The Basic Counseling Skills for health workers are very important for maternal health. In this context, counseling is an interactive process between health workers and mothers and their families.
During the process, health workers encourage mothers to exchange information and provide support in planning or making decisions and actions that can improve maternal health.
Basic Counseling Skills for health Workers
The following are counseling skills that should be mastered by health workers in providing the best service for the health of mothers, children and their families.
When health workers want information to be applied by the mother or her family, a two-way counseling and communication process must run. For example, when determining where the mother should give birth and how she can reach the health facility.
Creating a good atmosphere
Health workers can build trust and a good atmosphere with mothers, for example by finding similarities with mothers in terms of age, parity, area of origin, or favorite things.
Active listening in Counseling
When mothers speak, health workers need to pay attention to the information provided and show that the information has been understood. Ask questions related to the information you provided to clarify mutual understanding. Repeat the information you conveyed in different sentences to confirm and summarize the main points resulting from the conversation.
Asking question in Counseling
In communicating, we recognize two types of questions:
- Closed questions have definite answers and are commonly used to obtain data on the mother's medical history, for example: "How old are you?" or “Are you married?”
- Open-ended questions seek information related to the mother's situation, emotions, feelings, attitudes, knowledge, and needs, for example "How did you feel after giving birth?" or “Tell me about your last birth”
Avoid suggestive questions.
- FALSE: “Did your husband beat you?”
- RIGHT: “How did these bruises appear?”
Ask non-judgmental and cornering questions. Example:
- FALSE: “Why didn't you come here right away when you found out you were pregnant?”
- RIGHT: “Very nice of you to come to have a check your current pregnancy. Was there a reason you couldn't come earlier?”
Before providing information, health workers must know the extent to which the mother has understood the information to be conveyed and provide new information that is appropriate to the mother's situation.
Midwife: Do you understand how you should take care of yourself during pregnancy?Mother: Yes, I need to rest a lot and eat more.Midwife: That's right, ma'am. In addition, there are also certain types of food that you need to consume more. Do you know what kind of food it is?Mother: Vegetables, meat…Midwife: Yes, right. Eat more vegetables and meat, as well as fruit, nuts, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk. Do you know why you need to take it?Mother: So that the baby is healthyMidwife: Yes, those foods will encourage the growth of the baby and keep the mother healthy. Is there anything else you want to ask about what you should eat during pregnancy?
It is important to remember that the counselor should not force the mother to solve her problem with solutions that do not meet her needs. Guide the mother and her family to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each option they have and decide for themselves.
Step by step Of Counseling to Mother
- Ask questions to understand the mother's situation and background. Clarify when needed and don't judge.
- Identify the mother's needs, mother's problems, and information that is not known to the mother. Learn about every problem that exists and its impact on various parties (mother, husband, family, community, health workers, and so on).
- Ask the mother's opinion about what alternative solutions can be done to solve the problems she faces.
- Identify the mother's need for information, resources, or other support to solve her problem.
- Prioritize solutions by discussing the advantages and disadvantages of various alternative solutions to problems with the mother.
- Ask the mother to determine what solution is most likely to solve the problem
- Make a follow-up plan together.
- Evaluate the implementation of the follow-up plan at the next counseling meeting.
Those are some of the Basic Counseling Skills and counseling steps in an effort to provide maternal and child health services. Well-planned and organized counseling will be one of the pillars of success in maternal and child health services.