Ichose the first vignettethat spoke of Keisha.20-year-oldKeisha was put on academic probation after her GPA points dwindled.Additionally, she mentions that she is facing a crisis in herinterpersonal relations. Keisha deduced her life was getting out ofhand and decided to seek therapy. However, she imagines that some ofthese problems were created by her mother as she did not encourageher or push her hard enough into achievement.
COis the therapist and Keisha is the client.
Keisha:I’m having trouble at school and socializing with other people.Most of these skills I learnt from my mother.
CO:Could you please tell me more about your relationship with yourmother while growing up?
Keisha:Youknow, all of my problems can be tied back to my mother. She neversupported me growing up. She never encouraged me. It is like she justdidn’t care about me making anything of myself. If only she hadpushed me harder
CO:You are currently experiencing several personal and socialchallenges, and some of them are associated with the environment yougrew up. Is that correct?
Keisha:Yes, because she did not teach me how to be enthusiastic and hardy.
CO:Sounds like you feel both angry and disappointed at the way yourmother raised you. Do I hear you correctly?
Open-endedquestions create space for more meaningful responses from the client(Cooper, 2014). In this case, I would require more details fromKeisha regarding her connection between failure and her mother. Iwould, therefore, ask her, “Could you please tell me more aboutyour relationship with your mother while growing up?”
Acounselor should be able to paraphrase and reflect on the contentprovided by the client. This is a skill that communicatesunderstanding and empathy. Keisha’s statement regarding herproblems and link to her mother could be paraphrased as: “You arecurrently experiencing several personal and social challenges, andsome of them are associated with the environment you grew up. Is thatcorrect?”
Theessence of reflection is to make the client aware of any hiddenfeelings or emotions regarding the situation (Cooper, 2014). From herstatements, Keisha is feeling both disappointed and angry at hersituation. A reflective skill example I would use is, “Sounds likeyou feel both angry and disappointed at the way your mother raisedyou. Do I hear you correctly?”
Theinteraction with Keisha is an interplay between science and art.Without the empirical understanding of psychology, I would have mademany mistakes in the process. However, as an art, I was able to buildtrust with Keisha, craft the wordings in the most appropriate way, aswell as reflect and empathize with her.
Cooper,J. B. (2014). . In B. T. Erford, (Ed.)Orientation to the counseling profession advocacy, ethics, andessential professional foundations (pp.148-162) (2nd ed.). Columbus, OH: Pearson Merrill.