7 Tips on How to Motivate a Person to Disclose The Truth
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7 Tips on How to Motivate a Person to Disclose The Truth

Motivating a person to disclose something which he or she holds dear is a challenge that psychologists must surmount. Many people are not willing to divulge any personal information unless they find themselves in situations that will allow expression of their innermost feelings. But how can a counselor gain the trust of his clients? The article below describes specific steps on how to start a conversation and motivate a person to disclose even very personal matters.

A lot of people nowadays privately recognize that they need help yet it’s not easy for them to admit it openly. Thus, their needs are not catered. Being aware of it, this lead us to extend help to these people ventilate their deep seated emotions.

Primarily, the following are the tips on starting a conversation. These are essential things to be observed to ensure a meaningful tête-à-tête with a person.

  1. It is essential to establish rapport - this is considered as the most crucial part in a counseling session. We have to establish an open and warm environment which will help the counselee/person feel secure and accepted. The following are suggestions on how to establish rapport.
  • Do not go straight to the problem
  • Think of a lighter topic where in the counselee might be interested such as the traffic outside, favorite movies and books, weather etc.
  • Use humor to make them laugh so to ease the tension

 We need to create a relax and informal ambiance

  • It is advisable to remove any physical barrier but need maintain a comfortable distance
  • Mood should not be too stiff so that the counselee would feel comfortable to discuss even the very personal matters

We need to show that we are listening attentively – the person who feels that someone is interested to whatever she/he is talking about tend to share more and not withhold any information to the listener

  • Show appropriate emotion while listening
  • Maintain an attentive posture
  • Look at the face and eyes of the counselee/person

Secondly, to guarantee that the counselee/person would choose to divulge even those things within his/her guarded area, observe the following tips below.

1.    As we listen attentively, we have to examine these:

  • the emotions expressed by the counselee/person
  • the non-verbal cues such as the facial expressions, body language, etc. which contradicts with the feelings manifested or expressed

2.    We need to be sensitive on what he/she is trying to convey. Analyze the content of his/her topic because it may serve as a hint to a deeper problem. This will be the area you may need to explore later. Observe the following:

  • topics that seemingly insignificant yet being discussed repeatedly maybe in different ways
  • topics wherein the counselee/person seem to avoid discussing certain issues
  • confusing topics

3.    When you notice that the person finds it hard to express his/her emotions, you may opt to provide other stuff on which they can relate their feelings such as stuffed toys, pillows, stress balls, etc.

4.   Penetrate the guarded area of the counselee/person – if we are able to recognize those information even if the counselee/person is trying to withhold from us, we will be able to gain his/her respect and he/she will thought that we truly and genuinely interested in helping him/her.

Many times, people do not easily confide for the reason that they need to be sturdily assured to whether the person they are dealing with are really concerned with them.  But if the counselor is able to identify what they are trying to hide from him/her, the counselee will be confident to disclose because they feel that they are important.

We have to be reminded that to every person, the issue of trust is very important. Since there are people who entrusted us their issues in life, it is a necessity for us to take care of that trust. Always consider that the moment they reveal to us information about themselves, they know for a fact that their dignity is, at that very moment, at stake which makes them vulnerable. Hence, confidentiality must strictly be observed.

©2012 March 29 Rowena Fernandez

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Comments (3)

iteresting info, thanks

Thank you Rowena. This article is very useful for those of us who are practicing social work to assist people in their different courses of life.


this would greatly help in psychological interviewing.thanks.