Skills for Effective Counseling
eBook - ePub

Skills for Effective Counseling

A Faith-Based Integration

Elisabeth A. Nesbit Sbanotto, Heather Davediuk Gingrich, Fred C. Gingrich

Share book
486 pages
ePUB (mobile friendly)
Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Skills for Effective Counseling

A Faith-Based Integration

Elisabeth A. Nesbit Sbanotto, Heather Davediuk Gingrich, Fred C. Gingrich

Book details
Book preview
Table of contents

About This Book

Anyone in a helping professionā€”including professional counselors, spiritual directors, pastoral counselors, chaplains and othersā€”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.

Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) Books explore how Christianity relates to mental health and behavioral sciences including psychology, counseling, social work, and marriage and family therapy in order to equip Christian clinicians to support the well-being of their clients.

Frequently asked questions
How do I cancel my subscription?
Simply head over to the account section in settings and click on ā€œCancel Subscriptionā€ - itā€™s as simple as that. After you cancel, your membership will stay active for the remainder of the time youā€™ve paid for. Learn more here.
Can/how do I download books?
At the moment all of our mobile-responsive ePub books are available to download via the app. Most of our PDFs are also available to download and we're working on making the final remaining ones downloadable now. Learn more here.
What is the difference between the pricing plans?
Both plans give you full access to the library and all of Perlegoā€™s features. The only differences are the price and subscription period: With the annual plan youā€™ll save around 30% compared to 12 months on the monthly plan.
What is Perlego?
We are an online textbook subscription service, where you can get access to an entire online library for less than the price of a single book per month. With over 1 million books across 1000+ topics, weā€™ve got you covered! Learn more here.
Do you support text-to-speech?
Look out for the read-aloud symbol on your next book to see if you can listen to it. The read-aloud tool reads text aloud for you, highlighting the text as it is being read. You can pause it, speed it up and slow it down. Learn more here.
Is Skills for Effective Counseling an online PDF/ePUB?
Yes, you can access Skills for Effective Counseling by Elisabeth A. Nesbit Sbanotto, Heather Davediuk Gingrich, Fred C. Gingrich in PDF and/or ePUB format, as well as other popular books in Theology & Religion & Christian Ministry. We have over one million books available in our catalogue for you to explore.


IVP Academic



Target 1 is all about building foundations and creating a solid base on which the counseling relationship can develop. Target 1 involves using the related microskills to build the relationship with the counselee. This is the main task of the early phase of counseling. Consider your own life experiences and the people with whom you have chosen to confide over the years. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we rarely sit down with a stranger and reveal our deepest and darkest secrets before testing the waters to see whether we feel safe, heard and understood. Just because you may hold a formal position as ā€œcounselorā€ does not mean that you are, or should be, automatically endowed with trust by the counselee. No matter the context or the prior relationship, all counselors must earn the honor of hearing the depths of anotherā€™s story for each individual counselee and earn the privilege of speaking into anotherā€™s story. A counselor earns this honor and privilege by listening well, being respectful of the counseleeā€™s story and not rushing the counseling process by jumping to advice giving or confronting.
The foundational microskills that are aimed for in target 1 are typically called the facilitative conditions in the counseling literature. These conditions were first discussed by Carl Rogers (1957/1992). His initial description included six necessary and sufficient conditions for personality change to occur in the counseling relationship (see sidebar ā€œThe Facilitative Conditionsā€). Three of these relate to specific microskills. These skills all work to establish the counseling relationship and begin exploration with the counselee. Each of these three skills-based conditions can be found within the brief descriptions below, but all will be directly or indirectly expanded on in separate chapters to follow.


