Role playing is a key part of counseling education as it allows students to practice asking probing questions that encourage the client to talk about his or her needs. Role playing is sometimes scripted, but it is always based on the counseling topic for the unit the students are studying. Role-play topics may include depression, self-injury, eating disorders, or other topics likely to arise in counseling. The following role play presents a typical role-play scenario.
Educator/"counselor" (avatar has open stance): What brings you here today?
Student/"client": Recently, I have been unsure about what I want to do with my life. I think I need to visit the college women's center and take a career evaluation.
Educator/"counselor": You think you need to visit the women's center and take a career evaluation to help you identify your career options.
Student/"client" (broken eye contact, slumped in chair): Yes, I really like the idea of visiting the women's center and taking a career evaluation. I know it will be helpful.
Educator/"counselor": As you said that you like the idea of visiting the women's center, I noticed that you broke eye contact and slumped in your chair.
Student/"client" (wringing hands): Well, I have taken so many classes toward my human service degree. I fear that I will find out that I am not cut out to be a human service worker and will have to take more classes to complete another degree.
Educator/"counselor" (notes wringing of the hands): I see that finding out that you may not be “cut out” to be a human service worker is scary for you.