Communication and Problem Solving
This chapter examines the problems of communication and offers proven strategies for improving communication. As a carer you are faced with the challenge of delivering holistic care. Holistic means paying attention to the physical, emotional and behavioral aspects of those in your care — you need to take care of the whole person. Some clients develop emotional and behavioral problems together with a physical disability. Others have a past history of psychiatric illness that may or may not re-emerge, along with a current physical problem. The carer–client relationship, no matter how brief, has the capacity to be a rewarding or a negative experience. Effective communication is the crucial building block of all interpersonal relationships. Communication is a process of discovering and conveying meaning; it is a process of moving toward one’s life purpose; it is the way we are known by others and come to know them; and it is one way we learn about ourselves. In order to communicate well, you must have knowledge of the communication process and an ability to analyse it.
You need an understanding of environmental and cultural components of communication as a framework for purposeful interaction with others. When communication goes awry, people feel devalued and misunderstood and sometimes they become alienated, bitter, lonely and frustrated. Through effective carer–client communication there is a chance that clients will become aware of their behavioral problems. Such insight is a good basis for effective problem-solving. Problem-solving is a beneficial activity when you are seeking improved outcomes and resolutions. Instead of accepting immediate and impulsive answers to difficulties, you make use of an appropriate problem-solving framework to arrive at a more objective position. Essentially all problem solving consists of a four-stage construct of assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating, and these are examined in depth.
- communicating effectively
- knowing yourself
- when effective communication is inadequate
- the stages of the solution-focused behavioural change model
- the model in practice.