Verbal and Non-Verbal Skills by the Social Worker

Watch the video with the link below and then identify at least 15 or more instances of: (Must have no less than 15 instances).

  1. Skills the social worker demonstrates, both verbal and nonverbal. (those related to active listening, focusing, seeking concreteness) as well as t (circular questioning, reframing, perspectival questioning etc.). Be specific and explain why! Ex: Do not simply say ‘active listening’- are they using acknowledgement based on body language? perspectival questioning bring bringing in other points of view? Also remember that an instance may be more then one skill. For example, a statement may include both validating as the first sentence and perspective taking following it.
  2. Family dynamics (roles, communication styles, rules, intergenerational patterns etc.)
  3. Moments the social worker could have done something differently, and provide specific examples of statements or actions that could have improved these moments. Please identify at least three.




“Family Counseling Role-Play – Relational Problem with Couple and Daughter”

Verbal and Non-Verbal Skills by the Social Worker

The social worker effectively uses interpersonal skills when interacting with Tracy, Charles, and Anna. The social worker practices active listening and turn-taking when communicating with the three clients (Grande, 2017). The first instance where the social worker illustrates active listening and turn-taking is when Tracy explains the challenge the family faces when raising their daughter  Anna. The social worker is attentively listening and asks questions (Grande, 2017). The second instance that highlights the social worker’s use of verbal and non-verbal skills is when he nods to the speakers (Grande, 2017). The nodding illustrates that he is committed to the conversation and understands the speaker’s words (Leathers and Eaves, 2015). The third and fourth instances are the social worker’s process of knowing when to ask questions and effective turn-taking (Grande, 2017). The social worker’s technique, in turn-taking, allows him to give speakers adequate time to express themselves before asking a question (Leathers and Eaves, 2015). For example, when Tracy informs him how law enforcers were involved in Anna’s case because her behavior was getting out of control, the speaker waits for Tracy to complete the sentence for him to ask if Anna was arrested. Moreover, the social worker asks questions to improve his understanding of the situation (Lorié et al., 2017). The social worker uses verbal and non-verbal skills interchangeably in communication leading to effective listening and speaking skills.

The social worker maintains eye contact throughout the conversation with the person speaking to him. The fifth instance is when the counselor asks Tracy if Anna has been arrested. Tracy answers the question, and Charles interjects to allow him to speak (Grande, 2017)—the social worker’s eye-contact shifts from Tracy to Charles. Maintaining eye contact during information illustrates that he is committed to listening and can help him understand the emotions of his clients (Leathers and Eaves, 2015). For example, when Tracy gets emotional and starts to cry, the social worker shows empathy since he maintains eye contact with the speaker and notices how emotional Tracy gets (Grande, 2017). The sixth instance is the use of body posture when Anna starts to speak. The video shows that the social worker tilts his body to look at Anna, who is sitting opposite his parents (Grande, 2017). The action illustrates that the social worker has shifted his attention to Anna, the speaker.

The seventh instance is when speakers effectively use hand gestures to explain their points or emphasize their questions. Charles uses hand gestures to demonstrate how Anna was arrested and how it was not a big issue (Lorié et al., 2017). The eighth instance of active listening and speaking during the conversation among the four people is how the counselor folds his fingers when listening to avoid distractions and uses hand gestures to emphasize his questions and make the clients understand his points (Grande, 2017). Unlike Anna, the social worker does not show emotions when listening or speaking. During the conversation, Anna laughs loud, distracting the speakers. Anna’s action gets Tracy annoyed and forces her to ask Anna why she is laughing (Grande, 2017). However, the speaker does not show emotions or facial expressions to hinder creating a biased notion.

The counselor uses perspective questioning to understand Tracy and Charles’s unique points of view. “So Charles, this is a normal thing that happens to teenagers?” (Grande, 2017). The perspective question is to help the social worker understand Charles’s point of view on Anna’s arrest and abuse of alcohol. The other example is when the social worker focuses on listening to Anna by asking her perspective question. Initially, the conversation was centered between Tracy and Charles. “So Anna, what do you think about this…” (Grande, 2017). The question helps the counselor to get Anna’s perspective about her behavior. After the perspective question, the counselor uses her follow-up question to understand Anna’s initial answer. “A warning? What do you think about this warning?” (Grande, 2017). The follow-up question allows Anna to expound on her initial answer.

During the conversation, the counselor uses the circular questioning technique to understand the speakers’ varying viewpoints. For example, after understating Charles’s perspective on Anna’s arrest and drinking alcohol, the social worker asks Tracy if she has a different feeling contrary to Charles’ on Anna’s arrest and alcohol consumption (Grande, 2017). The questioning technique allows the counselor to understand both parties and get their perspectives on a common matter.

Reframing questions helps the parties to understand the social worker’s question and to respond appropriately. When communicating with Anna, the counselor constantly reframes his questioning to get more information from Anna. “Your mum doesn’t like it…Any other thing…is it a big deal?” (Grande, 2017). Reframing the questions helps in seeking clarity about the answers and making the listener understand the questions asked.

After actively listening to one of the speakers, the counselor asks another speaker a question about what they think regarding the response of another speaker. “So does that resonate with you?” (Grande, 2017). The social worker asks Tracy the question to understand her reaction to Anna’s views. The question shows that the social worker actively listened to Anna, and Tracy’s answer will illustrate if she was keen. Moreover, the counselor poses before asking questions to allow people to think and understand others’ points of view. Before asking Tracy if Anna’s point of view resonated with her, the counselor paused. The pausing allows turn-taking and hinders rude interruptions (Grande, 2017). Finally, the counselor constantly adjusts his spectacle frame to show the speakers that he is interested in the conversation. For example, when listening to Tracy informing Charles that Anna is only 16 years old and should not engage in specific activities (Grande, 2017). The social worker adjusts his frame before Charles starts to speak to illustrate how focused he is in the conversation.

Moments that Needed Improvements

There are moments during the counseling session when the counselor loses control of the clients and should have reacted differently. The first instance is when Anna kept laughing when her mother answered the social worker’s questions. Anna’s behavior was rude and meant to annoy her mother. Tracy paused, “What are you laughing at?” (Grande, 2017). Tracy was forced to ask Anna about the constant laughs when the social worker was supposed to bring the house to order. Additionally, Anna was discriminative and kept on rudely interrupting her mother when she was speaking. “I’m only 16 mum…” (Grande, 2017). The social worker could have informed Anna about her rude behavior and asked her only to speak when needed. Finally, the counselor kept Anna out of the conversation for too long. The discussion only focused on Charles and Tracy for a period, even though the parties discussed Anna. Keeping Anna out of the conversation for too long made her restless, making her rudely interrupt her mother as a way of defending herself.


Grande, T. (2017, May 19). Family Counseling Role-Play – Relational Problems with Couple and Daughter – Part 1. YouTube.

Leathers, D. G., & Eaves, M. (2015). Successful nonverbal communication: Principles and applications. Routledge.

Lorié, Á., Reinero, D. A., Phillips, M., Zhang, L., & Riess, H. (2017). Culture and nonverbal expressions of empathy in clinical settings: A systematic review. Patient education and counseling100(3), 411-424.


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