Louise, a young woman, presented to Brian Throne with a great deal of physical and mental pain and had been subjected to cyclical depression for a umber of years, usually occurring during the month of February. Before providing details under a number of skills subheadings I would like to make a general comment on Throne’s capacity to summaries that which had been said by Louise at various stages throughout the session.
A common criticism of the person-centered approach is that it is merely re-hashing what the client has Just said, resulting in a very slow and not very dynamic process, Brian Throne shows here how both reflection and summarizing can have very quick and positive impact on the client, when carried out tit skill. When Throne summarizes he manages somehow to add an extra layer of understanding and complexity to his summary. Which seems to allow the client to not only agree but open to further exploration.
At one point during the session, Louise physically changes her posture and facial expression when Throne managed to not only reflect what had just been said but also added a layer of meaning that seemed hidden to the client. It is as if his reflection and summarizing has a synergistic and additive affect. In one particular instance he does this with a single word, ‘Personae? [22:01]. On other occasions he deftly follows his summaries with a gentle probing and allows the client enough silence and space to contemplate on what has been said and subsequently offer a reply.
I can only hope that someday I can apply even a tiny fraction of the skill shown by Brian Throne. Attending and Active Listening I have combined examples of these two skills since as Throne seamlessly applies these skills throughout the session. His body language, which includes a forward- leaning posture, mirroring of Louse’s facial expressions and genuine laughter at the appropriate times, all show a counselor staying in the present moment with his client throughout. He frequently verbalizes that he understands what she is saying and follows this up with impressive reflection and summarizing.
Reflective skills Although Throne applies this throughout I have chosen a particular time [37:38], which I believe is a good example of this skill. Throne says ‘It doesn’t seem genuine to you to plan anything? ‘ he Is asking this question since Louise describes how she has learned to adopt strategies in order to cope socially. She has done this for so long hat she is no longer sure which is the real her. She is taken aback by this summary and Throne Immediately states that he Is merely ‘holding it up to you’.
Although this almost literal example of reflecting skills, I believe it is very apt. Being Concrete Louise finds it difficult to start the session and Throne Immediately Jumps in to Empathy When Louise describes her constant planning and strategist for every social situation, Throne replies with ‘That’s so wearying? [23:38]; this to me is one of many obvious displays of empathy, which almost always get a positive response from the linen. Probing Throne probes throughout, always in a gentle and non threatening way.
These probes are almost always preceded by a brief summary and/or reflection. A very good example of this is when Throne asks Louise Why did you want to drink alcohol on the train? [27:07]. Asked by another counselor, this question might elicit a defensive response but Louise tentatively supplies an answer, which is subsequently expanded on after more gentle probing. Feedback When Louise asks Throne why he asked the question about why she wanted alcohol n the train, he provides succinct but gentle feedback, which allows the session to enter a new area.
He replies by saying ‘Because it seemed to me that you wanted to escape. ‘ [28:17]. Conclusion There are other examples of the skills described above throughout the session but I have tried to include the ones I felt allowed for a deeper relationship between counselor and client. I enjoyed this session very much and it has focused my attention on the skills required to help our clients acquire a greater awareness of themselves and their environments.