3.6.1  Factors related to you

As a provider of family planning services, your ability to engage in effective communication, your technical knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours can influence the effectiveness of the counselling process. You will have your own values and beliefs on specific methods, and you must try not to let this show or you can affect the other person’s choice.

Stop reading for a moment and think about this from your own experience.

  • Sometimes you will be communicating with someone who differs from you in terms of their social status, gender or education. How will this affect the counselling process?

  • Irrespective of gender, social and educational status, you have to show every client respect, help them feel at ease, and encourage them to explain their needs, express their concerns and ask questions.

Respecting the rights of the client is essential to the quality and continuity of family planning services, including counselling. Box 3.3 below summarises the principles of the client’s rights in all aspects of family planning services.

Box 3.3  Summary of the rights of the client

Every client has the right to:

  1. Information — to learn about their reproductive health, contraception and abortion options.
  2. Access — to obtain services regardless of religion, ethnicity, age, and marital or economic status.
  3. Choice — to decide freely whether to use contraception and, if so, which method.
  4. Safety — to have a safe abortion and to practise safe, effective contraception.
  5. Privacy — to have a private environment during counselling and services.
  6. Confidentiality — to be assured that any personal information will remain confidential.
  7. Dignity — to be treated with courtesy, consideration and attentiveness.
  8. Comfort — to feel comfortable when receiving services.
  9. Continuity — to receive follow-up care and contraceptive services and supplies for as long as needed.
  10. Opinion — to express views on the services offered.

(Adapted from Huezo and Diaz, 1993)

3.6  Factors influencing family planning counselling outcomes

3.6.2  Factors related to the client