We have looked at paraphrasing and 'reflecting back' skills. Summaries are longer paraphrases.
They condense or crystallise the essence of what the client is saying and feeling.
Summaries usually cover a longer time period than a paraphrase. We are "reflecting back" wheras paraphrasing can be used after a few sentences.
A summary may be used after some time: perhaps half-way through a counselling session, or near the end of a counselling session.
The summary 'sums up' the main themes that are emerging.
Summaries are useful:
- To clarify emotions for both the helper/counsellor and the client.
- To review the work done so far, and to take stock.
- To bring a session to a close, by drawing together the main threads of the discussion.
- A summary may be used to begin a subsequent session, if appropriate.
- To start the process of focusing and prioritising 'scattered' thoughts and feelings
- To move the counselling process forward.
How do you feel when someone has clearly listened and understood you ?