Provide a specific illustration of each type of communication that discusses the importance of the concrete-abstract distinction and how it can be useful in the counseling and interviewing process. Observe a conversation in your daily life and identify specific examples of concrete vs. abstract distinction. How would your examples be useful in the counseling and interviewing process?
In response to at least two of your peers, compare and contrast your examples and share whether you agree or disagree on the relevance to the counseling and interviewing process.
please respond thorougly to
Various forms of communication are used when working with clients during counseling and interviewing. Non-verbal communications such as tone of voice, eye contact, and body language as well spoken communications such as the language and phrases used and how clearly or vaguely clients speak are all part of the overall communication style of an individual. Additionally, clients can either use concrete or abstract language, meaning they can either speak directly where the meaning of their words cannot be construed, or they can “talk in vague generalities” (Ivey et al., 2018, p. 121), leaving much room for interpretation. Because of this, professionals must be prepared for either communication style and respond to each accordingly.
Client’s who use concrete language are often able to recall and supply specific examples or times when their problems ensued (Ivey A. et al., 2018). Further, concrete communicators also typically have trouble looking inward and seeing similarities in their situations and in their lives (Ivey A. et al., 2018). Concrete communicators are able to explain their problems from their own perspective very clearly, leaving little need for professionals to ask clarifying questions to try and better understand how to client views their issues. Oppositely, abstract communicators are often unable to provide specifics about their issues, but they are skilled in self-reflection (Ivey A. et al., 2018).
Working with each communicator has it’s benefits and downfalls. For example, working with a concrete communicator allows the professional to understand the client and their issues early on, however they struggle to find meaning within these issues or to view their own personal part and what they could have possible done differently. Alternatively, abstract communicators commonly have trouble explaining what they mean or what their issues are, making it “hard to understand what they are really saying” (Ivey A. et al., 2018, p. 92). However, once a professional is able to ask these abstract communicators open questions and are able to clarify what the client is trying to say, these individuals have an easier time self-reflecting and finding patterns in their lives. Professionals must work with clients, no matter their communication type, to help them meet in the middle. For example, professionals must work to help concrete communicators better analyze themselves and their situations and help abstract communicators find specifics in their stories.
In my own life, I paid close attention to a conversation I had with one of my friends who has recently gone through a break-up. During this conversation, we discussed her prior relationship issues and it became very clear early on that my friend is a concrete communicator. She was able to provide specific things that had occurred during her relationship that bothered her, when they happened, and what she did after they happened. However, upon asking her why these things upset her, she was unable to self-reflect well and would simply state “because it’s annoying” or “because it is inconsiderate of my needs.” Additionally, she was unable to identify things that either she has done, or has accepted to be done, over the years, forming a general pattern of behaviors. Once pointed out, she was able to better understand them, however she was unable to identify this information on her own. If a counselor was working with my friend, it would be important for them to help her self-reflect and understand patterns so she was able to view them going forward and to help her build the skills to solve her issues.
please respond to Alicia:
Clients who talk with a concrete/situational style are skilled at providing specifics and examples of their concerns and problems.” (Ivey, pg. 90) Those who communicate in a more concrete/situational style are usually detail oriented and extremely specific regarding the events or occurrences they are sharing. “Clients high on the abstraction ladder tend to talk in a more reflective fashion, analyzing their thoughts and behaviors.” (Ivey, pg. 91) Clients who communicate in a more abstract manner tend to self-analyze themselves, have a good sense of self understanding and have more difficulties providing concrete details of presenting concerns. It is important to understand the differences between the two as it can help you understand more about the client and their unique thinking process; The better understanding you have the more fit you are of helping.
I currently am working within the Human Resources Department of a large facility and have a wide range of interactions with people daily. After learning the two main levels of communication, I see how they are presented in my own life. I had an employee come to the office seeking insurance and beneficiary information, he was going through a difficult time in his life. When he initially came in, he was communicating in a concrete way, discussing the need for insurance and beneficiary changes due to a divorce and medical concerns. While I was further assisting him with making the desired changes, he began analyzing thoughts and behaviors that he felt had led to his recent. This example shows that individuals can experience both forms of communication styles even within a short period of time. Actively listening to the individuals you are assisting can be very beneficial to the counseling and interviewing process.
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