During the time that I have communicated with Bob, I have learned that he is able use a comfortable set of skills to help others who may be having problems in their lives.
During casual conversation Bob is able to assess a persons emotional needs. He is able to do so by “listening” to what a person has to say about almost anything. From that information he finds points that may be stressors, life goals, career goals, family issues, traces of mental health needs, loss, conflict, etc. to say the least. In his kind ways, the conversation may be focused on ideas that a person reflects that are important to them. Without missing a beat, Bob is able to gently offer information and solutions to support that person and encourage further positive goals for that person.
The feedback comes slowly and offers compliments as well as some decision making choices. The decision making choices are offered within a realm of what is familiar and available to the person, keeping the solution or goal within reach (a chance for success). What is wonderful about the way Bob offers information is that he compliments the person for any response without bias of any kind. He limit’s the stress factors in a way that it come to the point where the person can discuss the solution/goal that feels like “their” idea and “their” responsibility, so they can attempt steps to the solutions with a feeling of independence. Then the person is able to make decisions and a chance.
Moreover, one element of Bob’s skills, that is so important, is that he “respects” any decision or any failure or idea to change a decision. This is done is the most simple ways such as “You’re the boss”. He keeps decisions in the persons ball park. He doesn’t push. He waits until another conversation to assess further any set of needs going on or related to the decisions. This is a valuable trait for a counselor. He knows when a person is not quite ready to take a step that they have recognized. He may ask later if there is another solution or step a person may consider, and lets them offer it up themselves.
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When I speak of assessment, Bob may use the simple words “what happened” and let the person speak freely. He give very casual comments such as “that hard” or “how long” or “what have you look into” or “what was the reaction” and he finds the little steps that one may be the most stressful to the person. He offers comments that easily and comfortably go with the issues such as “that’s a long time” or “what did u find out” or “what reactions bothered you the most” or “are you ready for any steps” or “how did it work out”, etc. In short, he finds out more about what is happening and accepts any feedback with no bias and does not push.
There are sometimes during assessment that Bob finds general issues like “loneliness” that are not apparent to that person and mentions it as a topic and when he gets no response, he simply say “if you don’t want to talk about it, I won’t go there”, but leaves the door open.
What I find the most valuable is when Bob talks sometimes, as a friend, about things that happen or we learn in our ancestry searches, he says immediately if something is painful or stressful or an area he needs to work on, no matter how vulnerable that may be for him. He doesn’t talk directly about “his” pain, but does say it is stressful. This is comforting because it shows how human he is and how he will share in bits and pieces when he is ready. It shows me is sensitivities and “understandable” labels for feelings about issues. He accepts compliments well and shares their meaning to him, this opens the door to “trust”.
One area Bob shows good responsibility is his follow up questions, said in the most gentle ways. He doesn’t leave things hanging that are about decisions a person makes, he wants to know so they can go on or take a break in some steps to their goals. This creates “support” and enables a person to keep going and think as little a long the way about what they want or how they feel, even what risks are may be willing to take in the future, because he cares enough to ask.
For most part, I can say without doubt, that Bob uses his counseling skills consistently in formal counseling or in relationship communication. I am glad for the opportunity to learn more through knowing Bob Honecker.
Cynthia Bourgeois, MsEd