More practice in counselling
Like any skill, counselling improves with practice. Gather some
other health or community workers and do a role-play. One of you will be a
counsellor. The other will be a mother whose child has an infected ear. The
remaining people will be the audience. They have an important job: they should
watch the role-play carefully and at the end they can give the players
suggestions for improving their counselling skills.
Suggestions for the person who plays the role of the mother
You should behave just like a normal mother in your community.
What might a mother believe is the cause of the illness? What local treatments
might she have been using before coming to the clinic? The counsellor may be
interested in the mother's family, living conditions, and occupation. Make up a
story about yourself, so you can give realistic answers to the counsellor. You
have watched mothers come to the clinic many times. Sometimes they are worried
and afraid. Behave just like the mothers you have seen. That will make the
Suggestions for the counsellor
Remember the simple counselling steps. Think of what educational
tools you can use. Can you demonstrate a skill that needs to be learned by the
mother? Could you use posters or pictures? You may not have these with you, but
in a role-play you can pretend that you have them. Can you make up a story,
proverb, or fable? Will you need to help the mother get support from family
Do not rush the counselling
It is natural for the session to go slowly at first. After you
have had a lot of practice and real sessions, your skills will increase. You
will be able to understand problems more quickly and select educational methods
For further practice, use the case of the mother with twins (see
page 90) as the basis for a role-play. People could take the roles of health
worker, mother, brother-in-law, and possibly other relatives. Also you should
make up your own role-plays based on actual problem situations you have seen in
the clinic, school, and community. Always have a few other people watch the
plays so that they can suggest improvements.
Whatever the situation may be, remember that counselling implies
the following four steps:
1. Helping the client identify what is the
2. Helping the client discover why it is a problem.
Encouraging the client to look at many possible solutions to the problem.
Having the client choose the most appropriate