Psychological communication: Theories, roles and skills for counsellors by van der Molen, Lang, Trower, & Look (second edition) – Chapter 7 summary

Psychological interpretation refers to redefining or restructuring the situation through the presentation of an alternate description of behaviour. The goal is to obtain new insights. Ubiquitous interpretation refers to interpreting from a certain frame of reference or viewpoint. Interpretation consists of a continuum between what is close to the client’s frame of reference and things that lie outside of the frame of reference of the client. It is important to not phrase interpretations right away:

  • Interpretations are often wrong.
  • It is the goal to have the client make their own re-interpretations.
  • It may not be appropriate in the client-clinician relationship yet.

An interpretation should be presented in a tentative tone and in language familiar to the client. However, a scholarly way of talking could be useful as long as it is in an understandable tone and helps the client understand their behaviour and problems. There are several skills (i.e. operationalizations) of interpretation;

  1. Advanced accurate empathy
    This includes interpretations that are further away from the client’s frame of reference. The goal is to provide the client with a broader, more differentiated view of their problems. It demonstrates understanding and regards the emotional tone of the conversation. The clinician should:
    1. Use the context of the story.
    2. Pay attention to the tone of voice (i.e. tentative voice)
    3. Make connections between several parts of the client’s story.
    4. Summarize the content (i.e. newsprint summaries).
  2. Confrontation
    This refers to giving a response to the client’s views about themselves or the world that is significantly different from that of the client. The goal is to present the client with a different vision of themselves to get the problematic situation moving again. The clinician should:

    1. Understand that the client will most likely initially disagree.
    2. Present the confrontation in a quiet, professional, tentative and accepting voice.
    3. Use both strength and weakness confrontations.
  3. Positive relabelling
    This refers to applying a positive reconstruction to parts of the problem originally found to be negative. The goal is to place the client’s negative aspects in a favourable light but does not necessarily mean emphasizing the healthy aspects. It shows the client that they do not need to fully change their behaviour. The clinician should:

    1. Give a positive motive
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Summaries & Study Note of JesperN
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“Clinical Skills: Developmental Psychology – Course summary (UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM)"

This bundle contains everything you need to know for the course "Clinical Skills: Developmental Psychology" given at the University of Amsterdam. It contains all the lectures and the following chapters of the books:

Clinical assessment

...