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
... Interested? Read the instructions below in order to read the full content of this page.

Access options


The full content is only visible for Logged in World Supporters.

More benefits of joining WorldSupporter

  • You can use the navigation and follow your favorite supporters
  • You can create your own content & add contributions
  • You can save your favorite content and make your own bundles
  • See the menu for more benefits

Full access to all pages on World Supporter requires a JoHo membership

  • For information about international JoHo memberships, read more here.



Support JoHo and support yourself by becoming a JoHo member


Become a Member



Contributions, Comments & Kudos

Add new contribution

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Summaries & Study Note of JesperN
Join World Supporter
Join World Supporter
Log in or create your free account

Why create an account?

  • Your WorldSupporter account gives you access to all functionalities of the platform
  • Once you are logged in, you can:
    • Save pages to your favorites
    • Give feedback or share contributions
    • participate in discussions
    • share your own contributions through the 11 WorldSupporter tools
Access level of this page
  • Public
  • WorldSupporters only
  • JoHo members
  • Private
Connect & Continue
WorldSupporter Resources

“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