When trying to communicate with clients, oftentimes there are barriers that prevent effective communication. Nonverbal barriers include facial expressions, posture, voice, and physical proximity to the client, while verbal barriers include inherently destructive verbal responses and counterproductive patterns of communication.

Counterproductive patterns of communication are barriers that prevent effective communication with clients, and they contain these sub-categories:

1. Inappropriate use of questions
2. Inappropriate or excessive interruption
3. Dominating interaction
4. Fostering social interaction with a client
5. Passive responding
6. Parroting and overuse of phrases or cliches
7. Dwelling on the remote past
8. Inappropriate use of self-disclosure

Self-disclosure can be an effective means for the counselor to find the "real person" in the client. At the same time, however, self-disclosure should not be used too much, as it will steer the attention of the counseling session away from the client. Also, if the counselor allows too much self-disclosure, then the client may begin to doubt the counselor's ability to lead the session with discretion, as well as his/or her trustworthiness. The client may also begin to believe that the counselor is preoccupied with himself/or herself. Lastly, if the counselor is leading an addictions session then he/or she should know that self-disclosure is used more often in that type of situation.