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Questions: Open, Closed, and Circular

Questions are essential tools that the counselor uses to elicit information from the client; they are helpful in understanding the presenting problem and guiding the therapeutic process. Various types of question formats are used to gather different types of information, including open questions, closed questions, and circular questions. Open questions allow the client to reflect on feelings or thoughts: for example, What were you first thinking after you heard your boss tell you that you were being let go? Closed questions are fact-finding questions, helpful for gathering information: for example, Were other employees let go at the same time you were? Circular questions are helpful in gathering a relational perspective, exploring the client’s understanding of himself or herself in relation to others: for example, How ...

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