Paraphrasing & Reflecting Feelings, self-disclosing.


Paraphrasing & Reflecting Feelings-

A paraphrasing restates another’s idea (or your own previously published idea) in your own words. Paraphrasing allows you to summarize and synthesize information from one or more sources, focus on significant information, and compare and contrast relevant details.

Reflecting feelings is a statement made by a therapist or counselor that is intended to highlight the feelings or attitudes implicitly expressed in a client’s communication and to draw them out so that they can be clarified. Also called reflection response.

    • Reflecting is like mirror.
    • Giving back what just communicated.
    • So the next person will understand you understand.

It is also used to make a client feel understood, encourage them to express themselves and open up more, and help them be aware of their own emotions and feelings.

  • Importance of reflecting.

    • It helps in building relationships – in communicating trust, acceptance and understanding.
    • Its gives clarification of problems & feelings.
    • By reflecting you get the Information- about the person and the situation.
    • Verification- check the perception
    • It heightens the client’s awareness of and ability to label their own emotions.

Four different reflecting skills.

  1. Reflecting feelings- 

      • Focus on feeling not details – the act of identifying and acknowledging someone’s feeling and repeating it back to them.
      • This reflection of feelings include both verbal and non verbal.
      • Read body language even if feeling not expressed verbally.
      • Examples
  2. Paraphrasing /Restating / reframing-

    • Saying what you understand – restates another’s idea in your own words.
    • So client will know you understand , if you don’t you are willing to be corrected
    • Tips-
      1. Use your own words
      2. Slightly different word with same meaning 
      3. Rephrase both content and feelings 
      4. Convey empathy, acceptance and genuineness.
  3. Affirmations (self talk)

    • Positive statements about who we are and what our potential is.
    • These help us feel good about ourselves, and focus on what we want.
    • When children (or teens or adults) hear words of encouragement, they learn to respect themselves.
  4. Summaring  or summarizing

        • At the end of a session, After listening to the statements of the client , the counsellor summarizes the content presented by the client. 
        • Through summarizing, the counsellor tries to find out if s/he has properly understood the frame of reference of the client 
        • Helps the client to place his/her problem in perspective.


  • It refers to the counsellor disclosing feelings about the client or the therapeutic interaction at that moment as it happens.
  • In other words, using immediacy means that the therapist reveals how they themselves are feeling in response to the client. 
  • For example, after listening to a student who suffered sexual abuse, the counsellor may share his/her feeling towards the student:

Counsellor: “I appreciate you trusted me with one of the most traumatic experiences of your life. And I respect your courage for confronting the problem


  • This refers to the counsellor stating feelings about a similar situation as the client is presently in.
  • For example, the counsellor disclosing to a student seeking help for dealing with public speaking phobia:
  • Counsellor: “When I had to speak before the class, I used to stammer”
  • The skills of self-disclosure as well as immediacy are closely associated.
  • Self-disclosure promotes immediacy in your relationship with the client. 
  • Self-disclosure intervention should be used in appropriate context and time only.
  • According to Kottler and Kottler (2007), “Self-disclosures are best employed when you wish 

(a) demonstrate that the student is not alone, 

(b) bridge perceived distance between you, and 

(c) model openness ”.

  • Features  of self-disclosures should have the following. 

    • It should be concise.
    • It must be devoid of self-indulgence.
    • Usage should be conservative.

Plan for problem solving:

  • Once the counselor has determined that all relevant information regarding the client’s concern is available and understood,
  • Once the client has accepted the need for doing something about a specific problem, 
  • The time is ripe for developing a plan to solve or remediate the concern of the client. 
  • Here, however effective goal setting becomes the vital part of the counseling activity. 
  • Correspondingly mistakes in goal setting can lead to nonproductive counseling procedures and clients loss of confidence in the counseling process. 
  • Additionally, in this stage there are some sequential steps in viewing the processes involved. 

1) Define the problem 

2) Identify and list all possible solutions 

3) Explore the consequences of the suggested solutions. 

4) Prioritize the solutions on the basis of priority needs. 

  • In the further development of this plan, the counselor recognizes that the client will frequently not arrive at basic insights, implications, or probabilities as fast as the counselor will. 
  • However, most counselors will agree that it is better to guide the client toward realizing these understandings by himself or herself, rather than just telling the client outright. 
  • To facilitate the clients understanding, the counselor may use techniques of repetition, mild confrontation, interpretation, information and obviously encouragement.

To check your knowledge about the topic, take the test given below,

MCQ test- Paraphrasing and reflecting feelings


Gladding, S. T. (2018). Counselling: A Comprehensive profession (9th Edn). Pearson

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