As part of community welfare curriculum, I need to role paly 20 minutes of counselling session with my colleague. Before the final role play I had done few days of practice sessions with my colleague. I was getting feedback from rest of the classmates and teacher as they would be the observers of the counselling sessions. I found the practice sessions challenging because my friend was acting as client. Even though I was playing the role of counsellor, my mind was struggling to consider my friend as client.
Before embarking upon my reflection regarding counselling, I would like to contribute a brief description of about the client. My client was 52years of old lady who was looking after her 72 years of old mother. She (mother of the client) was suffering dementia. The client hast two kids who are studying. As she was working seven days, she wasn’t getting time to ventilate her feeling to anyone. Actually she came to me with complaints of stress. She was afraid to tell her mother she was contemplating nursing home care.
Basically I was really focused on my micro skills rather than therapeutic skills” as they plays pivotal role in counselling skills more “I belief. The micro skills such as empathy, questioning, minimal encourages, paraphrasing , summary, eye contact, body language, voice, structure, observation, listening and reflection of feeling could germinate the pathways to motivate the clients to ventilate his or her deeper feelings and more over could help the counsellor to build up purposeful relationship with client. However I tried to involve bit of cognitive behaviour therapy specifically downward arrow and questioning technique.
As a counsellor my intention was to challenge her (client) about her irrational belief’ the mother would be upset when I tell about the need of nursing care ’. I tried to confront the client with the reality of situation by supporting the client to think of probable consequences such as “what‘s the worst that could happen if tell your mum about nursing home rehabilitation? ” And a part from that used technique of universalization by describing similar kind of experiences but it was not enough for my client get enough courage to face her issue. I tried the empty chair concept which I was extracted from gestalt therapy (Patterson, 1986).
The empty chair was failure, even though it nurtured the idea of asking the client “how would to response to a friend of having the same scenario”? That was the turning point as it brought insight to the client that I was anticipating her mother’s response and that was I worried more about rather than agony related to send mother to nursing home. All the counselling sessions were challenging because it was very hard to consider the colleague as a client and more over I was unsure in the beginning where to start, what I would ask, how in depth the session would be and so on.
On the basis of the feedback that I got, in the first few days of the counselling role play I was expressing insufficient empathy as I was not acknowledging properly the scenario of the client. The posture wasn’t good enough because I was swinging on my chair. According to my point of view I need to avoid giving advice or tendency of giving solutions as it violates the self-determination right of the client. The comments from my colleagues were very helpful as it helped me to stick in the main stream of counselling structure.
In my counselling interventions, the tendency of asking more questions and collecting information (exactly same as case history taking) was not uncommon. The tendency might be because I had taken many case histories before as part of social work studies. It was confusing rather than focusing on the client’s issue. For instance once the client told about the need of rehabilitation for her mother, I was diverted from her (client) stress and started to thinking of certain strategies to deal her mother’s issue (dementia) .
Therefore I just need to train myself to focus on the client issue. Feedback has a very good role in improving the skills of the counsellor. It helps to determine the area where improvement or modification is needed. For example I employed empathy but not enough to acknowledge the feelings of the client. The suggestions from my mates demonstrated the way we express empathy towards client’s feelings and also illustrated lots of relevant questions which I could ask to the client.
From the brief explanation of self-reflection of counselling skills, counselling mproves personal effectiveness (Narayana Rao, 2002). The counsellor aims to bring about positive action on part of counselee and change the perception or understanding (irrational belief) by him or her shelf. The counsellor should be skilful in employing micro skills and the practical application of some sort of therapies from the counsellors could be helpful to provide self-direction to client or client. The feedbacks or comments from clients, colleagues, supervisors and other organizational staffs bring improvement or development of skills among counsellors.
The counsellors themselves learn from experiences. Counsellor education and training or role plays stress the need of consistent approach in terms of counsellor’s experience, personality all reflects in his or her counselling. The practical sessions brings eligibility to counsellors to choose the style, ideas, principles, techniques and methods that appeal to him as meaningful and useful. The new insights from feedback enable the client to re-evaluate the ideas, principles, methods and modify or change according to client’s situation.
This role paly session was very helpful for me because it improved my skills of developing counselling relationship with client. Now I hope I know thoroughly how would start? Howe would motivate the client to ventilate his or her feelings? How would I approach therapeutically the client? And also I could learn how could use the technique ‘silence’ effectively? So over all this counselling role paly was a great opportunity to get insight into my advantage and dis advantage of counselling skills. Therefore I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to my faculty supervisor and my colleagues.