The technique of reflecting feelings and content is dependent on active listening skills. It is the ability to convey the essence of what a person has communicated with the goal of that person seeing it for themselves.
The counselor does not tell the client what to do. They simply listen and reflect back the content and feelings they heard the client convey. When the client recognizes the problem, they are ready to find their own answers.
While this counseling method is often used in secular addiction treatment centers today, God is the always the answer in Christian counseling circles. With Him as the higher power, the counselor can lead the client in prayer and ask for God's wisdom to be revealed. In Christian recovery groups, participants don't have to rely on their own answers because God is the available source. However, the skill of reflecting is still useful in Christian counseling.
The following is an example of reflecting feeling and content. Joe is talking loudly about not wanting to come to treatment anymore because he is sick and tired of listening to people's problems. He claims it makes him want to go out and get drunk listening to group members whine. The counselor would reflect the content and feeling back to him so that he can see his own issues.
The counselor would say something like, "So coming to treatment brings up old issues for you and the only way you know how to deal with your problems is to use? It sounds like you feel angry that you have to come to treatment." If the counselor had been actively listening and looking at body language, he/she should be able to pick up on the underlying truth.
The truth revealed is that Joe wants to use and is making excuses to isolate. Anger seems to be the underlying feeling while anger is the feeling that usually accompanies his alcohol use.
Sometimes it takes processing feelings in order for root issues to be brought out. When this happens, both the counselor and client know what they are dealing with. If neither knows what the root of the problem is, it's impossible to arrive at a conclusion or to provide a solution. The good news is that prayer can is always available and always the right response.