Content Frame
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
Home  arrow Skills  arrow Reflection of Feeling

Reflection of Feeling

Reflection of Feeling

Definition: The social worker uses reflection of feeling to restate and explore the client’s affective (feeling) messages.The response may capture both feeling and content, but the emphasis is on feelings.You validate the client by conveying accurately an understanding of the client’s feelings.This process leads to the establishment of rapport and the beginning of a therapeutic relationship.

Helps to:

For example, your client just said “I am so angry at my roommate, I feel like killing her.”You want to respond with a feeling word that matches that level of intensity.You don’t want to say…..”You sound kinda upset.”

Appropriate to use when:

Inappropriate to use:


In video example #1: Marie observes that Anna’s experience with another battle with cancer has strengthened her determination.The social worker identifies Anna’s hopeful feelings about the future when she says, “You sound more hopeful.”

In video example #2: Nicole is able to reflect what Mrs. Anderson has said regarding how difficult it is to have an 11-year-old living with her. Acknowledging how tired she is and how her life has changed conveys this understanding.Mrs. Anderson opens up and shares more details about some of the hardships.Now, Nicole has a better understanding of the struggles and is able to assess what kinds of supports may be helpful to all members of the Anderson family.

In video example #3:Nicole is able to convey how Maria feels regarding her place within the family. She loves her mother and her grandmother. Maria begins to articulate the internal tension she is experiencing.Nicole acknowledges her feelings of being pulled and also helps her to move toward problem solving.Nicole’s guidance is very gentle and caring.

Pearson Copyright © 1995 - 2010 Pearson Education . All rights reserved. Pearson Allyn & Bacon is an imprint of Pearson .
Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Permissions

Return to the Top of this Page