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Counselling Assignment: Understanding Micro-Skills Utilisation For Effective Counselling


Task: Write acounselling assignment explaining the role of basic counselling skills in effective counselling. You can refer to the role-plays and live skills demonstrations you have observed/watched so far. You need also to consider each of the micro-skills listed below:

- Demonstrating empathy
- Reflecting on content
- Reflecting on feelings
- Clarifying
- Asking open-ended questions.

Ask yourself how these micro-skills are utilised in facilitating effective counselling session What role do they play in a helping process What are the risks and limitations of each of them


According to the research on counselling assignment, it is stated that counselling refers to the potential process related to building proper associations and relationships with different individuals, which empower them for accomplishing both mental-health and wellness. In this concern, it also involves empowering individuals in terms of their education and career goals while setting better life standards both physical and mental aspects. This essay will provide a proper understanding of different micro-skills utilisation for facilitating best possible effective form of counselling session. Furthermore, risks and limitations associated to each skill are illustrated for bringing out best possible discussion associated with this context.

Critical Discussion
Role of basic counselling skills in effective counselling

The counsellor needs to develop as well as expand their potential skills and some specific features, which can help in establishment of a smooth and better counselling process. Such skills comprises of features, like demonstrating potential empathy, reflecting on client’s feelings as well as content while staying unbiased during the entire process. It involves a potential collaborative association between proper counsellors with their clients (Carkhuff, 2017). Role-play is effectively used in counselling for observing moral establishment of the client while helping them to create alternate conclusions of their felt past experiences. It helps in increasing decision-making ability among clients; therefore facilitating effective counselling (Cuijperset al. 2019).

A proper clarification is a major skill during the counselling process while inquiring the client with open-ended form of questions helps in facilitating an effective form of counselling process. Through these mentioned micro-skills, it becomes effective for the counsellor for encouraging their client towards examining regarding different parts of their lives and issues (Chen &Rybak, 2017). It helps to explore different experiences and illustrate the major issues or disturbances that the client has been facing in different circumstances. The following sections will enhance understanding of ways in which these skills facilitates effective counselling.

Demonstrating empathy in effective counselling
Showing empathy towards clients enables the counsellor to assure that they are aware regarding the client’s emotions as well as feelings. It is noteworthy that empathy implies more than only being ‘sympathetic’. Rather, it asserts that the counsellor tends to understand ways in which the client has been feeling, following which suitable and meaningful questions are asked that helps the client to optimal conclusions. Nature related to empathy is further potentially rooted in terms of helping others, specifically in terms of empowering them for helping themselves. Therefore, it is an essential skill region for the counsellors, for facilitating effective form of counselling session.

Demonstrating proper empathy towards the client helps in playing a major role in terms of helping process. It helps to gain the client’s trust through showing counsellor’s understanding of their client’s feeling surrounding and experiences. It helps in recognising client’s emotions and accept their interpretation of the problem while respectfully support the client through any form of concerns or issues (Joyce & Sills, 2018). However, empathy demonstration can be subjected to limitations and risks. Firstly, limitations include eroding of potential counselling ethics and lack of proper ethical judgment while proceeding with the counselling session. Risk include, lack of cognitive resources while proceeding with the counselling session. Desire to be empathetic and reasonable at the same time can be exhausting and can result in proper counselling approaches. For examples, while incorporating “Person-Centred Therapy”, counsellor tends to demonstrate both empathy and unconditional optimal regard, however stereotypical attitude from clients can lead to loss of counselling-ethics and proper treatment can be delayed (Cuijperset al. 2019).

Reflecting on content as a major counselling part
It is noteworthy that reflecting on content of client is a major micro-skill, which is utilised effectively in counselling sessions for accurately explaining client’s state and condition from both their verbal as well as non-verbal cues. In this context, reflection of content skills involves reflecting back potential content regarding client has stated experiences. While reflecting on content, counsellors tends not to repeat whatever has already been stated by the client but it involves picking-up most important form of content data or information and rephrasing the statement for feeding the same back to the client (Wampold, 2019). It plays major role in terms of facilitating an effective form of counselling session through involving reflection related with perceived emotional influence related to client. It increases direct communication as the client tries to communicate more and continue talking of their previous experiences.

It helps in better analysis of the client’s situation, thereby utilising most pro-active form of micro-skill of the counsellor. As a result, wide range of various questions can be asked to the client, that turns out to be extremely useful in terms of raising energy related to conversation with client and encouraging them to talk regarding their issues and experiences. However, it is also subjected to risk of “overuse reflection”, which indicates that re-using or re-phrasing client’s experiences too much can result in intriguing annoyance or irritation among the clients (Cuijperset al. 2019). Additionally it is limited to non-verbal behaviour of the client, in which the client might sit quietly and not responding. Therefore, these risks need to be addressed and the counsellor needs to be careful for not overusing the reflection in this context.

Reflecting on feelings as a step to enhance counselling attributes
It involves counsellors, reflecting on feelings for making their client feel more understood, listened to as well as validated. It is effective in terms of bringing proper awareness regarding any form of hidden secondary-emotions. The counsellor plays a role of a major good-listener in terms of listening, observing and finally reflecting on the client’s feelings (Hayeset al. 2018). It plays an efficient role in effective form of counselling session through bringing an individual awareness regarding their concealed or potentially unnoticeable feelings. It also helps in assuring affective reflection in a respectful and dignified manner to things, which the client has been communicating both verbal and non-verbal terms.

