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MAMTA Health Institute for Mother & Child | New Delhi

The GATHER approach

The GATHER approach for counseling

= Greet the adolescents

  • put them at ease, show respect and trust
  • emphasize the confidential nature of the discussion 

= Ask how can I help you

  • encourage them to bring out their anxieties, worries and needs, determine their access to support and help in their family and community;
  • find out what steps they have already taken to deal with the situation
  • encourage the person to express their feelings in their own words
  • show respect and tolerance to what they say and do not pass judgment
  • actively listen and show that you are paying attention through your looking
  • encourage them through helpful questions

= Tell them any relevant information they need

  • provide accurate and specific information in reply to their questions
  • give information on what they can do to remain healthy. Explain any background information they need to know about the particular health issue
  • keep your language simple, repeat important points and ask questions to check if the important points are understood
  • provide the important information in the form of a leaflet, if possible, that they can take away

= Help them to make decisions

  • explore the various alternatives
  • raise issues they may not have thought of
  • be careful of letting your own views, values and prejudices influence the advice you give
  • ensure that it is their own decision and not one that you have imposed
  • help them make a plan of action

E = Explain any misunderstanding

  • ask questions to check understanding of important points
  • ask the adolescent to repeat back in his/her own words the key points

= Return for follow-up or Referral

  • make arrangements for a follow-up visit or referral to other agencies
  • if a follow-up visit is not necessary, give the name of someone they can contact if they need help

Note: Just after reading this we certainly do not expect that you will become counselors but our objective in giving you this information about counseling is to make you aware of what you can do at your level by the time you consult a counselor for advanced help. These counseling tips will help you understand the situation and give you some clarity on how to respond when needed.

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