OARS – Open-Ended Questions, Affirmations, Reflective Listening, Summarizations
Posted by dkwinter

OARS—a set of verbal and non-verbal communication skills that helps clinicians and educators in primary care practices to engage and build rapport with patients and assess their needs. --Source


    • Open-ended questions ask for more information, a further explanation that requires a longer discussion of the situation. It is the opposite of questions that elicit only “yes” or “no” answers.
      • Tell me more about…
      • Can you say a little bit more about…
      • What was …..like?
      • What else?
      • Say more about…
    • Affirmations are statements that show appreciation or understanding of a person’s situation or experience. They are not compliments – they are observations of ability, decision, or realization. This must be completely sincere without any tinge of irony or sarcasm.
      • That sounds like….
      • That must have been…
      • The steps you are taking show a great deal of …
      • It took a lot of strength to…
      • It appears that you are going through …
      • It must have taken a lot of work to…
    • Use any of the following words that might fit
      • brave self-control kindness  painful  genuine
        generous  dilemma  honorable  betrayal  restraint
        indignity  hard work  obstacles  hurdles  character
        will power  concern  willingness  sensitivity  strength
        pressure  inspirational abuse authentic patience
    • Reflections are statements that show the person you are listening, understanding while also asking for more information or corroboration.
    • To the statement, “I don’t need a job right now.”
      • A simple reflection is: So what I hear you saying is you’re okay without any employment right now.
    • Summarization is pulling all the current information into perspective so you know you both are on the same page, with understanding that the information exchanged is correct. Check it out.
      • So what we’ve been talking about is…Am I on the right track?
      • So my understanding of what you’ve been describing is… Is that right?

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