Reflection vs Repeating TechniquesNovember 14, 2017
Critical Review What is the difference between the technique of reflection and simply repeating back what the client has said? Reflection is an Important therapy component and therapeutic technique frequently used during psychotherapy sessions for most psychotherapeutic models, and It Is the only technique utilized In client-centered therapy. It Is a technique for communicating therapeutic empathy to clients by distilling the core or real meaning of what the clients talk about and reflecting back to them.
Reflection is very different from simply repeating back what the client has said, which only serves the purpose of ensuring the correct intake of verbal information. Reflection includes the basic component of repeating information in order to check for accuracy, but it is much more than that. In order to do reflections well, one has to listen closely to the client’s words (kind of like listening between the lines), observe the client’s body languages and facial expressions, as well as using what the therapist already know about the client in order to more fully understand the client’s experiences emotionally and intellectually.
Conveying empathy to clients through accurate reflections of what they are really trying to say can encourage their self- awareness, expression of their emotional selves, and personal growth, which Is often what psychotherapy Is about or trying to achieve. This Is what makes reflection therapeutic and different from simply repeating someone’s words back to him or her. Good reflections communicate to clients that their therapists can adopt the clients’ perspectives and understand their situations and emotions in their shoes.
This sense of being heard, understood, and accepted generates a good feeling in the clients and esters development and deepening of therapeutic relationships between clients and their therapists. If one only simply repeats what the client has said the whole time without doing any reflection or showing any empathy, it can generate feelings of being mocked and misunderstood, other than feeling frustrated and upset. Repeating what the client has said simply means repeating the statements almost word for word back to the Individual and nothing else.
It Is the content that Is being repeated back to the client, not the process of the communication. Reflections, forever, have different levels or focuses, depending on what is being reflected, and good therapists use a variety of reflections in order to achieve different purposes, such as to increase the clients’ self-understanding, to express empathy, to stimulate further contemplation etcetera. Reflections can be simple rephrasing or summarizing of what the client Just said, or clarifying and amplifying what the clients only hinted at in their statements. There are also reflection of meaning and reflection of feeling.
The former is the fertilization of the meanings enclosed in the clients’ statements to including use of emotion words, and the latter is the Identification of clients’ feelings as a demonstration and modeling for the clients so they can learn how to better express themselves emotionally. Having pointed out the huge differences between reflection and simply repeating back what the client has said, It does not mean that therapists do not from time to time repeat certain words or phrases the client has said. Sometimes it is therapeutic to draw the client’s attention to certain attention to certain aspect of his or her overvaluations.