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Counselling Skills and Its Applications Assessment

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Added on: 2023-02-07 09:00:46
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The Definition of Counselling

There are many definitions of counselling from various sources. For the purpose of this assignment, these two statements have been chosen. In March 2010, 29 delegates that met at the American Counseling Association came up with a uniformed framework definition of Counselling. “Counselling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.” (Kaplan et al., 2014) Carl Rogers defined counselling as a professional relationship established between the counsellor and the client that helps facilitate growth for the client by showing empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence. (Rogers, 1942) Using the statements of the two, we come to a sense that counselling is a helping profession that helps enhance the wellbeing of an individual in whatever forms they need.

Role of Empathy in Counselling

The basis of empathy is in understanding the emotional states of the client and acting accordingly. The importance of empathy in counselling was first introduced by Carl Rogers where he identified empathy as a vital part of the therapeutic process. Empathy in counselling is in forming an understanding between counsellor and client, it is vital for building trust, communication and being a key to successful treatments. Subjective empathy allows a counsellor to relate to the feelings and emotions of their client. With interpersonal empathy, the counsellor tries to get in tuned with the client’s experiences and finally objective empathy where the counsellor uses the data and sources available to help understand the client further. Empathy helps the counsellor further imagine what it would really be like to place themselves in the shoes of their clients. A counsellor’s intuition is also vital in connecting with a client, the counsellors communications are further enhanced with the use of empathy. (Clark, 2010)

Role of Active Listening in Counselling

Active listening lets a client know that the counsellor is there to listen and focus on the client. Active listening helps empower the other skills a counsellor uses in counselling like empathy. Counsellors listen for the meaning in the client’s words and presents empathy and congruence towards the client by showing verbal or non-verbal cues. The use of continuers like “mmhmm”, is vital for the counsellor as it helps show their support or agreements without having to interrupt or interfere with the client’s talking. Continuers help to move the conversation along even when the client takes a pause in their speech. When counsellors use continuers, the client sees that even though the counsellor might not be using any words, the counsellor is actively listening to the client and remains involved when the client is talking. (Fitzgerald & Leudar, 2010)

Five Relevant Skills in Counselling

There are many skills used in counselling but only these selected five will be present in this essay. The skills used will be referenced from the transcript present in this essay. The aim of which is to provide clarity and understanding in the counselling skills mentioned below.

Attending (Psychological)

Psychological Attending is one of the most basic skills in counselling, counsellors show clients that they are readily present, fully focused and in tune with the client’s emotions and thoughts. (Kranz & Sanders, 2006)

Throughout the transcript, the student counsellor displays basic levels of psychological attending skills. The student counsellor remembers to be ever present for the student client and to support her throughout the counselling session. The student counsellor starts of by building a relationship with the student client. The student counsellor tries to make the student client more comfortable and is ever-present during the session as shown in line 15 of the transcript when he replies with “I’m here to listen and see if I can help in anyway”. Showing the student client that the student counsellor will be here to help in any capacity. In line 11 of the transcript, the student counsellor shows interest in reading up more about intermittent fasting in what seems to be an important part of the life of the student client. Showing the student client that the student counsellor is actively listening. From line 1-13, the student counsellor focuses on slowly building a comfort level for the student client by letting her take her time to open up on whatever she feels comfortable about. The student counsellor believes it is important for the student client to be in a comfortable state of mind, that way it is more likely that she will open up to him. In this case, the student client actually opens up without any prompting as shown in line 14 of the transcript. I believe the student counsellor shows a consistent amount of psychological attending skills throughout the session.

Responding with (basic) empathy

Remembering the basis of what empathy should look like in counselling, the onus is on the counsellor to use it effectively. The use of empathy in its basic form is present throughout the entire session as evidenced by the student counsellor acknowledging the student client’s responses and emotions. In line 20 of the transcript, the student client spoke about her mother’s behaviour towards her. In line 21, the student counsellor replied with empathy, acknowledging her feelings and how it must have been hurtful and painful to deal with. Again, in line 24, the student client talked about how she and her siblings have tried talking to her mother. In line 25, the student counsellor responds by acknowledging her frustration and also the effort that the student client and her siblings put in. The student counsellor believes that empathy is the most important part of the session as it helps show the student client that he is really listening and supporting her. The student counsellor displays a reasonable amount of empathy throughout the session.


Paraphrasing as a counselling technique is when a counsellor listens and rephrases what the client has said in an empathic and congruent manner. The importance of paraphrasing is in letting the client know that the counsellor is listening and has an understanding of the client’s words likewise letting the client know that the counsellor is willing to be corrected if his interpretation of what the client has said is wrong. (Culley & Bond, 2009)

In the transcript, there are many instances of paraphrasing, in line 17 of the transcript, the student counsellor paraphrases what the student client has said in line 16 while adding in empathy by inferring that this issue has been upsetting for her. In line 23 of the transcript, the student counsellor does so again but this time in an attempt to clarify and fully understand the statement that the student client has made. The student counsellor believes that paraphrasing is vital to providing empathy while getting a clearer picture and understanding of the student client’s words and issues. The student counsellor tried to use the skill of paraphrasing whenever he could and does a good job with it.


