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Supportive Communication Exercise

Supportive communication can easily be defined as a process of engaging someone in a respectful way. I managed to settle down with my roommate in a bid to change his untoward behavior. He is fond of drinking and smoking in our room. The problem is further escalated by the fact that he seems so comfortable smoking in the room without minding the adverse health implications that the habit has not just on him but also to me; the roommate who is a non-smoker. We sat down with him. I managed to talk to and advise him on the matter. We both agreed to seek the best solution. It was so successful because I used the principles of supportive communication as follows (Desmond, 2009).

Developing rapport or mutual comfort

This is a process which involves getting close and friendly with someone in a bid to nature the right attitude towards you and what you are going to say. In this case, I welcomed him one evening when he was a bit sober and we started a chat first by asking him how he had been and the escapades which had made his day because I know him to be adventurous. He opened up to me and our talk was really animated and joyful. Then I told about an issue I wanted us to attend to as roommates and he agreed.

Clarify issues of importance

This involves looking at the impacts that a problem has on someone and outlining a need for a solution. This is the second step. I gave him statistics and reports on the trends and information on adverse effects of smoking on both the smokers and non-smokers. This aroused his interest because he confessed that he was in the know but did not have the real details. He further acknowledged that he was not ready to become a victim or be a part of the negative statistics I had given him.

Examine options for change

This step includes looking at the way forward in solving an issue at hand. Here, we looked at the options or rather ways in which both of us was going to handle the issue. We agreed that it was going to involve a difficult choice but then it was very important for him if he wanted to live longer and perhaps even achieve some of the goals that he had set in the mind. It was a bit precarious finding an option that was going to be easy to adopt.

Identifying a method that has highest potential to succeed

This stage is basically about analyzing various open options for change and focusing on one that is most likely to succeed. In this case, we evaluated some options to solve the problem that we had and settled on one. We decided that he would have to gradually reduce the number of cigarette sticks. If he used to smoke about five per day he would have to start taking three then two and slowly use one per day. With time he will get to completely abstain for some days. He was supposed to do this outside our room so that both of us would positively gain from the change process as well as augment each other's progress (Hargie, 2004).

Clarifying the potential cost of success for each method

This step entailed bearing in mind that each method we had contemplated on had a certain cost and uncertainty in that he was going to sacrifice. We also agreed that it would take courage and effort to stop a habit that he had now become accustomed to. He agreed with me that it would take a lot of sacrifices but since he was going to make a life-changing decision, he promised that he would go all the way to the end. In the end, he got connected to the issue at hand and saw the need to get a good outcome (Joseph, 2006).

Select the best plan of action

This is essentially determining the best way forward regarding the decision which we had arrived at. At this juncture, we decided that he would confer with me about any problems that he would encounter in the process. His schedule for limited smoking and finally abstinence would begin immediately. This was a bit difficult for him at first but then we mulled over the adverse effects of the problem at hand and we both agreed that there was a need for positive change and to show a real commitment it had to start immediately.

Evaluating the outcome of the action and the lessons learned

A closer examination of the decision we had made and the planned actions or rather course was the next logical step. We decided to take the matter seriously and reconsidered what we would manage to learn from the whole experience. In this case, we got to understand that what we would achieve from the whole process was that he was going to maintain good health for himself and other members of the room. The condition in our room would be made conducive for learning and living. Through the whole experience, he had realized the need for having good relationship besides making a good environment for him and others who reside under the same roof. Both of us realized that the process was beneficial not only to him but also those around him (Hargie, 2004).


This is a final step of the whole process and it involves ensuring that the decisions which were arrived at before are fully implemented. It is a challenging step because it is not always that the person in question should gauge himself but others chip in to assess if an entire process has been effective. For me, the process was successful because he never got to smoke again in the room and with time he really reduced in his smoking. Finally, he managed to abstain from the habit, restored his heath and maintained a good environment for him and all the members of our room.


The principles of supportive communication were effectively used to positively change a wayward behavior. The process involved an individual being talked to and actively engaged in a discussion and further became a part of the process in finding solutions as well as being the one implementing them. At first, we formed a rapport, clarified issues of importance, examined options, chose the best option, clarified the costs for each method, chose the best plan of action, evaluated the actions and lessons and finally made a timely follow-up. This process is effective and recommendable for guidance and counseling for positive behavior change.