Reflective Essay on Counselling Session

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Analyse A personal counselling session
Counselling Skills 1

Counselling sessions can help us work through a range of personal issues from everyday hardships to potentially life threatening situations. In this reflective essay I propose to put theory to practice by analysing and reflecting upon a one hour session with a professional counsellor. The session is to be recorded so I can refer to particular instances during the session. By discussing this particular experience in detail, I can begin to understand the specific skills a counsellor may use in many different situations in order to help others (Egan, 2007, p. 13). In this reflective essay I will focus on particular areas of face-to-face counselling that could often be overlooked such as body language, empathy, rapport building and questioning. These subtle skills a counsellor could use may seem insignificant, when really it can determine the difference between a helpful or a non helpful session. Before the session I was un-sure of what to expect as I had not previously received any professional counselling to my discredit. Feelings of nervousness and anxiousness came over me on the way to the session as I was unsure where to start or how in depth the session would be. I seemed to prioritise in my head what issues in my life I would focus on and I also thought about what specific questions the counsellor may ask. Generally, when I meet new people I always seem to have feelings of apprehension to how they will perceive me. I worried about talking too openly as I felt I had many personal issues in my life during this particular period. The thought of exposing these issues scared me as I was unsure of how I or the counsellor may react. After seeing the receptionist, I sat in the waiting room, feeling a little calmer as the staff were approachable and friendly and also because I was the only person in the waiting room. I barely started reading a terrible magazine when my new counsellor came to greet me with a warm smile and her right arm outstretched, signalling the direction her office was. I noticed the empathy she expressed from my first impression of her in the form of these signals (Egan, 2007, p. 66). I instantly felt a little relieved as now the initial face-to-face meeting was over and done with. She maintained constant eye contact and she had a re-assuring expression on her face which made the first greeting easy and comfortable (Egan, 2007, p. 69). Initially, the female counsellor said ‘Hi Andrew, now before we start we will just go through some quick paperwork to get it out of the way.’ I didn’t realise at the time, but this could be used as a technique to help the client to feel more relaxed and open at the start of the session. At the time it seemed like a logistical process but I noticed she started taking notes immediately and she seemed professional and proficient enough to not let it intervene with the flow of conversation (Clarke, 1998, p. 151). In hindsight, it seemed a valuable technique to bring about open and free talking from my perspective. The paperwork, which consisted of questionnaires involving a ranking system, was completed and the counsellor then suggested “now let’s talk about your history, starting from your family.” At this point, the conversation between the counsellor and I was flowing and there was already a relaxed atmosphere after the initial paperwork. I did not feel the nervousness i had felt before I arrived so I did not have any trouble talking openly of my siblings and parents. I noticed the counsellor was very good at allowing me to speak and go off on different tangents as I suspect many clients do (Egan, 2007, p 77). She was calm, warm and friendly. I noticed this upon our first greeting in the waiting room and consistently throughout the session. It was very hard to avoid her eyesight when she was talking and she...
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