Counselling Skills for Dummies

( 2 )


Whether you have to provide counselling as part of your job or you’re considering becoming a counsellor, Counselling Skills For Dummies provides the perfect introduction to the practical basics. It shows you how to understand yourself better – a crucial step in ensuring that you break down your barriers to listening to others – and gives a thorough guide to the qualities, knowledge, and techniques needed to be...

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Counselling Skills For Dummies

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Whether you have to provide counselling as part of your job or you’re considering becoming a counsellor, Counselling Skills For Dummies provides the perfect introduction to the practical basics. It shows you how to understand yourself better – a crucial step in ensuring that you break down your barriers to listening to others – and gives a thorough guide to the qualities, knowledge, and techniques needed to be a listening helper.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118657577
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/2013
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 352

Meet the Author

Gail Evans is Head of the Counselling Studies Unit at Sheffield Hallam University and co-owner of Cornerstone Counselling and Therapy Centre.

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Table of Contents


 About This Book

 Conventions Used in This Book

 What You're Not to Read

 Foolish Assumptions

 How This Book is Organised

  Part I: Focusing on Yourself First

  Part II: The Listening Helper

  Part III: Structuring a Helping Conversation

  Part IV: Understanding People and Problems

  Part V: Putting it into Practice

  Part VI: Part of Tens

  Appendix: Becoming a Counsellor

  Icons Used in This Book

  Where to Go from Here

Part I: Focusing on Yourself First

 Chapter 1: Introducing Counselling Skills (10)

  Knowing yourself before understanding others

  Working safely and ethically

  Being a listening helper

   The key skills you need 

   Common problems stopping you from listening

  Beginnings, Middles and Ends: Structuring the conversation

  Understanding others

   Being prepared for common personal problems

   Spotting the signs of stress and distress

   Coping with different types of conversation 

  Exploring counselling further 


 Chapter 2: Understanding yourself through personal development

  Things that can get in the way of a helping relationship

   Internal distractions

   Assumptions and prejudices   

  Ideas for taking your personal development further by yourself

   Fact or fiction, reading is good

   Writing and art as therapy

   Film, theatre and television can advance your understanding    Choosing activities to challenge you

  Taking personal development further with other people

   Peer group discussions


   Personal therapy

 Chapter 3: Taking care of yourself

  Evaluating your self-care

  Your support network

   Personal supports

   Consultation and supervision

   Developing your internal supervisor

   Replenishing your batteries

  Cultivating appropriate assertiveness

 Chapter 4: Maintaining Good Practice

  Your accountability

   Knowing your responsibilities

   A note of caution about 'dual roles'

   Monitoring and reflecting on your work

  Ethical dilemmas

  When not to listen

  Working with crisis and risk

   Discriminating between crisis, urgent and important

   Child Protection

   Suicide and self harm

  Keeping records

    Organisational requirements

   Stick to the facts

   Data protection


Part II: The Listening Helper

 Chapter 5: Being a listening helper

  The value of listening

   How listening helps the talker

   How listening helps the helper

   The If…Then…hypothesis

  Understanding the range of listening help

   Different roles mean differing skills

   Knowing your role

  How Being a listening helper might affect you

   In your job role

   In your personal life

   In enhancing your career

   In impacting your personal resources

   In playing on your emotions

   In moving outside your comfort zone

 Chapter 6: Qualities, Skills and Knowledge for listening

  What it takes to be a listening helper 

   Personal resources

   A sense of commitment 

   Developing your personal qualities

  A three stage model to guide you

  Working with active listening skills

   Identifying the skills

   Managing the helping process

   Encouraging self-direction and motivation

  Other knowledge that will help you

 Chapter 7: Recognising your own barriers to listening


  The power of our defences

   How our defences operate

   How we respond when we are defensive

   The interactive effects of defensive behaviour

   Looking for the causes of our defensive reactions

   What we can do about our defences

  Examples of defences in action: the Misses and Mister Men

Part III: Structuring a Helping Conversation

 Chapter 8: Establishing a helping relationship

   When the relationship starts

   Fostering a good start

   Meeting the speaker

   Greeting the speaker

   Seating and proximity

  Managing the process

   Making a contract

   Managing the story

  Core conditions

   Respecting the speaker

   Communicating empathy

   Being genuine

 Chapter 9: Beginning the discussion (30)

