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Top 12 Practice Vids to Prep for Your Recorded Counselling Microskills Assessment

Your first assessment for counselling class is a recording of you as a therapist demonstrating effective use of microskills. No pressure! I remember the nerves jumping about when it was my turn as an undergraduate. The different counselling microskills seem to slide into each other. When is paraphrasing, summarising? Can clarifying be an open or closed question?

My aim for this post is to present you with practical resources to help you to hand over a recording of a confident and competent emergent therapist.

Below is a list of what I consider the top dozen microskill training videos for counselling students. Many are demonstrations with worked examples, based on real-world circumstances. You can complement this video modeling by downloading the Self Evaluation Form at video number 7. Use the form to rate the practice videos. As well as evaluating your practice role-play recordings. I encourage you too, to evaluate characters on movies and TV shows, whether they are counseling focused or not, to develop attention to detail for each microskill.

It was fun scouring the web sourcing videos and associated resources. I'm old-school person-centred in my delivery of counselling services. Non-directive listening is appreciated by the vast number of people who are help-seeking (my anecdotal observation, though I will put it on my homework list to explore who is researching this topic, if at all).

Overall, I find that each of these videos encourage you as an emergent counsellor to practice being curious.

a psychology student mug reminding that curiosity is a microskill

1. Counselling Microskills and Techniques (Playlist ~5 h) A rich collection of short videos (most under 10 mins), focusing on each type of microskill. Each video demonstrates the correct way to embody the counselling communication skill. I like especially how the videos ask you the viewer to name the microskill used by the therapist, before the video tells you.

The mock role play sounds natural and the topics feel real-world.

2. Open Questioning A practical class session with a focus on the person-centred approach. The video encourages the learner to use open questions to draw out the story of the client. Open questioning is modeled on the fly by a student with their lecturer (tough!). The lecturer reminds emergent counsellors to not orient toward finding a solution for the person. There is a time for that; not when the goal of the session is to simply give the client room to express themselves.

Ways the role-playing therapist can remain curious, is with straightforward, short open question. For examples, those that use When, Where, What, Who, How, When, and even “Why?”when appropriate.

I found this video helpful as it normalised how difficult it can be to demonstrate a microskill with a live client, on camera.

3. Paraphrasing, Reflection of Feeling and Summarising

A small class practical. They review the definitions to differentiate the three microskills about what makes them different. Linking to theory. Worked examples for each skill, in the moment with correction from the lecturer. Using the microskills to notice patterns (when they are there). Additionally, helpful tips on when and how to wind up the session with a client.


4. Paraphrasing, Summarizing, Probing, Using Silence & Pacing (36 mins)

A practical session with worked examples by a small class using scripts on the screen. Quirky metaphors help with understanding the process of linking together what the client has shared, for a rich summarisation. What to do when you do not know what to say? Dr Moon emphasises the value of saying less, more often. As well as reminding us that silence can indeed be golden. I find this takes the pressure off the therapist focusing on their 'next correct question/statement'. Again~ be curious ...


5. Basic Counseling Skills: Kim Lampson, PhD (32 mins)  Begins with a demonstration of what not to do with a client! Covers attending, open and closed questioning, reflection of feeling, confrontation, and more. Timestamps help you to skip through to demonstrations you think are the most useful. Each demo has a flawed and correct version.

6. Basic Attending Skills (8 mins)  7. Summarising in Counseling (17 mins)

A podcast format hosted by two professional counsellors from CounsellingTutor (on ytube). The channel hosts several microskill discussions, in their playlist, Counselling Foundations. Most videos have a handout that can be downloaded with notes about the microskill discussed and demonstrated.


8. Going Deeper (Reflections of Feeling and Meaning) (4.5 mins)  9. Some Thoughts On Use of Silence in Counseling Sessions (6 mins  Dr Nina Spadraro has a conversational style and often uses props to demonstrate the microskill. Highly effective. Although the channel does not have a dedicated microskill playlist, there are several video shares about communication in counselling. Also, there is a book targeting microskill training for emergent counsellors.



10. Paraphrase, Reflection of Feeling, and Summarization (7.5 mins) 

A gently speaking couple of counsellors, helping to differentiate between these three microskills.

11. The Use of Silence in the Therapy Room The use of silence in the therapy room (34 mins)

Two counsellors from the Therapy Room (on ytube) discus the importance of silence as a microskills. They share their experiences using silence with clients, as well as posing hypotheticals to each other to elaborate on the way to use silence. Reminding listeners that often people do not have the opportunity to just talk, without another trying to 'fill in the gaps.

12. Basic Communication Skills

A brief webinar about the counselling textbook of Allan and Mary Ivey (2008). The focus of the video are listening skills.There is also an interesting mix of of the history of counselling, and links of microskills to neuroscience research. There is a flash overview of their Microskills Hierarchy figure (below). Also, they emphasise the usefulness of students video-recording themselves to assess skill development. A 5-step learning plan for skill development is outlined. The video ends with a Q&A from students attending the webinar.

Hope you find these resources helpful in prepping for your counselling assignment. While 5 minutes may feel like a long time when you're 'on camera', practice curiosity and your micros-skills will pull you through. Light & Life~ Charmayne p.s., Consider subscribing to my weekly newsletter, Signal: Assessment Trailblazer Toolkit



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