In the majority of cases, these periods of silence are associated with the client who may be communicating emotional and relational messages of need and meaning. However, the authors point out that counselors and therapists often use silence to in order to communicate a host of messages such as allowing the client to know or understand that he/she is safe and/or use it to convey that they understand a message or communication from the client.
In an effort to better understand counselor's use of silence and the messages they are trying to convey, Ladany, Hill, Thompson and O'Brien (2004) interviewed 12 high experienced therapists, asking them how they perceived the use of silence in therapy. They stated that they often used silence to convey empathy, or to facilitate client reflection on certain topics. Many therapists reported that silences were also used to challenge the client to take responsibility, or to facilitate client expression of feelings. In some cases, the silence conveyed no message and was simply used for therapists to take