  Having a structure in mind

   The Three Stage Model as a process

   Encouraging Exploration

   Increasing Understanding

   Facilitating Action

  Hearing the story

   A picture tells a thousand words - non-verbal communication

   Conveying the Core Conditions

   The importance of emotions and the feelings below the surface

   Two types of reflection

   Don't underestimate paraphrasing and summarising

   Exploring the presenting story and sub-plots

  The art of questions

   The purpose of questions

   Potential negative effects of questions

   Alternatives to questions

   Using questions constructively

   We are asked questions too

 Chapter 10: Moving through the conversation (20)

  Getting below the surface

   Deeper levels of empathy

   Notice themes

  Challenge and confrontation

   Using immediacy

   Notice gaps and contradictions

   Be specific

   Focus and prioritise

  Decision making and problem solving

   Making an assessment

   Identifying goals

   Some techniques for supporting problem-solving

   Encouraging active participation

 Chapter 11: Ending the conversation (12)

  Our own experiences of endings and transition

  Managing the ending

   Time management

   'Weaning off'

   Working with difficult endings

   Reviewing and future-proofing

  How to say goodbye and what comes after  

    Hugs, handshakes and gifts


   Evaluation and follow-up

Part IV: Understanding People and Problems

 Chapter 12: Being prepared for common personal problems

  How people experience problems

   Using the BEST RIB-SET model











  Signs and symptoms of distress

  Typical issues that cause or result in distress


 Chapter 13: Understanding people from a social perspective (12)

  Power in society and in helping relationships

  Prejudice, oppression and your own attitudes

   Physical and mental disability

   Different ethnic backgrounds

   Class is still an issue

   Ageism across the spectrum

   The range of sexuality

  The influence of your setting

  Of course I'm not prejudiced….am I?

 Chapter 14: Understanding individuals from a psychological perspective (12)

  The effects of our history

  Coping with transitions

   Change and loss


  Substance use and misuse

  Disturbed emotions

   Dealing with anger

   Anxiety, panic and avoidance

   Low mood and depression

   Post trauma symptoms

   Difficulties related to life stages

   Mental ill-health

  Sexual issues

  Relationship problems 

Part V: Putting it into Practice

 Chapter 15: Case studies and discussion (20)

  A reminder of what listening is for

  Limits of listening

   When you should consider referring people on

  BEST RIBS in action

   Case studies

   The ethical dimension

 Chapter 16: Coping with different types of helping conversations (10)

  The influence of your role and setting

   Using counselling skills with friends and family

   Using counselling skills as part of another role

  Face to face compared with telephone and email conversations

   The relationship differences when working unseen

   Different skills for working unseen

   Other issues that may arise

  Unplanned and unexpected conversations

 Chapter 17: What could possibly go wrong (8)

  Being taken advantage of

  Making friends with your 'client'

  Someone comes to harm

  Being the subject of a complaint

Part VI: Part of Tens

 Chapter 18: Ten key counselling skills





  Non-verbal encouragement






 Chapter 19: Ten resources to explore counselling skills further






  Victim Support



  Internet resources

  Further and Higher Education


 Chapter 20: Ten authors to further your understanding

Gerard Egan

Colin Feltham

Margaret Gough

Francesca Inskipp

Dave Mearns and Brian Thorne

Richard Nelson-Jones

Tony Merry

John McLeod

Carl Rogers

Pete Sanders

Appendix: Becoming a Counsellor

 Think about why you want to become a counsellor (2)

   The wounded healer

   A note of caution

 Being realistic about opportunities for jobs once qualified

   The rewards of being a counsellor

 Training and Education for counselling (12)

  What you need to know and learn to go on to being a counsellor

    Typical entry criteria for Diploma level training

   Qualifications you will need

Personal Qualities

Counselling Skills knowledge

Counselling Skills experience

Commitment to training and what it involves

Knowing which course is right for you


Academic level

Theoretical orientation


 Gaining experience



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