It enables the counsellor to observe and think carefully regarding certain words, in which they chose to communicate feelings back to their clients. Finally, it also enhances effective counselling through reflecting emotions, which assist their potential clients for becoming aware regarding ways, in which they have been feeling, feeling valued and reaching optimal conclusions. However, this skill is subjected to “Communication risks”, which can be caused due to lack of potential visual or verbal cues. It is also subjected to a proper limitation regarding confidentiality or privacy related to share environments (Zilcha-Mano, 2021). Not being able to match emotional-intensity of the client can increase risks regarding improper interpretation of the client’s situation and downgrade the client’s overall session experience.

Clarification as a major part
Considering the theory of “Psychotherapy Counselling”, clarification is a major skill, that counsellor exerts for helping their clients to increase potential awareness of values, which might comprise a proper bearing on potential lifestyle actions as well as decisions (Joyce & Sills, 2018). This potential technique, tend to provide a proper scope for an individual for reflecting on personal moral-dilemmas and allow their experiences and values to be properly analysed as well as clarified by the counsellor.

It plays a major role in facilitating counselling session through assuring self-improvement of the clients and enhances interactions during the session. It also assures mitigation of emotional distress of the client while exert increased optimal behaviour through reinforcement for clarifying potential values, which influence client’s decisions along with behaviours for establishing their inner resources as well as strengths (Joyce & Sills, 2018). It is limited to much effort and time constraint and can delay the overall counselling session procedure. It is also subjected to improper communication risks and informal clarification, which doesnot, tends to deliver relevant information.

Asking open-ended questions in facilitating efficient counselling
Asking open-ended questions help counsellors to set a goal regarding supporting explorative thinking process. In this concern, the goal of the counsellor remains towards following up patient’s response with a potential paraphrase, which can encourage the client for sharing more regarding their past-time experiences. It helps in exchange of more information and presenting of data and resources (Wampold, 2019). It plays a major role in terms of facilitating the counselling session through enhancing an in-depth investigation regarding client’s needs and requirements and the issues they have been facing.

It is noteworthy, that considering theory of “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)”, asking open-ended questions involves challenge regarding automatic form of thinking and identifying the negative thinking patterns of the clients (Hayeset al. 2018). Therefore, this micro skill plays an effective role in terms of encouraging and empowering client for discovering appropriate logic in their thinking process. However, this skill is also subjected to potential limitation of time constraint of the counselling session (Carkhuff, 2017). It also increases risks of lower or no verbal or non-verbal responses from the client, which can be difficult for analysing the root cause of client’s issues. Therefore, a counsellor needs to be careful in selecting questions, that they intend to ask their clients for assuring better facilitation of counselling session.

It can be concluded from the above discussion that all discussed micro-skills are effective in terms of delivering and facilitating effective counselling session, when used in an appropriate manner by the counsellor. Suitable literature aligned with the context brings out best possible understanding of discussed skill contributions towards effective counselling session. Furthermore, risks and limitations have also been discussed for assuring best possible discussion of the context.

Bennett-Levy, J. (2019). Why therapists should walk the talk: The theoretical and empirical case for personal practice in therapist training and professional development. Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry, 62, 133-145. Retrieved from for_personal_practice_in_therapist_training_and_professional_development/links/5bee4afd4585150b2bba 1a52/Why-therapists-should-walk-the-talk-The-theoretical-and-empirical-case-for-personal-practice-in- therapist-training-and-professional-development.pdf

Carkhuff, R. (2017). Toward effective counseling and psychotherapy: Training and practice. Abingdon: UK, Routledge.
Chen, M. W., &Rybak, C. (2017). Group leadership skills: Interpersonal process in group counseling and therapy. California: US: SAGE Publications.
Chevalier, B. A., Watson, B. M., Barras, M. A., & Cottrell, W. N. (2017). Investigating strategies used by hospital pharmacists to effectively communicate with patients during medication counselling. Health Expectations, 20(5), 1121-1132. Retrieved from
Cuijpers, P., Reijnders, M., &Huibers, M. J. (2019). The role of common factors in psychotherapy outcomes. Annual review of clinical psychology, 15, 207-231. Retrieved from in_Psychotherapy_Outcomes.pdf

Gordon, E. C. (2018). Intellectual humility, spirituality, and counselling. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 46(4), 279-291.Retrieved from Hayes, J. A., Gelso, C. J., Goldberg, S., &Kivlighan, D. M. (2018). Countertransference management and effective psychotherapy: Meta-analytic findings. Psychotherapy, 55(4), 496. Retrieved from Joyce, P., & Sills, C. (2018). Skills in Gestalt counselling & psychotherapy. California: US: Sage. Luca, M., Nuttall, J., Emilion, J., & Postings, T. (2021). Systematic review and grounded theory as a mixed method to develop a framework for counselling skills competencies. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. Retrieved from

Odaci, H., Deerli, F. I., &Bolat, N. (2017). Emotional intelligence levels and counselling skills of prospective psychological counsellors. Counselling assignmentBritish Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 45(5), 622-631. Retrieved from Renger, S., Macaskill, A., & Naylor, B. (2020). Learning and change within person centred therapy: Views of expert therapists. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 20(3), 535-544. Retrieved from's%20Person%20-%20Centred%20Article.pdf sequence=3 Scheel, M. J., Stabb, S. D., Cohn, T. J., Duan, C., & Sauer, E. M. (2018). Counseling psychology model training program. The Counseling Psychologist, 46(1), 6-49. Retrieved from

Wampold, B. E. (2019). The basics of psychotherapy: An introduction to theory and practice. American Psychological Association.

Zilcha-Mano, S. (2021). Toward personalized psychotherapy: The importance of the trait-like/state-like distinction for understanding therapeutic change. American Psychologist, 76(3), 516. Retrieved from


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