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Skills analysis

In this essay I will be analysing and reflecting on a practice counselling session recording (u1837609- 13 December 2018 at 12:12:59 week 11) where I have taken on the role of a counsellor in training whose client is facing some issues within the home. Through observing this video recording of the session I have been able to analyse and reflect on the range of counselling skills I have implemented. This essay will also focus on the ways these skills have been used in order to gain a greater understanding of what my client is experiencing day to day, and consider various methods to try and resolve these issues.

I opened the session by greeting the client and contracting which involved me briefly explained my role as a trainee-counsellor, indicated the length of time I had to spend with him which was 15 mins and then proceeded to explain the issue of confidentiality. Following that I asked if he had any questions and to start when he felt comfortable.

One of the core skills demonstrated was attending; avoiding interrupting the client during recall in order not to disrupt the clients’ trail of thought. I opted rather to use non-verbal and minimal verbal encouragers in order to show the client I was present and engaged with them. The non-verbal attending skills I displayed were my use of body language more specifically leaning forward, keeping eye contact and using my facial expressions in order to show interest. I also noticed I used minimal encouragers such as nodding quite often during the session in a bid to show my client my understanding what they were relaying to me and use non-verbal cues to guide them through the recollection.

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An example of active listening which was constant during the session was my use of paraphrasing in order to clarify if my understanding of what the client was explaining was accurate as well as to ensure my client felt they were a part of the process. At 2:56 in the recording I made reference to the heavy workload which the client had previously mentioned, “so you mentioned earlier that you had a lot going on, a lot of workload in terms of with work and uni its seeming to me that at home you have to do a lot of work there as well?”. My client confirmed this clarification to be correct and it allowed me to identify one of the key issues my client had presented whilst also ensure my client could see I was engaged with the session.

In order to aid the client to self-reflect on the root cause of what they were feeling, I used the skill of asking probing and challenging questions. One example of this was at 5:34 when I asked the client “would you say that you guys I don’t know, have some issues surrounding maybe to do with the partner more so rather than to do with your mother?” As a response my client stated “I’m happy you mentioned that because…” This skill was key in directing the client to reflect on whether the issues stemmed from his relationship with his mother or with her partner more so which I sensed was an area to further discuss. Rather than opting for closed questions, the use of open questions gave my client the opportunity to reflect on what they were saying and to allow for the continuation of the dialogue between us which close questions may have prohibited.

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According to Carl Rogers “Person centred approach” (1961), the three necessary conditions for an effective counselling relationship between the counsellor and client were empathy, unconditional positive regard (acceptance) and genuineness (congruence). Having such a short space of time to work with my client on this I knew it was vital to implement all three conditions within our session.

To convey empathy to my client I focused on empathetic reflection at (time) where I said to the client “it seems like the environment you are in is not really allowing you to become fulfilled as a person… have you considered maybe finding a way to get out of that place?”. Having picked up on my client distress regarding the situation he was in and providing a suggestion of change the client was more able to see I had heard them and was actively trying help him explore ways he could a solution to the problem which allowed or the development of a helping relationship with my client.

In order to continue with the development the helping relationship between my client and myself I tried to convey genuineness during my session by focussing on being as congruent as possible in the hopes of allowing my client to do the same. I tried to keep the tone in which I asked questions as non-judgemental as possible and phrasing questions in a way that was direct and clear for the client. By doing this the client was able to trust me and open up which otherwise may not have been possible.

To effectively counsel I aimed to show and keep a state unconditional positive regard towards the client. During my own practice counselling session I observed a key moment in which I displayed that when my client said “..”. This statement was something that I personally couldn’t relate to as I did not hold the same viewpoints. However despite this I made sure to show the client that whilst I couldn’t relate personally, I still understood why he felt that way and avoided any negative body language or facial expressions which may have caused the client to feel judged and to close off. By responding the way I did, my client was able to continue with the session hopefully feeling safe enough within the space to communicate effectively for a future change to occur within the helping relationship.

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