Now is your time.
Having observed like a rockstar in step 1 and (hopefully at least mildly) corrected your projections in step 2, you may now share everything you saw in step 3
Emotional understanding or talk out of the heart of the other person
The counsellor puts himself in the situation of the counselee and tries to bring the counselees emotional situation to the point. Here, empathy is needed. (Careful to not project your own emotions into the other person)
Helpful is to name the feelings that you believe the counsellee has already addressed. Another possibility is to share your perceptions about the tone of voice or the body language. It takes courage to address perceived emotions and possibly be wrong. Protect the other person’s dignity and frame it as a question and ask in order to make the counsellee the expert of his emotional state:
You can do it the obvious way:
“I’m picking up this emotion … . You tell me if it’s true or not.”
“While you were speaking, I observed a couple of things. Would you like me to share?” (kind of leading question as it will be hard to say no.. but for once we don’t mind 😉
Or you can make it sound like a more normal conversation:
“So when hearing you speak, what resonated with me was … . Would you agree or disagree?”
“I am just wildly guessing but what really struck me was … . What would you say? ”
“You seem so … when you talk about this. Is my impression correct or am I off?”
- Always leave an exit opportunity for your councellee
It is still important to not force upon your councellee any of your own interpretations. If you share your obversations and add a “Would you agree?” to this, some councellee’s are still easily forced into agreement as disagreement might mean to impolitely contradict the councellor. Hence, it makes sense to always offer the opposite road as well:
“I got the impression that … . Would you agree or disagree?”
That way the councellee can either agree or disagree without having to contradict you.
If you are brave and if you do feel that your councellee is clear enough on the matter to be able to contradict*, you may formulate your own hypothesis. Make sure that the hypothesis still comes as a question and NOT as an answer.
“Could it possibly be that … ? Would you agree or disagree?”
“Is the matter possibly that … ? Or am I off here?”
“How right or wrong is it to say that … ?”
* Be careful here. usually we overestimate our councellee’s ability to contradict our views 😉