This week we went through our folders and I realised I was missing a reflection from unit 6.2.

Upon reflecting on whose agenda, the counsellor’s or the client’s, we are focusing on when we ask questions, I reached the conclusion that it depends on what is defined as an “agenda”. I know it’s strange to deliver the conclusion before the argument, or before explaining my view, but in this instance I think it saves a bit of confusion.

In terms of the counsellor asking questions, it is his agenda to reach an understanding of the client’s problems; He does this by asking questions, and by being empathetic. Each question answered is a stone overturned, and is a step closer to understanding. If a client believes that the counsellor is showing true unconditional positive regard then they will have the courage to answer truthfully. The client’s agenda for being in that room is to be understood and listened to. Their agenda is to be confronted with their truth and hold it up to the light so the counsellor can see it as well. For them to be able to do this, clients need to be asked questions, and they need to answer them truthfully. A counsellor needs to understand.

On the other hand, if we were referring to a counsellor’s own selfish “agenda” of needing to feel helpful, then questions could be used badly. Closed question are bad. They can make it feel like an interrogation. Questions should be used to clarify understanding, not to desperately try to keep a conversation going; and it must also be kept in mind that silence is a powerful tool. Leading questions would definitely serve a counsellor’s selfish “agenda” as well, in that they are questions that lead the conversation in a particular way, in a way that a selfish counsellor wants it to go. This is an example of the counsellor not truly seeing things from the client’s frame of reference, as the questions are firmly keeping the conversation in the counsellor’s frame.

On the whole, questions should be kept to a minimum and used not to interrogate but to clarify or expand on a counsellor’s understanding so that they improve the accuracy of their reflections and paraphrasing.

Also, we looked at where counselling fits in to the wider support network this week – After having thought about it for a while, I think the best description for someone who should see a counsellor would be someone who is physically managing, but is in emotional pain; someone who is otherwise fine, but has issues on their mind that they are not comfortable talking to anyone about; someone that feels alone, or misunderstood. Personally, I think counselling could be seen as the first line of resistance against mental health issues. I see a GP as the first line of defence in that they can prescribe anti-depressants or refer them to an appropriate service, but I feel that counselling is a minds way of fighting back, and being open to having counselling is a very positive step towards wanting to feel better.

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