GATHER Guide to Counseling
Counseling about family planning (FP) and other reproductive health issues requires a set of specific skills designed to facilitate informed decision-making. The GATHER approach to counseling--Greet, Ask, Tell, Help, Explain, and Return--has documented effectiveness in FP programs. The more of the GATHER elements a counselor uses, the more satisfied clients are with their care and the more likely they are to use contraception. This guide provides detailed information on each of the 6 elements of the GATHER model, including key phrases, sample provider actions, and teaching exercises. A chart presents information on available FP methods--mechanism of action, advantages, disadvantages, use requirements, and follow-up. Special sections address topics such as FP for women who are breast feeding, emergency oral contraception, and counseling adolescents. Other sections offer guidelines on responding to a client's feelings, "active listening," talking about sex comfortably, and advising without being controlling. Finally, a checklist is included so counselors can rate themselves on each of the GATHER skills. An earlier version of this guide has been used around the world for the past 10 years.