9) Summarising – Summaries are longer paraphrases. They condense or crystallise the essence of what the client is saying and feeling. Summaries usually cover a longer time period than a paraphrase. We are “reflecting back” wheras paraphrasing can be used after a few sentences. A summary may be used after some time: perhaps half-way through a counselling session, or near the end of a counselling session. The summary ‘sums up’ the main themes that are emerging.
Summaries are useful:
• To clarify emotions for both the counsellor and the client.
• To review the work done so far, and to take stock.
• To bring a session to a close, by drawing together the main threads of the discussion.
• A summary may be used to begin a subsequent session, if appropriate.
• To identify a common theme (or key points) that may have occurred throughout the counselling sessions and then start the process of focusing and prioritising ‘scattered’ thoughts and feelings
• To move the counselling process forward e.g. by giving the client building blocks to use to prepare for the next session.
10) Challenging – There are a number of situations when a client may benefit from gentle challenging. There are multiple skills from which a counsellor can choose when challenging a client. Challenging should always be done with empathy, so counsellors are encouraged to avoid challenging to meet their needs, instead of the client’s.
Q2 Describe how core counselling skills can be used in a counselling relationship and in other helping activities. (1.2)
Core counselling skills are necessary tools used by trained counsellors to help clients through issues, for example by genuinely and actively listening to a client, showing them unconditional positive regard, empathetic understanding, and then questioning them and paraphrasing, reflecting and summarising as necessary and if you’re truly skilled enough – challenging the client. Core counselling skills when used by counsellors with thought and care – can help move the counselling process forward. Using counselling skills in a counselling relationship enables clients to become less distressed and to lead more constructive, satisfying lives.
Core counselling skills are really ‘the art of listening’ and are practised by any number of people in any number of “helping activities”/work roles, not just in counselling.
Some of the professions where counselling skills are used include:
• Social work
• Careers Advisor
• Staff development Officer
However, the ‘art of listening’ through ‘helping activities’ can be practised by almost anybody. At some point in their lives, people will find themselves in situations where they take on the role of counsellor without having had any training or understanding of the concept of counselling. This is quite common when a friend or family member needs some guidance (where one might genuinely and actively listen to a friend, show them unconditional positive regard, empathetic understanding, and then questioning them and paraphrasing, reflecting and summarising as necessary and if they are a close friend one might feel confident and safe enough to challenge them).