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LAWS6106 Advanced Communication Skills

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LAWS6106 Advanced Communication Skills

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Course Code: LAWS6106
University: The University Of Newcastle

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Country: Australia


Humanitarian and community studies. Studying in Australia.

Describe the stages of the helping process.
Integrate the communication skills that are important at each stage of the helping process.
Identify barriers to communication that may impact the engagement process.
Discuss how the potential barriers to communication might be addressed


The current essay helps in elucidating the various challenges that may be faced while tackling community development issues as well as International assistance for humanitarian aid. In order to tackle the challenges of working in an urban or rural area in which people of indigenous or non-indigenous origin are present, it is necessary to understand the helping process. Along with discussions of the various stages involved in the process, the essay will also try to shed light on the necessity of having good communication skills, obstacles during the engagement process as well as the solutions to these barriers.
Helping process, communication skills and communication barriers
Relationship building is necessary as it allows the client to be your and respectfully accept the service provider to identify strengths and weaknesses. According to McCarthy & French (2017), there are few major components of building a relationship which is namely acceptance, respect, empathy, trust and ability to understand the problem of the client. The facilitator should be able to accept that the client can fend for themselves which will inculcate mutual respect. The service provider can be empathy by empathetic listening when the client vents to understand their perspective. When all the components work together, a trust develops among the two parties.
In this stage questioning techniques will be utilised for obtaining information. There can be the use of formal as well as informal appraisal methods. This stage can affect the client either positively or negatively and hence it is the duty of the service provider to be caring and sensitive so that the client feels understood and relieved (Cormier & Hackney 2015). To minimise negative effects, the facilitator can reflect on thoughts and feelings.
This stage defines the direction in which the relationship is headed and setting a goal provides motivational, evaluative as well as educational functions (Hepworth, Rooney, Rooney & Strom-Gottfried 2016).
The intervention stage is necessary for problem redressal and this means the technique for intervention selected by the service provider is based on the theoretical orientation. According to Fazio-Griffith & Ballard (2016), the facilitator is responsible for selecting a solution that is based on the choice of the client as well as preferred by the service provider. The three major theoretical orientations are humanistic orientation which focusses on feelings, cognitive orientation which focusses on a belief system and behavioural orientation.
This stage is initiated when both the parties decide that it is time to end the relationship. However, termination of relationship should be followed by planning monitoring and necessary referrals after which the relationship should permanently end (Cournoyer 2016).
Irrespective of the stages a combination of four basic type of communication skills are involved in the helping process which are namely verbal communication and nonverbal communication, written communication and visual communication. Verbal communication relies on speech and words to convey messages. This is the most common method of communication which is assisted by tone, gestures as well as body language. According to Banks, Burch & Woodsie (2016), verbal communication is further divided into intrapersonal communication, interpersonal communication, group communication and public communication. The verbal Communications as previously mentioned is assisted by nonverbal communication like body language, facial expression, gestures etc. It should be remembered that nonverbal communication is widely used as the primary medium of communication.
In written communication, the message is conveyed with the help of written words. This type of communication involved use of the personal journal, letters, reports, memos as well as emails to communicate information and knowledge between the sender and the receiver. Written messages can be rectified and edited before finally being forwarded to the receiver and this makes written communication an indispensable component of formal as well as informal communication (Lo 2017). Written communication is also assisted by electronic devices like smartphones and laptops. Written communication are also assisted by visual communication that involves the use of text, sentences or words.
The visual communication makes use of visual display which means that the message is expressed or perceived by visual aids. Traffic signals, maps and posters are a very good example of visual aids as it helps the onlooker to understand the message. Movie, animation and short films are also a widely used form of visual communication. The visual feature helps in ensuring clarity and eliminate the probability of ambiguity. From the perspectives of Bogo (2018), communication skills are necessary to bridge the gap between the people, education, entertainment, healthcare and commerce.
