CHAPTER 7 11/16/2012 9:51:00 AM
OBSERVING AND REFLECTING FEELINGS: A FOUNDATION OF CLIENT
Introduction: reflection of feeling.
Defined: identify the key emotions of a client and feed them back to
clarify affective experience. With some clients, the brief
acknowledgement of feeling may be more appropriate. Often
combined with paraphrasing and summarizing
Predicted resultclients will experience and understand their
emotional state more fully and talk in more depth about their
feelings. They may correct the interviewer’s reflection with a more
Combined paraphrasing and reflection of feeling.
Paraphrasing client statements focuses on the content and clarifies
what has been communicated. Paraphrasing indicated to the client
that you have heard what has been said and encourage him to
move further in the discussion
o Paraphrase: Thomas, your father has been drinking a long
time, and your mom takes a lot. But now he’s started to be
violent, and you’ve been tempted to hit him yourself. Have I
heard you right?
o Reflection of feeling: (recognize key emotional words
expressed by the client) “it really hurt” “you are worried” “you
felt angry” –taken from the client’s exact main words
The language of emotion.
Primary emotions: SAD, MAD, GLAD, SCARED, SURPRISE, DISGUST
More on emotion.
Feelings are layered like onions, and as feelings become more
complex, clients may talk about conflicting emotional tones and a
single clear emotion vanishes
Clients can also express emotions that are not as clear, -you can be
especially helpful to a client and sort out their social emotions
Helping clients increase or decrease emotional expressiveness Observe non verbals
When tears, rage, despair, joy or exhileration come up
o Make sure you level your own emotions, if your client senses
you aren’t comfortable with that emotion, they will avoid it
o Help the client work through it,
Instructional reading: becoming aware of and skilled with emotional
May authorities argue that our thoughts and actions are only
extensions of our basic feelings and emotional experience
At the most basic level, the brief encounters we have with people
throughout the day involve our emotions, some pleasant others
At another level, our work and social relationships and the decisions
we make are based on emotional experience
In an interviewing situation it is good to help the client identify their
A basic feeling we have towards our parents and family is that of
love and caring, however negative emotions can also appear,
overwhelming and hiding the positive feelings, counselors have to
help clients sort them out
Trust between counselor and client is necessary for full emotional
Sometimes a brief acknowledgement of feelings is more important
than a deep exploration of feeling
Acknowledgement of feeling is especially helpful with children-
because they themselves may be unaware of what they are feeling
Observing client verbal and nonverbal feelings.
When a client says they feel sad or glad, then support the
statement with appropriate nonverbal behaviour, identifying
emotions is easy.
Many clients present subtle or discrepant messages because
theyare not sure how they feel Most obvious way to identify client feelings is to ask, ,how do you
feel about that? Could you explore any emotions that come to
With some clients, a closed question is more effective- does that
feel hurtful to you? Could it be that youre angry at them?
Other times the counselor will guess the clients feelings through
observation of body language and nonverbal ques and discrepancies
The counselor doesn’t necessarily respond to every emotion,
reflection of feeling must be timed to meet the needs of the client.
Sometimes its best to just note and leave it for later
The techniques of reflecting feelings
1. A sentence stem using the clients mode of receiving info
(auditory, visual,) say things like I hear you are feeling… and it
looks like you feel.. and sounds like… –sometimes these statements
are used so often they sound like the comical stereotype
2. A feeling label or emotional word is added to the stem, Jonathon,
you seem to feel bad about.. looks like you are happy… -for mixed
feelings, you can use more than one emotion. Maya, you appear