Skills for Effective Counseling: A Faith-Based Integration

Skills for Effective Counseling: A Faith-Based Integration

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Anyone in a helping profession—including professional counselors, spiritual directors, pastoral counselors, chaplains and others—needs to develop effective communication skills. But learning these skills is like learning a new language: it takes time and practice to communicate effectively, and lack of practice can lead to the loss of one's ability to use this new language.
Suitable for both beginning students and seasoned practitioners, Skills for Effective Counseling provides a biblically integrated approach to foundational counseling skills that trains the reader to use specific microskills. These skills include perceiving, attending, validating emotion and empathic connection.
Chapters include textbook features such as sample session dialogues, role plays and a variety of both in-class and out-of-class exercises and reflection activities that will engage various learning styles. Strategically interwoven throughout the chapters are special topics related to:
  • multicultural counseling
  • biblical/theological applications
  • current and seminal research related to microskills
  • diagnostic and theoretical implications
  • clinical tips for using skills in "real world" counseling settings
  • the relevance of specific microskills to interpersonal relationships and broader ministry settings

This textbook and the accompanying IVP Instructor Resources include all of the activities and assignments that an instructor might need to execute a graduate, undergraduate or lay course in foundational counseling skills. Professors teaching within CACREP-accredited professional counseling programs will be able to connect specific material in the textbook to the latest CACREP Standards.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780830828609
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication date: 10/14/2016
Series: Christian Association for Psychological Studies Books
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 486
Sales rank: 657,623
Product dimensions: 9.90(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Elisabeth A. Nesbit Sbanotto is a consultant, speaker, writer, counselor and educator. She is assistant professor of counseling at Denver Seminary and the coauthor with Craig Blomberg of Effective Generational Ministry. A national certified counselor and registered psychotherapist, she maintains a private practice in Littleton, Colorado.

Heather Davediuk Gingrich is a counselor, scholar, teacher and former missionary. She is professor of counseling at Denver Seminary and maintains a small private practice working with complex trauma survivors. She is the author of Restoring the Shattered Self.

Fred C. Gingrich is professor of counseling at Denver Seminary and served as division chair from 2007 to 2015. He practiced and taught in Ontario for fourteen years prior to directing MA and EdD degrees in counseling at seminaries in the Philippines.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables


1. The Microskills Approach

Skill: The Skill of Learning New Skills

Skill: Identifying Targeted Skill Areas

2. The Person of the Counselor

Skill: Self-as-instrument

Target 1: Establishing Relationship and Exploring

3. What Do You Notice?

Skill: Perceiving

4. Your Presence in the Room

Skill: Attending

5. Identifying the Pieces of the Story

Skill: Reflecting Content

6. Validating Emotion

Skill: Reflecting Feeling

7. Connecting Empathically

Skill: Empathic Reflection

Targets 2 and 3: Deepening and Growing

8. Zeroing In

Skill: Clarifying

9. Connecting Deeply

Skill: Intuitive Empathy

10. Expanding Therapeutic Options

Skill: Using Metaphors

11. Reflecting Apparent Discrepancies

Skill: Confronting

12. Using the Here and Now

Skill: Authenticity, Self-disclosure and Immediacy

13. Strategies for Growth

Skill: Implementing Change

14. Expanding the Counseling System

Skill:Thinking Systemically and Using the Relational System

15. Appreciating the Sacred

Skill: Attuning to the Holy Spirit and Spiritual Themes

Target 4: Consolidating and Ending

16. Endings and New Beginnings

Skill: Consolidating and Ending


Appendix A: Answers to Chapter Exercises

Appendix B: Additional Learning Activities

Appendix C: Small Group Role-Play Exercises and Transcript Analysis Assignment

Appendix D: The Relationship Between Psychology and Religion


Author and Subject Index

Scripture Index

What People are Saying About This

Everett L. Worthington Jr.

"Professionals often zero in on disciplinary differences in approach, but in this excellent text Elisabeth Nesbit Sbanotto, Heather Davediuk Gingrich, and Fred C. Gingrich transcend disciplinary differences and get to the heart of being a better people-helper—the interpersonal helping skills shared across people-helping disciplines. This is a comprehensive, readable text that is a fully integrated Christian and psychological model for being an effective helper. Regardless of your discipline or theoretical approach you'll love it."

Tim Clinton

"Every day I look for resources that will help me and others become more effective in helping counsel and minister to others. Whether you are a beginning student, seasoned clinician, or pastor, Skills for Effective Counseling is a must-add to your library. It is clinically excellent, biblically anchored, and easy to understand yet filled with immense wisdom and understanding."

