SOLER - A Counselling Skill
SOLER is not a misspelling of SOLAR, but a method used in counselling. It is a method of actively listening to the people It can be a very effective way of listening to people in a counselling situation, but also in conversation generally.
Developed by Gerald Egan, in his book, The Skilled Helper, this acronym details the essential parts of communication –
- S stands for sitting squarely. So you sit and face the person that you are talking to. We should sit attentively at an angle to the person, so that we can look at them directly and show that we are listening to them and paying attention to them.
- O stands for having an open posture. Do not cross your arms as this can make us appear anxious or defensive.
- Lean forwards to show we are interested in what the person is talking about. It also means that the person can lower their voice if they wish to, if they are talking about personal issues, for example.
- E stands for eye contact. Maintaining eye contact again shows that we are interested and listening to what the person has to say. It doesn't mean stare at the person as this can make them feel uncomfortable, but maintain good, positive eye contact.
- R stands for relaxed body language. This shows the person that you are not in a rush to get away, but are letting them talk at their own pace.
When listening to people, it is important to show your interest. Active listening is not just listening and hearing, it is also developing an interaction with the person we are listening to.
As a visually driven counselling skill, SOLER does not lend itself to a telephone or online counselling situation. You would need to look to other more appropriate methods for these.
If you work in a counselling role or are looking to develop a career in counselling, then we can help.
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