Active listening – Activity 6

Reformulating the dilemma

Activity type:
Role playing

Learning goals:
This exercise aims to equip the practitioner with the skill to effectively reflect his/her client dilemma as clearly and as openly as possible. This technique permits the client to weigh the pros and cons of each option before making his/her decision by thinking of the possible outcomes in a logical and informed way. In this way the client feels much more in control of the situation.

Group activity (2 persons– work in pairs)

30 minutes

Material needed:
6 statements available on platform/pdf


You take the role of the client and express the statements given one by one. The person next to you takes the role of the practitioner and tries to take you away from a dilemma by reformulating your dilemma to make you think of the options openly. Role-play the dialogue. Change roles (choose 3 statements each person to practice as practitioner)


Client: “I am not sure whether I should take a postgraduate degree or opt for finding a job related to my undergraduate studies.

Practitioner: If I have understood correctly, your dilemma is whether a master’s degree or a job related to your studies is what you prefer to do.


1) I have been living in the country for the last 7 years, but I am still a foreigner. The boss constantly gives a promotion to local people of inferior ranks than me? Should I resign or politely ask for more at my present job?

2) Studying abroad will open my horizons and my future career prospects but it is rather costly.

3) Moving in with my boyfriend will save me money but I will not concentrate as much on my studies

4) Resigning from the job will save me from the routine but I don’t know if I will find something more motivating and challenging soon.

5) I have a steady job with a reasonable salary. Working on my own is not a risk because I know the job but there won’t be a steady income.

6) I do not feel good enough to pursue a career in that field. I don’t know whether to look for a related job or register for a new related training seminar?

Questions for reflection:
  • Have you managed to reformulate the dilemma of your client?
  • What are your feelings over the process?