IN THE LAST CHAPTER the key characteristics of questioning were outlined as one technique that is commonly employed to gain information and conduct interpersonal exchanges. Here an alternative procedure called 'reflecting' will be introduced. While sharing some of the functional features of questioning, reflecting differs in a number of important respects. To help you begin to appreciate what some of these are, consider the two short fictional scenes in Boxes 6.1 and 6.2.
These two conversations with Karen differ markedly in the approaches adopted by Keith and Kim. In the first situation (Box 6.1), Keith obtained mainly factual information to do with Karen's book, her course, and what she intended to do after university Keith and his agenda were very much the dominating features of the conversation with Karen doing little more than passively acting as the information source. Questioning was the tactic used exclusively to direct the interchange from one topic to the next, and each question did little to develop the previous response. There was minimal encouragement for Karen to furnish information other than what was directly relevant to Keith's line of enquiry. The second exchange (Box 6.2), in contrast, centred very much on Karen and the difficulties she was experiencing, with Kim staying, conversationally, much more in the background. Rather than directly leading Karen into areas that were not of her choosing, Kim gently guided the conversation in ways that facilitated Karen's discussion of personal issues that seemed important for her, Karen, to ventilate. Unlike the first exchange, in the second there were no