The purpose of this essay is to analyse a face to face interaction between myself and a client during the course of the Counselling Skills programme. Extracts of verbatim will be used in order to demonstrate different counselling skills that were used throughout the practice session. I will then go on to do a critical analysis of the skills used, and will conclude with a discussion about my personal development throughout the course. After setting the scene with my client and talking through the essential ground rules, including confidentiality, we began the session. I began by explaining that we had 40 minutes and that it was up to my client how she wanted to use the time. Rosie, who’s name I have changed for the purpose of anonymity, then proceeded to talk about her thoughts and concerns about being self employed and having her own shop and moving in to a flat with her partner. Extract 1
Client: “At the moment I’d like to continue..but obviously I’ve got to think about the financial things and whether it’s the right thing to do or not, because at the moment I’m just constantly in my overdraft and never really get out of my overdraft…. It would be nice to have a bit of money coming in but I don’t really know what the best option to do is…umm” Counsellor: “Sounds like you’re pretty confused”
Client: “Yeah.. I’d say very confused at the moment, and as much as your friends and family give you advice.. I think it’s very.. personal .. about my shop. I cried last week because I just felt so confused..” Counsellor: “I get the sense you’re feeling quite.. frustrated” Client: “Yes, really frustrated. I can’t continue with my shop the way things are going and I just don’t know what to do.” The above extract shows my use of reflection. In both instances, I have sensed some emotional content from the client and have offered this back to her gently in an attempt for her to clarify whether my senses were correct. On each occasion, my reflections prompted the client to clarify her feelings to me and to elaborate on those feelings. This extract is from about five minutes into the session; I found that when the client started to talk, she started to flow and I did not feel that there was an appropriate opportunity to communicate verbally. Instead, I mainly used non-verbal communication and active listening. Throughout the session, I used ‘microskills’ from the SOLER acronym (Egan, 1994- from class handout) and tried to keep my posture open and maintain eye contact with the client. Extract 2
Client: “I suppose, being self employed, it has its ups and downs.. you don’t know what to predict each month, like what it’s gonna be like.. but it’s, er, yeah very confusing at the moment, but I think only time will tell really… I’ll see how it all goes this month and take it from there really. ..see how that goes..umm” Counsellor: “Sounds like you’re spending quite a lot of time weighing up, sort of, the positives and negatives” Client: “Yeah..yeah definitely. I think..yeah I think I’ve got to be realistic..as much as it is my dream to have my own shop, I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved..umm..I enjoy doing what I’m doing there which is fantastic Counsellor: “Fantastic”
Client: “.. I think you’ve got to think about whether you’re making money at the end of the day because there’s only so much money I can throw into it..um, and I have had it for a year now.” In this extract, I picked up on when the client talked about ‘ups and downs’ as she seemed to put emphasis on this. I therefore attempted to offer this back to her in my own words by paraphrasing using ‘positive and negatives’ to show that I had understood her feelings. This then prompted the client to continue talking about her feelings and her speed accelerated slightly as well which I believe was a positive thing.
This extract is taken from a point a few minutes later when the client started talking about a different subject, her feelings about moving out from her...
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