probe to gather information: it is questioning to gather information; however, it is
important to continue focusing on the direction of the questioning:
1. Opening interview: What would you like to talk about today? Could you tell me
what has been going on?
2. Probing for specificity and concreteness: could you give me a specific example
fo what your wife does? What happened first (next)? What was the result?
3. Probing for clients’ point of view: What do you mean when you say depress?
Could you tell me more about it? In what way is that a concern for you? Could
you give me an example?
4. Probing for client’s internal experiences: What is the feeling that goes with the
tears? How do you feel when you mother yells at you?
5. Probing for meaning: what does all this meant o you? What kind of sense does
this make to you? What do tell yourself when…..”
6. Probing for missing data: what important things are happening in your life right
now? Is there anything else happening in your life at this time?
7. Probing for the pattern of connection: who else worries? Who do you think
worries the most? Who do you image worries the least? What deos she do when
she worries?
ii. Probe to evoke motivations: it is also called “motivational interviewing” because the
questions as such are designed to arouse a desire in clients for healing and
1. Evocative questions: evoke clients’ concerns about their own problems, leading
them to think about why they are stuck with their problems. For example: What
difficult have you had with the consumption of drugs?/ how much does that
concern you? What do you think will happen if you don’t make a change? What
would be some advantages of making a change? What do you think would work
for you if you decided to change?
2. Extreme questions: assist clients to explore the most daring possibilities. Force
client to look at what hey are trying to avoid seeing. For example: what cocerns
you the most? What are your most dreaded fears about what might happen if
you don’t make a change? What do you suppose are the words things that might
happen if you keep on the way you have been going?
3. Looking-back questions: this type of questions assist client to compare the past
with the present. For example: what were things kike fore you started drinking?
Tell me about how you two met each other, and what attracted you to each
other back then?
iii. Avoid- “why questions”; “not closed ended questions (yes, no)”; avoid questioning
c. Clarifying statement: This type of inquiring skill questions are better in encouraging clients to talk and
to explore. It that you involves reflective listening skills + not-knowing position. This combination makes
the client feel that you are listening. For example: “I can see that you are angry, but I am not sure what
It is about” “I understand that you are concerned about your drug use. So please help me understand
what you enjoy about using drugs and what’s the down side of it (not knowing)”.

a. Understanding presenting problems
b. Listening to silence: invite the client to restart the conversation: “I am wondering what went through
you mind in this moment of silence?” “Seems to me that it is hard to share what is happening right now
and what is going in your mind” “I can tell is hard for you to know where to start”.
c. Dealing with a rambling client: a client that divagates avoiding the pain and/or feelings of discomfort. If
this continues, there will be no benefit acquired by the client. So this clients will go over information,
give too many details, and exhaust you. Tyr to regain focus: “let us stop for a minute and let us see if I
understand what you told me” “let me see if I can put together some of the stories you have been
talking about”.
d. Frequency of talking (Counselor): Counselors should speak 35-40% of the time.
e. Tentative lead-in phrases in reflecting: assist clients to express feelings. “I guess you feel….” “you seem
to feel…” “it is as if you….” “you must have felt….” “sort of like… “
f. Avoid vague therapy: “I understand “ “I hear what you said”
g. Avoid discounting phrase: “everything will be fine”, “life will go on”, “this is nature’s way”.
h. Avoid intellectualizing
i. Dealing with intellectualizing client: CONFRONTATION WILL WORK
j. Dealing with reluctant/resistant clients
k. Emphatizing with unlikable clients
l. Use of pause
m. Timing for pacing and leading
n. Speak briefly
o. When in doubt, focus on feelings
p. Expiring highs and lows
q. Coaching clients to use “I” language

a. What makes one therapist stand out from many others is the repertoire of advanced skills. Everyone can
be emphatic, but therapy is not only about emphatic listening rather it requires support and listening; a
impetus process. This chapter actually engages in the second stage in therapy: the awareness. Stage in
which you are 1-to help clients develop an emotional awareness of ineffective coping patters, 2-to help
clients work through resistance to change, 3- to help clients accept, own up, and honor old patterns, 4-
to help clients recognize growth edges, and 5-to help clients envision preferred outcomes. Influential
skills lead the clients to explore self-awareness to a deeper level. All the following skills share one thing;
they are connected as they influence at deeper level in the relationship: content and process. This type
of relationship known as “meta-communication”; expresses how the counselor-client communicates.
i. Advanced empathy: you communicate the meaning and feelings that the client is not yet aware
of. It is advance because you are one step ahead of the client awareness into his own experience
and inner experiences and narratives. It occurs when you have a deeper insight into the client’s
struggles. You point out underlying client’s feelings, recurring themes, and unrecognized
resources. Questions to keep in mind to practice this advance skill: What is the person only half
saying? What is the person hinting at? What is the person saying in a confused way? What
messages do I hear behind the explicit messages? What is the open edge for growth?
1. The advance empathy may take six forms:
a. Reflecting the implicit emotion: explicit what is said. One need to explicitly say
that is implicit said or (underlying). For example frustration may indicated
inadequacy, anger (man) hurt or fear. For example: although you don’t say it,
every time we talk about your mother you hang down your head and clench your
fist, I sense a strong feeling inside of you”.
b. Identifying patterns: Assist the client in seeing themes that may express
previous patterns. It could be threads that run in the sessions or old patterned
behaviors to cope with the situation and/or the consequences of such cope
mechanisms. A theme usually has three components: 1-common thread or
interaction patterns, 2-coping patterns, and 3-vicious circle resulting from the
coping behavior. When you identify them, it is important to share them.
c. Connecting islands: it is more than summarization, rather a creation of
framework for the client to understand his or her problems in a more structured
form. In this instance, it seems that you utilize theories to make the problem
sound logical. Here, this influential therapeutic approach provides sort of
explanation to the client.
d. Exploring growth edges: rather than focusing on the problem or the insight of it
and/or the pathology, offering the client a learning point (growth edge) provides
them a gaining and a therapeutic point in which acceptance is gained. Seems to
me that his is an empowering technique in which the “sparkling” event is used
to encourage and depart from this point to build up strength in the client’s view.
e. Vivid graphic language: when the client can’t express the feeling and creates a
cirmculoquium of feelings, the counselor should bring vivid images of what the
client would like to do creating, in this way, an opportunity to tackle and face
feelings. Example: so when she starts whining, you just want to strangling
her(vivid image).
f. Successive approximations: gradation of words until the client feelings
comfortable. Using words in an escalation manner. A very behavioral way.
example: “when you husband yells at you, you feel anxious, fearful….even afraid
for you life”.
ii. Counselor self-disclosure
iii. Immediacy:
iv. Confrontation: challenging:
v. Feedback-giving:

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