Accidental Counsellor Skills in Action

A short transcript using some of the skills from the Accidental Counsellor Training (ACT)

Introduction (Part One)

Amy (not real name) is a 19-year-old female who came to counselling at the urging of a friend (who came with her!). The italics indicate the skills from the ACT

R) Hi Amy, I know your not that keen to be here (all laugh) how do you hope this session can be of use to you? (Greeting & goal setting)

A) I don’t know how it would help…I guess I’d be feeling better.

R) If I could wave a magic wand and you were feeling better? What would be different? (Miracle question)

A) I’d have my confidence back. I would feel better about myself.

R) You’d have your confidence back. (Reflective listening) When did you have confidence? (Exception)

A) Up until I was in Year 9 I was confident and happy.


R) You were confident then it went? (Reflective listening)

A) Yeah

R) Where did it go? (Meta question)

A) Comments from my family got to me about being overweight.

R) So on a scale zero being no confidence at all and 10 being full of it! (Laughs) How confident are you now? (Scaling Question)

A) Oh about a 5 or 6

R) Ok so you haven’t lost it all together. How’s that? (Exception)

A) Well, I’ve lost about 30 kilos in the last year.

R) Wow! That’s a massive accomplishment. Congratulations. (Affirming strengths)

A) Thanks

R) What would have to happen for that confidence to get to a 7 or 8? (Strengths question. Creating vision of how things would be…)

A) I would need to lose another 6 kilos

R) So when you lose another 6 kilos you will feel more confident, happy and better about yourself? (reflecting back the goal statement)

A) yes

R) How did you feel good enough about yourself, confident enough to even start losing 30 kilos? (Exception – searching for what she says she wants in her personal history)

A) I didn’t!

R) Really? How could you achieve that feeling bad about yourself and having no confidence? (Matching, reflecting back the implicit communication)

A) Well it wasn’t that bad!

R) What wasn’t that bad? (meta questioning)

A) I guess it got to a point where I had enough and deep down knew I could do it.

R) Ok… so are you telling me that when things are tough you know deep down that you can get through things and achieve big goals? (Matching, reflecting back the implicit communication)

A) Yes, that’s true. I’ve done it a few times.

R) Wow! Tell me about that. How do you do that? (Building on strengths)

A) I guess, sometimes I lose track …and need a reminder (note: did you notice that via the questions she reminded herself!) about how strong I am.

R) Ok that’s great – so you have remembered how strong you are?

A) Yeah

R) Hey…I’m curious – is it just remembering? How do you actually get through tough times and achieve great goals? (Note: I’m persisting in helping her be aware of how she accesses her own resources)

A) I get really determined, and I have to prove it to myself and others. I guess now that I think about it I get angry rather than sad or miserable. No that’s not true, I do get sad, but I get over it – snap out of it I guess and then set my mind to it and it’s almost like I get obsessed by it.

R) Nice! That is what anyone who is very good at something does – get obsessed about how to get better. (Matching, reflective listening, affirming and reframing)

I hope this is of some assistance and reminds you of some of the things we did in the Accidental Counsellor Training.

P.S. the rest of the interview was in this vain – I continued to have her focus on when and how she was able to feel better about herself and more confident and strong.

Free Accidental Counsellor
Free Online Event
Student Wellbeing Sessions
Free Online Event
Connect and Influence without Burning Out
Accidental Counsellor Training