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Counseling can facilitate the process of overcoming or working through personal issues from everyday hardship as well as potentially life threatening situations. This reflective paper will explore the three 50 minute counseling sessions that I attended with a professional counselor and therapist, named Cassy Johnson-Hodge. By attending these counseling session and reflecting on Ms. Johnson-Hodge’s counseling process I have begun to understand the specific skills a counselor may use in session to help clients. Counseling requires the counselors to reach sensitively into their clients world and help them become aware of their strengths and hidden beauty (Michael S. Nystul, p 49). . The invaluable skills of open-ended questioning, paraphrasing, and reflection the counselor used had previously seemed insignificant to me, when it reality it can determine the difference between a helpful or a non helpful session.
I was unsure of what to expect, prior to our first session as I have never received any professional counseling. I was nervous and anxious on the way to the session as I was unsure of where to start or how in depth the session would be. I had planned what I was going to say during the session, but I was still not feeling confident about it. I analyzed in my head what personal issues I could discuss as a student trying to learn the counseling processes, of course this was all based on my assumptions of what the counselor would ask. My nervousness and anxiety were immediately put to rest when I walked in the room where Cassy Johnson-Hodge gave me a warm welcome.
Our first session began with an introduction, and I quickly explained to her that I’m a student, and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be at this point. Ms. Johnson-Hodge’s response to me was so caring and understanding, that I immediately felt comfortable enough with her to start having, what I would consider, a normal conversation. I still felt a little nervous , but I knew she was providing me a safe judgment free environment to talk. Ms. Johnson-Hodge kept the conversation going for the duration of the session by affirming how I felt about my personal life goals, I also felt like she really understood what I was talking about, which inadvertently encouraged me to keep talking. By the end of the first session I was really amazed at how much I had talked.
I really started to feel the counselor-client relationship developing when she helped me map our sessions. The style and technique, the counselor used throughout our sessions provided an appropriate solution for me and satisfy the goal we both agree to work on. I felt like Ms. Johnson-Hodge listened to what I was saying and directed the conversation in a positive way by asking open-ended questions to facilitate our conversation, paraphrasing what I was saying, and allowing me to reflect on what I had said. There were also other times when the counselor would reflect through silence. During such a period, I had noticed Ms. Johnson-Hodge study me and the information that I had given to her.
At the end of the session, the counselor allowed me to ask her about how I feel by summarizing what I said to her. I think Ms. Johnson-Hodge did really good job as a result of pulling together a number of elements that I had offered her and reflected back was helping me to explore more.
Nystul, M. S. (2011). Introduction To Counseling. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.