Module No. 2207B, 9th March 2012
Brian Thorne and Louise
Review of session in terms of counselling skills
This counselling session involves Brian Thorne, renowned person-centred therapist and his client Louise. Unlike other teaching aids where counsellor and client meet for the first time, Brian Thorne has already seen Louise at least twenty times before. This gives the viewer a unique perspective on the counselling relationship at a more advanced stage. Louise, a young woman, presented to Brian Thorne with a great deal of physical and mental pain and had been subjected to cyclical depression for a number of years, usually occurring during the month of February. Before providing details under a number of skills subheadings I would like to make a general comment on Thorne’s capacity to summarise that which had been said by Louise at various stages throughout the session. A common criticism of the person-centred approach is that it is merely re-hashing what the client has just said, resulting in a very slow and not very dynamic process. Brian Thorne shows here how both reflection and summarising can have very quick and positive impact on the client, when carried out with skill. When Thorne summarises he manages somehow to add an extra layer of understanding and complexity to his summary, which seems to allow the client to not only agree but open to further exploration. At one point during the session, Louise physically changes her posture and facial expression when Thorne managed to not only reflect what had just been said but also added a layer of meaning that seemed hidden to the client. It is as if his reflection and summarising has a synergistic and additive affect. In one particular instance he does this with a single word, ‘Personae?’ [22:01]. On other occasions he deftly follows his summaries with a gentle probing and allows the client enough silence and space to contemplate on what has been said and subsequently offer a reply. I can only...
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