Language is one of the biggest barriers to communication. However, it should be kept in mind that even when communication is done in the same language, the terminologies, if not understood by the receiver, can act as barriers (Howe et al. 2018).
The communication process is also dependent on the psychological state of the sender as well as the receiver. This will influence the way in which the message is being perceived. State of mind such as anger, depression or stress is a perfect example of psychological barriers. As observed by Brew & Kottler (2016), people having low self-esteem are usually less assertive which makes them uncomfortable to engage in a communication process.
These barriers evolve when the physical state of the receiver is not so well. In such cases, it is necessary to make the client feel respected by being empathetic to their discussions, thoughts and reflections (Nelson-Jones 2015). Overcoming physiological barriers is necessary in cases where the person may be suffering from a disability such as deafness and thus specific communication skills will be required.
Geographical barriers are a prime example physical barrier as it hampers the communication process between a sender and a receiver. Communication over short distances is much easier because of the presence of a large number of communication channels and a minimum technology requirement. Advancement in science and technology has enabled service providers today to minimise the impact of physical barriers. As pointed out by Burke, Sauerheber, Hughey & Laves (2016), it is still very necessary to identify the advantages as well as disadvantages of the modern communication channels in order to select the appropriate mode of communication.
The behaviours and perceptions of individuals which prevent them from engaging in the communication process are known as the attitudinal barriers. The attitudinal barriers usually originate due to personal conflicts, resistance to change, lack of motivation or poor management (Greene 2017). Apart from the linguistic barriers, the attitudinal barriers perhaps is the another major obstacle that disrupts the communication process.
This is a skill that can be acquired as well as developed with practice and being difficult, this skill requires a lot of patience. One has to dedicate time to learn the skill. According to Davis (2018), the objective of active listening is to actively listen with full concentration rather than casually listening to it. This skill required the listener to give full attention to the individual speaking and it is also necessary for the listener to act as if they are actually listening else the speaker may believe that the listener is uninterested. Hence, the listener should provide timely feedback which will make the speaker comfortable and also help the communication process to be established smoothly and easily.
It is necessary for the facilitator to understand and remember that the language used by them can be comprehended by the audience. For this purpose, it is necessary to avoid the use of Technical jargon while communicating with the clients. Using such terminologies can intermediate people which will hamper the communication process as the receiver will deny that they have not understood what has been told (Garbarino 2017). Another way to tackle the barriers is to take time and periodically enquire if the receiver understood the message as intended.
Feedback is an important part of the communication process and it is necessary to understand that all the feedback may not be necessarily positive. When the facilitator required to provide a feedback that is negative, it should be print in a constructive manner. In the words of Sue, Rasheed & Rasheed (2015), the basic necessity of providing feedback is to enable and encourage the speaker to speak more freely. This will not only help in boosting the communication process but also strengthen the interpersonal relationship among the two parties and increasing the chance of success. Feedback is usually provided after assessment and this means that it is necessary to identify appropriate questioning techniques and appraisal methods so that the receiver is not intimidated, distant or uncomfortable.
This essay was undertaken to provide a brief overview of the innumerable challenges that are faced by a service provider or humanitarian aid worker while dealing with issues of community development as well as International humanitarian aid. The necessary communication skill to assist with the helping process has been identified which will enable in tackling the challenges of dealing with indigenous as well as non-indigenous people living in rural or urban areas. The various stages of the helping process have been identified and discussed in detail. The communication skills necessary for establishing the engagement process has been also discussed thoroughly. The potential challenges and probable solutions to communication barriers have been also evaluated.
Banks, B., Burch, T., & Woodside, M. (2016). Introducing Mindfulness and Contemplative Pedagogy as an Approach to Building Helping Skills in Human Services Students. Journal of Human Services, 36(1). Retrieved from: https://web.b.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=08905428&AN=121220237&h=uNFeOiyEtZiRp3a5f%2f%2bdDsf9cblFThu%2fbEWydN65dVVOKoURXSgqttA6d5ZJgl1yqTv3xpxu8Q9tYFkZwPi%2b9Q%3d%3d&crl=c&resultNs=AdminWebAuth&resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d08905428%26AN%3d121220237 
