Counselling Skills Level 2 - Case Study


A young married woman and mother of one son, under the age of two. Faith played an important role in her life and her husband’s work meant they were living some distance from family and friends.   Her isolation and lack of local support network had made her aware of a breakdown in communication between herself and her husband.   She felt hurt and upset that he wasn’t sharing important decision making with her and was anxious and concerned how this might impact on their future.

While I was aware of differences in our age, marital status and religious beliefs, I was able to tune-in to her world and her experiences of it.   By doing this I could empathise with her feelings of sadness and pain.  

We had four sessions where we were able to explore aspects of her relationship, which caused her concern, in more depth.   Initially I focussed on establishing our relationship: I explained that each of our four sessions would be twenty minutes long; and I ensured she understood and was happy with the confidentiality agreement and its exceptions.   This helped her feel safe to disclose her issues.   I informed her I would be using counselling skills during our sessions but made her aware of my limitations as a trainee.   This helped her feel confident to trust me to listen to her without judging; provided a solid foundation for a collaborative relationship; and gave her a degree of assurance of what she could reasonable expect

Early on I felt empathy with her issues and conveyed this non-verbally by maintaining eye contact and open body language, while leaning slightly towards her and nodding appropriate understanding.   I further confirmed my empathy verbally by reflecting her feelings of frustration and isolation, thereby validating her emotional response.   This had the effect of clarifying I was listening and increasing her confidence in my understanding of her problems.   This ultimately led her to view her relationship with her husband from a different angle...