A simple maze can be solved from the beginning. You move through a few simple turns and find yourself at the exit. If the maze is more complex, it makes more sense to start at the end and track your way back to the beginning. Life is much the same.
When facilitating a person towards recovery, the dynamic created between yourself and the person you are assisting has some important components. It is well known that the quality of the dynamic between people is incredibly important in building trust. With trust, one can be a support, a source of worth while information and someone to confide in. If this dynamic is not built well, there is no point in having any answers, methods, skills or knowledge about health. Without trust, it counts for naught.
It is also important to note that once you have trust, you have to have the rest of the skills too, otherwise you are like someone selling the front of the microwave, without the oven part.
To begin building trust, you must prove your ability to listen to another.
Basic listening skills are well documented, and it is redundant for me to go into this here (unless people request it of course – and you can request things for me to explore in the comment section below).
So here is a more advanced concept. The focus of where you listen shifts as the relationship develops. If you imagine yourself and the person you are facilitating facing each other. If the focus is only on the other person, way over there, then you are much like an impartial scientist, observing their experiment. There is no warmth, no care, not you. If the focus is all on you, then who are you there for?
To begin with, the focus should be closer to the other person than yourself. This shows that you have great interest in the other person, and you recognise their higher level of need. However the focus is not just on them, else the other person will only feel scrutinised and you will seem cold.
To build a level of warmth and humanity into your discussion, include some aspects of your life in the conversation. There are somethings that are not appropriate to discuss, and some things you may not want to discuss. Know these boundaries before you begin the conversation, and go by feel as your conversations become more complex. For example, I often tell people I have a child, a partner, have difficulties with my life and so on. Ensure your focus does not shift to being on you. You are telling the person you are facilitating towards recovery this information for a reason. You must develop the meta mind such that you can observe the conversation and ensure you keep that focus more over there than here.
As the relationship develops and the other person needs less help, the focus can shift closer to the mid-point between you. As the focus approaches the middle, it is now important to recognise that your role as facilitator is nearing an end. What you do next depends on if you are in a paid position, a peer or a friend.