Reflecting what you have heard back to the person who is distressed communicates that you are really listening to them and helps to make sure you have heard correctly what has been said. Through reflecting you can encourage the person to talk more about what’s happening for them. You can reflect on the content or the feeling of what’s being said or both.

Select the hyperlinks below to see this in practice in the example shown here.

Student speaking to a staff member, saying “I’m just dragging myself around campus, nobody seems to care whether I’m here or not and I don’t see the point any more.”
Staff member reflecting the content by saying“You’re finding it really hard to be at university.”
Staff member reflecting the feeling by saying“Sounds like you’re feeling low and isolated.”
Staff member reflecting the content and the feeling by saying“You’re feeling low and finding it hard to have any sense of connection to anyone at university.”