In counselling, as in general life, the
value of the relationship is based on the effort and time invested in
establishing it. The role of counsellor is similar to that of a friend in that
relationship, whereby it is cultivated over time, through sharing feelings and
issues that one’s experience in life. However, what set the counsellor apart is
his/her ability and experience to apply counselling theories and skills to help
people to gain awareness and understanding into their issues and explore for a


The purpose of this essay is to reflect
upon the use of counselling skills, which I have applied to a role-play with
the objective of establishing a therapeutic relationship with the client. I
will give an analysis of skills that has been successfully employed and examine
areas whereby improvement could be made to build on the overall effectiveness
of the counselling session.  


In the role play, I performed the role
of the counsellor providing help to a client, Kevin, who has presented with
issues concerning anger at work, communication difficulty with his wife and
grieving over the loss of a close childhood friend.


Roger, 1961 stated the overall
hypothesis in one sentence: “If I can provide a certain type of relationship,
the other person will discover within himself the capacity to use that
relationship for growth, and change, and personal development will occur” (Rogers, 1961,
I have applied the person-centred approach developed by the late Carl R.
Rogers, founder of the humanistic psychology movement for this role play.

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Roger believed that people will, if
given the right conditions and opportunities, move towards autonomy and
self-direction (Rogers, 1961). In order for the
person-centred therapy to effect real changes and growth within the
client , there are three core conditions which a counsellor will needs to convey
effectively when developing a therapeutic relationship with the client: (i) the
counsellor must be completely genuine (congruence), (ii) the counsellor must be
non-judgemental and valuing of the client (unconditional positive regard) and
(iii) the counsellor must strive to understand the client’s experience

I opened the session with a warm
greeting and proceed to break the ice with Kevin by engaging him with assurance
that I will try my best to answer any questions that he has.

From the start, I wanted Kevin to feel
comfortable and relaxed, thus adopted a non-official demeanour and non-threatening
approach. Also I attempted to create a safe and assuring environment for Kevin
to disclose his issues and develop a sense of trust by conveying to him that
all discussions between us will be kept strictly confidential. I highlighted to
him the conditions when such confidentiality might needs to be compromise.  Overall, my intended goal was to get Kevin to
open up by establishing a trusting relationship between us. I believe this goal
has been successfully attained.

In the role play, the first area of
reflection focuses on the use of attending skills. Mcleod (2007, p26) explains
the counsellor leads the way by following the client, this can be achieved by
using verbal and non-verbal cues to encourage the client to tell their story. I
focused my attention on Kevin by assuming an attentive posture and maintaining
steady and appropriate eye contact. I was also mindful to ensure open body
language through the session which I felt that I could further improve in the
open posture.  

p151) purports that the role of effective questioning is to enable the client
to assist in identifying, clarifying and breaking down their problems with …I
commenced the conversation with an invitation for Kevin to talk by an open
ended question,” would you like to tell me what bring you here today?” this
helped me to identify the issue at hand. I then followed up by summarizing what
I heard and followed up with another opened question designed to elicit more
information, “is there any particular thing that trigger off this issue?”                                    


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