Group exercise feedback
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In groups of 4 (or 5 if necessary ) 1 client, 1 counselor, 2 observers per “round” Observers: Use feedback form provided Stay out of line of sight of counselor Be honest and respectful

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Group exercise feedback

In groups of 4 (or 5 if necessary)

1 client, 1 counselor, 2 observers per “round”

Observers: Use feedback form provided

Stay out of line of sight of counselor

Be honest and respectful

Client: discuss one of the following scenarios: how you chose your current job, a trip you took, your relationship with a friend, a mild problem or concern

Counselor: Be natural, don’t stress over what you say or do

Use questions, minimal encouragers, and paraphrases

Each session will be 5 minutes, then rotate so everyone plays all roles & observes (please change scenarios every round)

Discuss feedback immediately after each session ends

Group exercise: feedback

Chapter seven

Chapter Seven

Reflecting Feelings

Emotional intelligence
Emotional Intelligence

  • “The ability to monitor one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action”

  • Most people in this field naturally have emotional intelligence

  • Being able to recognize feelings in others, then verbally reflect them is a special skill

Reflecting feelings
Reflecting Feelings

  • Shows client you recognize their feelings & how it affects them

  • Listen & then express in your own words the emotions stated or implied by client

  • Clients become aware of emotions surrounding topic

  • May not have been conscious of feelings- or felt they shouldn’t have those feelings

  • Brings clients to deeper levels of disclosing


  • Clients more likely to report feelings in future

  • Even if not 100% accurate- client can correct you

  • Many clients underdisclose – allows them to open up

  • Deepens therapeutic relationship

  • Brings on feelings of relief for client


  • Beginning helpers can rely on reflections – supportive counseling

  • Clients feel more in control when feelings are labeled

  • Can help normalize their emotions when labeled by you

Difficulties in reflecting feelings
Difficulties in Reflecting Feelings

  • Must learn to hear the unexpressed emotions

  • Counselors can guess/ play a hunch – they can correct you

  • Culture and Gender affect expressing emotions

  • ???

  • Families whose message is “don’t let anyone see your feelings”

  • What emotions are “bad” or “good” for men vs. women?

  • First: Identify the feelings they are expressing

  • Second: Verbally reflect back to them as a statement-not question

  • Listen to each other during role-plays

  • Don’t jump in too soon with a feeling reflection

  • Imagine how the other person feels- then label it

  • Don’t imagine how YOU would feel- become the client

  • Pay attention to nonverbal clues too- not just words

Identifying feelings
Identifying Feelings

  • Joy

  • Sad

  • Anger

  • Guilt/Shame

  • Fear

  • Disgust

  • Surprise

  • Interest/Excited

  • Weakness

  • Strength

Formula for reflecting feelings
Formula for Reflecting Feelings

  • Two forms:

  • 1) “You feel ____________” or “must have been____”

  • 2) “You feel_____ because_______”

    • Connects emotions and content

    • Just a training tool- don’t always say it in this form- you’ll get used to doing it and different phrases will come to you

      Paraphrases can be combined with reflections of feeling

      “you feel let down because he didn’t live up to your image”

Identifying feelings1
Identifying Feelings

  • Brainstorm what feelings are possibly involved in the following:

  • “Life just doesn’t seem worth the struggle anymore. I just don’t think I can make it. I want to feel numb.”

  • “I think this is a complete waste of time! I never wanted to come. I wouldn’t be here if my husband didn’t make me. He has more problems than me!”

  • “The house is in constant turmoil. I never seem to have any peace or a minute for myself. If I sit down, the kids need food or they’re fighting. I never have time to relax or do my own thing.”

Role play

  • CLIENT: Take a minute to develop a scenario in which you have been ridiculed repeatedly/harassed- work, school, home. Make this a moderate difficulty. Key element is your many feelings-conflicting at times. Don’t be difficult. Initially you’ll have feelings (anger, confused) after exploration- more hurt, sad, betrayed. Go with the role play if it leads you into other emotions. Be realistic, respond as a real client would as best you can

  • COUNSELOR: Do your thing primarily using reflections- feelings and paraphrasing. Get feedback from client during the session- “do I have that right”? Experiment with OVER-using reflecting feelings- what happens? Note how YOU deal with the emotions of the client- delve in? gloss over? Take on as your own?

Common reflecting feelings problems
Common Reflecting Feelings Problems

  • Asking “how did you feel?” – says you don’t understand

  • Waiting too long to reflect

  • Turning reflection into a question – turns it into a closed question instead of allowing client to expand on named feeling(s)

  • Compound response- when you reflect then ask a question- client can respond to the reflection OR question- narrows their choices

  • Focusing on wrong person- clients often talk about others- keep reflections about CLIENT

  • Letting the client ramble (“let me stop you for a second” or “sorry to interrupt but I want to make sure I am hearing you right”)

  • Using think instead of feel and vice versa

    • If you can substitute the word THINK without changing meaning- that’s not a reflection of feeling

    • “you feel your husband should have been more receptive to you” this is NOT a reflection of feeling- no underlying emotions identified

    • Undershooting- reflecting a weaker feeling than they have

    • Overshooting- reflected too intense of a feeling

    • Parroting: using the same feeling words client used- expand vocab

    • Too long- letting your reflecting statements go on and on- you cannot reflect on everything they say! Be choosy.

    • Minimizing- “everyone would feel that way”

Some sentence stems for r f
Some sentence stems for R.F.

  • It sounds like…

  • It seems to me…

  • You’re feeling….

  • What I hear is…

  • I hear feelings of…

  • So you feel…

A video example
A Video Example

  • “Reflecting Feelings III”

  • What reflections were effective?

  • What feelings did he accurately reflect?

  • Any that were off?

  • What did you like or not like about the therapist?