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Becoming a Skilled Counselor

Becoming a Skilled Counselor

January 2013 | 408 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

The core text for counselor skill development, Becoming a Skilled Counselor prepares students with the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to be effective helpers. Authors Richard D. Parsons and Naijian Zhang explain the essentials of the counseling relationship, the dynamic and intentional nature of the helping process, the knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate change and the theories and research guiding the selection and application of interventions.

Uniquely focused on the process of counseling, the authors' approach invites students to conceptualize clients using a fluid and dynamic model rather than a linear, step-by-step process. Each chapter is structured to reinforce concepts by first introducing the key constructs and empirical support, then providing application opportunities through detailed case illustrations with dialogue transcripts and guided practice exercises. The text emphasizes mindfulness, intentionality, ethics, and reflection to aid counselors in their journey of self-discovery and professional identity development.

Becoming a Skilled Counselor is the first book in Counseling and Professional Identity, a series that targets the development of specific competencies identified by CACREP (Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs).

Editors Preface
Authors Preface
Section I: Counseling a Process and a Profession
Chapter 1: Counseling: Helping as a Professional Practice
Chapter 2: Helping – The Practice of Facilitating Change
Section II: The Elements and Dynamics of Counseling
Chapter 3: The Counseling Relationship: A Unique Social Encounter
Chapter 4: Identifying the “What Is”: Probing the Client’s Issues
Chapter 5: Goal Setting: Identifying the “what is desired”
Chapter 6: Moving from “what is” to “what is desired”
Chapter 7: Practice Accountability: An ethical mandate and a practice necessity
Section III: Counselor as Professional
Chapter 8: Counselor Competence: An Ethical Precondition to Successful Intervention
Chapter 9: Care for the Counselor
Chapter 10: The Unfolding Professional Identity
Section IV: Applying what we Know
Chapter 11: Samantha – Finding it hard to say goodbye
Chapter 12: Jamal – The Gym Teacher’s Concern
Chapter 13: Mrs. Ayame Hoshi… Feeling as Half of A Person
Epilogue: From the Authors Chairs

good supplementals
good applications

Dr Karen Dickinson
Counselor Education, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
May 10, 2013

Using a different text, however, might use next year after I've taught the course once on my own.

Ms Cristen Wathen
Health and Human Development, Counseling Program, Montana State University - Bozeman
March 26, 2013
Key features


  • Specific CACREP competencies are addressed in each chapter.
  • Case Illustrations in each chapter profile a variety of clients and scenarios, providing in-depth verbatim transcripts of client/counselor dialogue.
  • Comprehensive Cases in the final three chapters use dialogue and counselor reflections to demonstrate the skills described in the previous chapters within an actual counseling session.
  • Guided Practice Exercises help students practice their counseling skills and develop their professional identity.
  • Learning Objectives, Keystones, and Recommended Resources help students check their skill mastery and explore concepts in more depth.
  • Video Demonstrations of counseling sessions show counseling skills in action.
  • Author Video addresses common challenges students may encounter when taking this course.
  • From the Author's Chair features reflections and insights from the authors on their views on counseling and their own professional identities.

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Sage College Publishing

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