Use of the first two skills that are given special attention when aiming for target 1 do not require you as the counselor to say a word. Instead they rely on your powers of observation of both the counselee and yourself as the counselor.
Perceiving (chapter three). How we take in the messages sent by the counselee, whether verbal or nonverbal, is what we mean by perceiving. We begin with perceiving because you cannot, as a counselor, know what you are responding to if you have not first perceived it! Perceiving is a skill because we do not always accurately notice the other and sometimes do not even ā€œseeā€ the person in front of us. This skill involves learning to make observations and being aware of not only what the counselee is saying but what he may be showing you or telling you by means of his facial expressions and body language, or in the delivery of his words. The skill of perceiving is about listening, watching and feeling what the counselee shares with you.
Attending (chapter four). Just as we use perceiving to take in the verbal and nonverbal messages of the counselee, in attending we learn to pay attention to the nonverbal messages we may either consciously or inadvertently be conveying to the counselee. In other words, we attempt to see ourselves through the counseleeā€™s eyes in regard to our own nonverbal messages. These nonverbal messages are communicated through specific attending behaviors that, among other things, include our facial expressions, body language, tone of voice and use of space. While attending is primarily behavioral, that is, focused on specific behaviors exhibited by the counselor, there is also a self-reflective element to attending, because behaviors ultimately reflect the internal world of the counselor. Therefore, self-awareness of our own values, beliefs and attitudes about the counselee and the counseleeā€™s situation is essential in order that we may genuinely and respectfully interact with the counselee both verbally and nonverbally.


The purpose of the target 1 reflecting skills is to allow you, as the counselor, to gather all the information that is needed in order to understand the counseleeā€™s situation from the counseleeā€™s perspective. These skills elicit from the counselee information enabling them to ā€œput their cards on the table.ā€ This helps with the exploration aspect of target 1.
The process of exploring, the second focus of target 1, is built on three key reflecting skills: Reflecting content, reflecting feeling and empathic reflection. These are called reflecting skills because the words of the counselor function like a mirror, reflecting back to the counselee what was said without adding to, subtracting from or interpreting the counseleeā€™s message.
With reflecting skills we are still in the early phase of counseling, at the top of the hourglass, the widest and most general part of a counseleeā€™s story. Each reflecting skill will help move us further down into that hourglass. Reflecting content is the most impersonal and surface-level reflection, as it is focused solely on the facts of the counseleeā€™s story. Reflecting feeling moves a step further into the hourglass, engaging the surface emotions of the counseleeā€™s story. Empathic reflection then connects the counseleeā€™s feelings with the content of her story, going a step further into the hourglass. If target 1 skills have been used well, the counselor and the counselee should have a pretty good sense of what the focus of the counseling conversation, and relationship, is going to be. In terms of the counseling process, at this point the early phase of counseling will be drawing to a close, and the counselee and counselor will be moving into the middle phase.
Each reflecting skill is unique and important in its own way and serves a critical purpose in the counseling process. You are likely to find that you have a natural preference or aptitude toward one of these reflecting skills and may therefore struggle with another. That is completely normal and can often help inform you of the theoretical orientation and approach to change strategies that you are most likely to employ when working with counselees. Nevertheless, every counselor must work on developing increased facility and aptitude with each reflecting skill in order to truly serve and benefit his counselees.
Reflecting content (chapter five). Reflecting content is the first of three reflecting skills that you will be specifically aiming for in target 1. In reflecting content, the counselor is listening for the facts of the counseleeā€™s story and summarizing them back to the counselee. In this way, the counselor assures the counselee that the facts, or content, of her story are understood.
Reflecting feeling (chapter six). The microskill of reflecting feeling involves going deeper into the counseleeā€™s story and hearing the emotional messages that the counselee is directly or indirectly communicating.
Empathic reflection (chapter seven). This final skill related to target 1 goes even deeper into the counseleeā€™s story as the counselor summarizes for the counselee how the content and feelings in his story appear to be connected. In each of these three reflecting skills...

Table of contents

Citation styles for Skills for Effective Counseling
APA 6 Citation
Sbanotto, E. N., Gingrich, H. D., & Gingrich, F. (2016). Skills for Effective Counseling ([edition unavailable]). InterVarsity Press. Retrieved from (Original work published 2016)
Chicago Citation
Sbanotto, Elisabeth Nesbit, Heather Davediuk Gingrich, and Fred Gingrich. (2016) 2016. Skills for Effective Counseling. [Edition unavailable]. InterVarsity Press.
Harvard Citation
Sbanotto, E. N., Gingrich, H. D. and Gingrich, F. (2016) Skills for Effective Counseling. [edition unavailable]. InterVarsity Press. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2022).
MLA 7 Citation
Sbanotto, Elisabeth Nesbit, Heather Davediuk Gingrich, and Fred Gingrich. Skills for Effective Counseling. [edition unavailable]. InterVarsity Press, 2016. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.