There are two forms of questioning that are commonly used in counselling, open and closed ended questions, open ended questions are questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no, thus getting the client to share more and helps the counsellor gather more information in the process. Closed ended questions are questions that can be responded to with little response like ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Which can be useful for counsellors if they need very sure and specific information from the client. Questioning is a very important skill that if used constructively can draw out and illuminate issues the client might be facing. (Ivey & Ivey, 2003)

In line 19 of the transcript, the student counsellor poses the question of where the root of the anger that student client feels for her mother stems from. With that question, the student client sheds light on the issue and explains in detail how her mother made her feel that anger inside. In line 29 of the transcript, the student counsellor enquires about the relationship between the student client and her siblings as he wanted to know if she gets some form of support system from her siblings and also whether she gets along with them. In lines 21 and 33, the student counsellor asks the student client about her coping mechanisms and what she uses or does to help her deal with the situation. The student counsellor wants to know and clarify a situation or issue with the client and believes that questions are the only way to do so in those moments. The student counsellor’s questions in those moments opened up more about the situation and were used appropriately and constructively.

Advanced Empathy

Advanced Empathy is a skill that a counsellor uses by identifying and expressing underlying themes based on what the client has said and inferring it and then presenting it to the client. Using advanced empathy as a counselling skill, the counsellor shares a perspective of what they believe to be present and helpful to the client. (Turock, 1980)

In line 27 of the transcript, the student counsellor displays advanced empathy into the student client’s feelings towards her mother by inferring that it must have been hard for her to have to deal with all these feelings when her mother should be the one who is taking care of her and her siblings. In line 29 of the transcript, the student counsellor again infers a hypothesis by saying that the student client takes on a big responsibility at home. Again, at line 31 and 33, the student counsellor goes beyond the surface and surmise that the student client must feel very lonely even when she’s with her family as she feels that she does not have the support of her family. In line 39, the student counsellor shows the skill of advanced empathy by guessing that the student client comes from a conservative family just from all the information he has heard from her and also inferring that she feels that she has ignorant relatives who doesn’t understand the problems she faces at home. The use of advanced empathy is important as it helps provide insight into the student client who could be less aware of her feelings in that moment and having the student counsellor reflect his point of view could be beneficial for her. The student counsellor has shown a basic ability to display advanced empathy throughout the later parts of the session.

Limitations and Challenges

The Student counsellor demonstrates a basic and rough understanding of what is required from a counsellor. In lines 1-13, the student counsellor and the student client engage in what seems to be an ice breaking session which can be important in getting to know the student client, but the student counsellor would also have to be more aware of the feelings of the student client. It seems in line 14 that the student client is very eager to talk about her feelings that she has been bottling up. The student counsellor could look to improve on his attending skills as a counsellor with his future clients and notice the intricate details like impatience or eagerness of his client. As this session was done with google docs, there was no interaction and a real sense of urgency in the responses, the student counsellor felt at times that he was not completely sure of how to respond and had to delete his words and rephrase them at times. In a real counselling session, counsellors do not have the luxury of doing that. A counsellor has to be astute, focused and constantly aware of how to react at any given time to anything the client says.

The transcript was lacking in two areas, the first was the skill of self-disclosure where a counsellor would share about his or her life outside the counselling relationship as a way to establish a more intimate connection with the client and to get the client more comfortable sharing their own intimate thoughts and feelings. (Audet & Everall, 2003) In this transcript, the skill of self-disclosure was non-existent. The counsellor could look to improve on this area as it could lead to and help with other clients who are more resistant to sharing.

Lastly, the skill of challenging was also non-existent in the transcript. Challenging as a skill in counselling helps get the client to move in a direction that might be more beneficial mentally for the client. In the transcript, the student client spoke a lot about her relationship with her mother and how she feels like she has done everything and now just chooses to escape her issues instead of confronting or managing it straight on. The student counsellor fails at pushing the client to face her problems up front. The student counsellor is afraid that he could be too harsh, judgemental or controlling and lose the client in the process. However, Ivey et al. (2013) suggest that challenging the client is a gentle skill that requires the counsellor to listen respectfully and intently before helping the client create a resolution that is more beneficial for the client.

Overall, the student counsellor displayed a basic and acceptable level of competency throughout the session and with the identification of possible limitations, the student counsellor has many points of improvements to strive to.

  • Uploaded By : Katthy Wills
  • Posted on : February 07th, 2023
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