Greet the client



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Greet the client

  • Greet the client

    • -Smile
    • -Greet client by name
    • -Introduce yourself & your role
    • -Explain purpose of visit
    • -Acknowledge wait time if appropriate
    • -State the (approximate) appointment length
    • -Ask a general open-ended question(s)
      • -Examples: “How’s your pregnancy going?” What questions or concerns do you have today?


Ensure privacy

  • Ensure privacy

    • -Keep voice low
    • -Close door
    • -Move to private location
  • Demonstrate caring

    • -Be patient
    • -Use nonjudgmental language
    • -Display respect & understanding for other cultures
    • -Offer help
    • -Show concern for the client’s feelings


Promote positive communication

  • Promote positive communication

    • -Handle distractions politely
    • -Use appropriate non-verbal communication
      • -Examples: spatial proximity; body posture
    • -Use body language that encourages client to talk
      • -Examples: nodding ; pleasant facial expressions


Promote positive communication (continued)

  • Promote positive communication (continued)

    • -Maintain eye contact
    • -Focus on the client when using translators
    • -Use active listening skills
      • -Examples:(demonstrates support/indicates sympathy): “I see”, “uh, huh”, “sure”, “tell me more”, “I understand”


Seek relevant information without dwelling on irrelevant issues (using VENA questions in SPIRIT)

  • Seek relevant information without dwelling on irrelevant issues (using VENA questions in SPIRIT)

    • -Review client’s past history
    • -Collect missing information


Use probing questions to clarify response

  • Use probing questions to clarify response

    • -Ask for clarification: In what ways? How much? When?
    • -Ask for a specific example
    • -Ask : What else?


  • Share findings with client in a nonjudgmental manner

  • Extend gratitude for honesty and willingness to answer questions



Involve client in determining the main health concern

  • Involve client in determining the main health concern

  • Use open-ended questions to explore client’s

      • -current concerns
      • -current questions
      • -current knowledge
      • -stages of change
  • Use active listening skills



Help client to explore feelings and attitudes about main health concern

  • Help client to explore feelings and attitudes about main health concern

  • Validate client concerns

      • -Example: “I appreciate your willingness to talk about this difficult issue.


  • Identify and acknowledge client’s positive behaviors (strengths)

  • Maintain focus on desired health outcome

  • Assess client’s readiness to change



Ask permission

  • Ask permission

  • Limit number of nutrition messages given during one session

    • -Tailor nutrition message
    • -Keep message simple and concise


  • Speak directly to client in friendly manner

  • Speak according to client’s education, culture, interest, language, learning ability and stage of change



Provide nonjudgmental responses

  • Provide nonjudgmental responses

  • Cover topic’s main points

  • Use visual aids that fit client’s education, culture and interest



Correct misinformation gracefully

  • Correct misinformation gracefully

  • Assess client’s understanding of nutrition message

  • Encourage questions



Summarize the conversation

  • Summarize the conversation

  • Ask client what issue he/she is willing to work on



Assist client in setting goal(s) that is specific and realistic for family lifestyle

  • Assist client in setting goal(s) that is specific and realistic for family lifestyle

      • -Remember: client is the best judge of what will work
  • Document goal(s) in SPIRIT with client’s stage of change. Click here to access the Change Process module to refresh your knowledge and skills. Important Note: To return to the PowerPoint module, click on the back arrow at the upper left hand side of the screen.



Close on a positive note

  • Close on a positive note

  • Summarize what was discussed

  • Restate goal(s) and check for understanding

      • -Review any agreements, plans, referrals


Offer client chance to ask any final questions

  • Offer client chance to ask any final questions

  • Express appreciation for client’s time

  • Exhibit enthusiasm for follow-up.















The VENA Counseling session should include the following:

  • The VENA Counseling session should include the following:

  • Welcome and introduction

  • Establish rapport with client

  • Gather and assess information

  • Identify and explore client’s needs and concerns

  • Provide information

  • Discuss and set behavior change goal(s)

  • Close session



WIC works because WIC helps people make the important connection between health and nutrition. Our VENA counseling session is a way we can make this connection.

  • WIC works because WIC helps people make the important connection between health and nutrition. Our VENA counseling session is a way we can make this connection.

  • Through our counseling sessions, we have the chance to help people learn what good nutrition really is and how to fit good nutrition into their everyday life.



Thank you for your efforts to improve your education and counseling skills!

  • Thank you for your efforts to improve your education and counseling skills!

  • You deserve to feel good about your efforts at the end of every clinic day. You deserve to know you’ve made a real contribution – because you have!

  • Your efforts continue to make the Arkansas WIC Program one of the most successful public health programs ever!







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