Stephen P. Greggo

"Skills for Effective Counseling strives to equip a new generation with listening skills and a constructive framework to counsel with love in service of Jesus Christ. Forty years ago, Gary R. Collins demystified counseling and connected basic helping principles with Christian discipleship in How to Be a People Helper. In Skills for Effective Counseling, Sbanotto, Gingrich, and Gingrich honor the heart of that pioneering quest. This is a foundational text that is accessible, intentional, integrative, systematic, and reflective. It is accessible in that it is multiculturally aware, jargon free, and adaptable to ministry. The intentional design to promote quality-helping encounters is evident in its sequential approach, dialogue samples, and plentiful learning activities. The faith-integrative component is found in comparative tables and discussion. Contemporary counseling links to Christian soul care. Each chapter systematically bridges pivotal empirical findings with elevated conversation. The reader is shown how to increase communication habits that deepen interpersonal relationships and motivate growth. There are countless opportunities for self-reflection with scales to obtain insightful feedback. This book unfolds a helping process that is realistic, hopeful, and, most importantly, biblically faithful. Finally, a faith-sensitive, microskills text for the next generation of people helpers."

Bradford M. Smith

"This book combines clarity and reader-friendliness with an academically solid, up-to-date approach to counseling skills. Unusual in drawing on the three perspectives of its authors (a counselor, a marriage and family therapist, and a psychologist), it will be a great text for students and a wonderful resource for practitioners, whatever their people-helping role—including pastors and other church-based workers. The Christian integrative perspective is woven throughout, as well as having its own chapter. A chapter on the systems perspective—rare in such counseling skills books—is an important, welcome addition."

Gary J. Oliver

"Wow. What a delightful surprise. This biblically sound, research-based, therapeutically relevant, and easy-to-read book is a unique, fresh, rich, integrative, and practical resource. Regardless of your therapeutic orientation, you'll find some practical tools to help you to become even more effective. It's a breath of fresh air for the practicing clinician and will be a resource that you'll turn to often. There are several chapters alone that are worth the price of the book. If you want to upgrade your therapeutic toolkit and increase both your confidence and effectiveness, read this book. It's that good."

Gary W. Moon

"Skills for Effective Counseling is a comprehensive yet accessible textbook written from decades of professional practice by the authors. It is for people helpers across a variety of roles—professional counselors, pastoral care providers, spiritual directors, and life coaches—and features a wealth of training activities, exercises, and transcript analysis. This is a welcome addition to the counselor education fields."

C. Gary Barnes

"Finally! We have been given a competent textbook that tackles the need for training graduate students in skills for effective counseling that also addresses faith-based integration. Sbanotto, Gingrich, and Gingrich have given us an excellent tool to understand the relationship of faith-based counseling to secular approaches in a way that will guide us in effective helping processes with those of varied spiritual beliefs."

Siang-Yang Tan

"Skills for Effective Counseling is well written, comprehensive, and very helpful for training counseling skills, covering essential microskills with the integration of Christian faith and counseling. This is a much-needed book for the effective training of Christian professional counselors as well as lay counselors. Highly recommended!"

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Skills for Effective Counseling: A Faith-Based Integration 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
theChristianReviewer More than 1 year ago
“Skills For Effective Counseling; A Faith-Based Integration” is a very unique book that really hits multiple levels of need all at the same time. It covers from a textbook-style for the professional counselor, to the Pastor or layperson that serves as in a helping ministry, and even in general relationships within the lives of everyone. It has specific learning techniques and practical exercises that allow you to practice your counseling skills very effectively. If you want to go deep, you will be focusing more toward the entire book, but specifically the Diagnostic Implications sections throughout the book. Pastors will likely focus on Ministry and Relationship Applications, and general readers will focus more on the Relationship application. This book is written very well and was done by IVP Academic in partnership with the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS). They use tools called microskills that give foundational skills that build ultimately into larger skill sets. It does use some modern psychology, but has a good blend that brings Scripture strongly into the counseling skills. There are parts of the book that are more geared toward the academic side and clinical, so some people may take a little longer to get through the contents. However, if you are someone who is going into the counseling field or a pastor, mentor, pastoral care person or in a general person-helping role, this book will be very helpful for you. I know it will be a book that I reference quite often in my personal library. I received a copy of this book in exchange for this review from IVP and all opinions are my own.