We need to listen to do a reflection and show our clients we are listening. We need to really listen to do a complex reflection and be accurate. Accurate empathy can predict up to 2/3 of the variance in client outcomes.* Think of the empathy scale as a ruler marked at one end by poor listening (the counselor misses the client’s meaning) to deep listening at the other end. Deep reflections are those that make a guess as to what the client means beyond what they have not yet stated. A simple reflection is restating or paraphrasing what the client has said, and a complex reflection is a ‘good listening’ guess as what more they mean beyond what’s stated. Wild guessing does not count.
Client: I’m feeling very stressed today
Counselor: You’re robbing a bank today.
Complex reflection - yes
Accurate empathy - doubtful
|Client: I’m feeling a little uneasy today.|
Counselor: You have 2 job interviews this week.
Complex refection - yes
Accurate empathy - yes
*Truax/Carkhuff rating scale for accurate empathy as used by Miller, one of MI founding fathers. The above was based on comments by Bill Miller.