Bogo, M. (2018). Social Work Practice: Integrating Concepts, Processes, and Skills. Columbia University Press. Retrieved from: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=V2NbDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=Bogo,+M.+(2018).+Social+Work+Practice:+Integrating+Concepts,+Processes,+and+Skills.+Columbia+University+Press.&ots=PTIgrHu074&sig=73wkG2uJHKZxx2HiFLEp6FcXxq8#v=onepage&q=Bogo%2C%20M.%20(2018).%20Social%20Work%20Practice%3A%20Integrating%20Concepts%2C%20Processes%2C%20and%20Skills.%20Columbia%20University%20Press.&f=false 
Brew, L., & Kottler, J. A. (2016). Applied helping skills: Transforming lives. Sage Publications. Retrieved from: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=FH-zDAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=Brew,+L.,+%26+Kottler,+J.+A.+(2016).+Applied+helping+skills:+Transforming+lives.+Sage+Publications.&ots=5hY_wdtP8i&sig=xI6Bzux3kUu88OV48eMQ1CUGh0Y#v=onepage&q&f=false 
Burke, M. G., Sauerheber, J. D., Hughey, A. W., & Laves, K. (2016). Helping Skills for Working with College Students: Applying Counseling Theory to Student Affairs Practice. Routledge. Retrieved from: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781317307303 
Cormier, S., & Hackney, H. L. (2015). Counseling Strategies and Interventions for Professional Helpers. Pearson Higher Ed. Retrieved from: https://books.google.co.in/books/about/Counseling_Strategies_and_Interventions.html?id=_fPtoQEACAAJ&redir_esc=y 
Cournoyer, B. R. (2016). The social work skills workbook. Cengage Learning. Retrieved from: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=avuzCwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR3&dq=Cournoyer,+B.+R.+(2016).+The+social+work+skills+workbook.+Cengage+Learning.&ots=8CIbMTwUAV&sig=ruiGQH_R2Hj0otD9-8ZbS7HmDAw#v=onepage&q=Cournoyer%2C%20B.%20R.%20(2016).%20The%20social%20work%20skills%20workbook.%20Cengage%20Learning.&f=false 
Davis, M. H. (2018). Empathy: A social psychological approach. Routledge. Retrieved from: https://content.taylorfrancis.com/books/download?dac=C2017-0-76734-2&isbn=9780429962448&format=googlePreviewPdf 
Fazio-Griffith, L., & Ballard, M. B. (2016). Transformational learning theory and transformative teaching: A creative strategy for understanding the helping relationship. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 11(2), 225-234. DOI: 10.1080/15401383.2016.1164643 
Garbarino, J. (2017). Children and Families in the Social Environment: Modern Applications of Social Work. Routledge. Retrieved from: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781351528979 
Greene, R. R. (2017). Human Behavior Theory and Professional Social Work Practice. In Human Behavior Theory and Social Work Practice (pp. 31-62). Routledge. Retrieved from: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781351327398/chapters/10.4324%2F9781351327404-2 
Hepworth, D. H., Rooney, R. H., Rooney, G. D., & Strom-Gottfried, K. (2016). Empowerment series: Direct social work practice: Theory and skills. Nelson Education. Retrieved from: https://books.google.co.in/books/about/Brooks_Cole_Empowerment_Series_Direct_So.html?id=JYwJAAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false 
Howe, D., Kohli, R., Smith, M., Parkinson, C., McMahon, L., Solomon, R., … & Walsh, J. (2018). Relationship-based social work: Getting to the heart of practice. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Retrieved from: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=cQkzDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA7&dq=Howe,+D.,+Kohli,+R.,+Smith,+M.,+Parkinson,+C.,+McMahon,+L.,+Solomon,+R.,+…+%26+Walsh,+J.+(2018).+Relationship-based+social+work:+Getting+to+the+heart+of+practice.+Jessica+Kingsley+Publishers.&ots=NwnoHAX5bc&sig=Ldn5KkxjvSX2jKk6OyEAC5F-u1g#v=onepage&q&f=false 
Lo, Y. S. (2017). Exploratory Study on the Conceptions and Challenges in Social Work Helping Relationships Among the Social Workers in Guangdong China (Doctoral dissertation, Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University). Retrieved from: https://www.lib.polyu.edu.hk/bib/99102201 
McCarthy, C., & French, K. (2017). Student Perceptions of Online Video Cases to Promote Helping Skills Training. The Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision, 9(2), 4. Retrieved from: https://repository.wcsu.edu/jcps/vol9/iss2/4 
Nelson-Jones, R. (2015). Basic counselling skills: a helper’s manual. Sage. Retrieved from: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=MMmICwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=Nelson-Jones,+R.+(2015).+Basic+counselling+skills:+a+helper%27s+manual.&ots=dlXyxgLjJD&sig=YCjunh-OR08MZgOWOCR9Jc071Ag#v=onepage&q=Nelson-Jones%2C%20R.%20(2015).%20Basic%20counselling%20skills%3A%20a%20helper’s%20manual.&f=false 
Sue, D. W., Rasheed, M. N., & Rasheed, J. M. (2015). Multicultural social work practice: A competency-based approach to diversity and social justice. John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved from: https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=5rM7CwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR15&dq=Sue,+D.+W.,+Rasheed,+M.+N.,+%26+Rasheed,+J.+M.+(2015).+Multicultural+social+work+practice:+A+competency-based+approach+to+diversity+and+social+justice.+John+Wiley+%26+Sons.+&ots=Lju-zleWcy&sig=MbU8rCCeZiyXpI8uh-Fe_1ahXWE#v=onepage&q=Sue%2C%20D.%20W.%2C%20Rasheed%2C%20M.%20N.%2C%20%26%20Rasheed%2C%20J.%20M.%20(2015).%20Multicultural%20social%20work%20practice%3A%20A%20competency-based%20approach%20to%20diversity%20and%20social%20justice.%20John%20Wiley%20%26%20Sons.&f=false 

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