Emotional Paraphrasing Examples (7 Real-Life Scenarios + Sample Responses)

In this blog, we are going to describe seven examples of emotional paraphrasing. First, readers will be introduced to the importance of paraphrasing. Then we will look at seven real-life scenarios and examples of paraphrasing responses.

What are Emotional Paraphrasing Examples?

Emotional paraphrasing is a technique used in counselling and active listening to show attunement, empathy, and understanding. For example, take a look at this interaction between a client and counsellor:

Client: “I’m feeling unsure of what to do. I don’t want to give up my personal time but I don’t want her to leave me either. I feel stuck.”

Counsellor: “You’re facing a dilemma between your needs and your partner’s needs.”

Why is Paraphrasing Important?

In counselling, paraphrasing is a technique used to listen better. When you paraphrase, you repeat what was said by the speaker in fewer words but without losing out on the point being made.

Paraphrasing shows that you are paying attention and able to comprehend what is being said. This technique lets the speaker feel heard and understood. It also provides an opportunity to clarify accurate comprehension and to correct any misunderstandings.

7 Emotional Paraphrasing Examples

In this section, we will look at seven real-life circumstances so that we can assess examples of paraphrasing replies. Each scenario will show a different use of paraphrasing.

Scenario 1 – Highlighting Feelings

Generally, paraphrasing is used to reflect on the feelings and emotions expressed by the speaker. Let’s take a look at how to do that.

Client: “I have so much work pending and I have no idea how I’m going to finish it. The work just keeps piling up so quickly before I even get a chance to finish what I was working on before. I feel like I’m going to lose my job if I don’t catch up with my work.”

Counsellor: “So you seem to be overwhelmed by the amount of work you have. So much that you’re worried about getting fired.”

Client: “Yes, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Scenario 2 – Introducing Terms

Sometimes, paraphrasing helps counsellors introduce important terms and labels to describe the client’s experience. Look at the following example to see how to do so.

Client: “I’ve been on so many unsuccessful dates now, it’s become a personal joke. They could call me a ‘bum-magnet’ considering the kind of guys I seem to attract. If things keep going this way, I’m just gonna be one of those crazy cat ladies who dies alone.”

Counsellor: “You’re saying that you’ve had a series of unsatisfying dates because the men you go out with aren’t exactly meeting your expectations. It’s worrying you to the point of losing hope for the future.”

Client: “Gosh, yes, exactly.”

Scenario 3 – Focussing on the Issue

When a client is speaking, they may tend to share many details. Paraphrasing helps the conversation stick to the issue that needs to be discussed.

Client: “I’m really worried about having to face my ex-wife again. What if she gives me a hard time? I bet she’s going to do something to make it hard for me to see the kids. You can’t expect her to play fair.”

Clounsellor: “You’re afraid it’s going to be a difficult experience and that she might try to prevent you from seeing your children.”

Client: “Yeah, she can be very spiteful.”

Scenario 4 – Exploring the Problem

Often when clients are discussing their issues, they are a bit confused. Paraphrasing helps them explore the problem in a solution-focused way.

Client: “I don’t understand what she wants me to do. One minute she treats me like crap and the next minute she expects me to dote on her. I can never tell if she wants me around or away. I’m getting exhausted of guessing all the time.”

Counsellor: “You find her behaviour inconsistent so it confuses you.”

Client: “Yeah, but it’s not just that. I think she enjoys making me chase her.”

Counsellor: “You mean she confuses you on purpose?”

Client: “I really do think so. She likes seeing me miserable.”

Scenario 5 – Revealing More Information

Paraphrasing can also be used to elicit more information about the topic being discussed. See how this counsellor manages to do that.

Client: “At first I thought he was cheating on me. But then I told myself to trust him. After all, relationships can’t last without trust. And oh! I would hate to be without him. But now I don’t know what to believe. He’s always late, his excuses sound like lies, and the other night I actually heard him talk to that woman on the phone!”

Counsellor: “You’re saying you wanted to believe him because you want this relationship to last. But now you have more reasons not to believe him. Especially since you heard him have a conversation with Ms. Sarah”

Client: “Oh no! It wasn’t her! It was a whole new woman! He called her “Amy”!”

Counsellor: “You heard him speaking intimately with a second woman?”

Client: “That’s exactly why I don’t know what to believe anymore. What if there are more of them!”

Scenario 6 – Risk Assessment

When clients sound depressed or suicidal, paraphrasing helps in assessing the level of risk. Read this example to learn more.

Client: “I don’t like doing anything anymore. I’ve even stopped baking. I used to love baking. Especially during the Holidays. This Christmas, I don’t want to see anyone, go anywhere, or do anything special. I don’t even feel like making Christmas cookies.”

Counsellor: “Your mood is so low these days that you’ve stopped doing the things that brought you joy. You don’t seem to feel any excitement about your favourite holiday.”

Client: “How can I? I just feel so empty.”

Counsellor: “Like nothing’s the same?”

Client: “Like I should just die.”

Scenario 7 – Highlighting Strengths

A very useful advantage of paraphrasing is that the counsellor can show the client their strengths to make them feel better about themselves.

Client: “What am I going to do? How am I going to start a new life again? I don’t have a job, I don’t have any money. How am I going to provide for this child? I feel so lost and scared. I’m in this all alone.”

Counsellor: “You feel uprooted and unprepared for the challenges in front of you.”

Client: “Yeah, what if I can’t make it? What will happen to my child?”

Counsellor: “You’re doubting your abilities as you are worried for you child.”

Client: “Parents can’t help but worry.”

Counsellor: “All good parents do.”

Client: *smiles with tears*


In this blog, we described seven examples of emotional paraphrasing. First, readers were introduced to the importance of paraphrasing. Then we looked at seven real-life scenarios and examples of paraphrasing responses.

The examples mentioned here used paraphrasing to highlight the speaker’s feelings, introduce important terms, focus on the issue, explore the problem, reveal more information, assess risk, and highlight the speaker’s strengths.

FAQs (Emotional Paraphrasing Examples)

How do you paraphrase a conversation?

When you paraphrase a conversation, you repeat what was said in your own words. Doing so lets the speaker know whether you understood correctly or not. If yes, then they feel heard and if not, it gives them a chance to correct your perception.

What is paraphrasing in health and social care?

Counsellors in health and social care often use paraphrasing to show empathy, listening, and attunement. They must repeat what the patient has said in fewer words, but without changing the essence of what was said.

What is empathy?

Empathy is the ability to feel and understand another person’s experience. It’s different from sympathy because you don’t feel sorry for someone’s suffering. Instead, you’re able to put yourself in their position and attempt to feel what it is like for them.