In counselling, as in general life, thevalue of the relationship is based on the effort and time invested inestablishing it. The role of counsellor is similar to that of a friend in thatrelationship, whereby it is cultivated over time, through sharing feelings andissues that one’s experience in life. However, what set the counsellor apart ishis/her ability and experience to apply counselling theories and skills to helppeople to gain awareness and understanding into their issues and explore for aresolution.
The purpose of this essay is to reflectupon the use of counselling skills, which I have applied to a role-play withthe objective of establishing a therapeutic relationship with the client. Iwill give an analysis of skills that has been successfully employed and examineareas whereby improvement could be made to build on the overall effectivenessof the counselling session. In the role play, I performed the roleof the counsellor providing help to a client, Kevin, who has presented withissues concerning anger at work, communication difficulty with his wife andgrieving over the loss of a close childhood friend.
Roger, 1961 stated the overallhypothesis in one sentence: “If I can provide a certain type of relationship,the other person will discover within himself the capacity to use thatrelationship for growth, and change, and personal development will occur” (Rogers, 1961, p33).I have applied the person-centred approach developed by the late Carl R.Rogers, founder of the humanistic psychology movement for this role play. Roger believed that people will, ifgiven the right conditions and opportunities, move towards autonomy andself-direction (Rogers, 1961). In order for theperson-centred therapy to effect real changes and growth within theclient , there are three core conditions which a counsellor will needs to conveyeffectively when developing a therapeutic relationship with the client: (i) thecounsellor must be completely genuine (congruence), (ii) the counsellor must benon-judgemental and valuing of the client (unconditional positive regard) and(iii) the counsellor must strive to understand the client’s experience(Empathy). I opened the session with a warmgreeting and proceed to break the ice with Kevin by engaging him with assurancethat I will try my best to answer any questions that he has. From the start, I wanted Kevin to feelcomfortable and relaxed, thus adopted a non-official demeanour and non-threateningapproach. Also I attempted to create a safe and assuring environment for Kevinto disclose his issues and develop a sense of trust by conveying to him thatall discussions between us will be kept strictly confidential.
I highlighted tohim the conditions when such confidentiality might needs to be compromise. Overall, my intended goal was to get Kevin toopen up by establishing a trusting relationship between us. I believe this goalhas been successfully attained.In the role play, the first area ofreflection focuses on the use of attending skills. Mcleod (2007, p26) explainsthe counsellor leads the way by following the client, this can be achieved byusing verbal and non-verbal cues to encourage the client to tell their story.
Ifocused my attention on Kevin by assuming an attentive posture and maintainingsteady and appropriate eye contact. I was also mindful to ensure open bodylanguage through the session which I felt that I could further improve in theopen posture. Nelson-Jones(2005,p151) purports that the role of effective questioning is to enable the clientto assist in identifying, clarifying and breaking down their problems with …Icommenced the conversation with an invitation for Kevin to talk by an openended question,” would you like to tell me what bring you here today?” thishelped me to identify the issue at hand. I then followed up by summarizing whatI heard and followed up with another opened question designed to elicit moreinformation, “is there any particular thing that trigger off this issue?”