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.

The Unfolding Professional Identity

The Unfolding Professional Identity

The unfolding professional identity

So what is counseling? How is a counselor different than other mental health specialists?


The opening questions are simple, but they demand more than simple answers. What makes a counselor different from other professional helpers? This is not only an interesting question, but one which needs to be answered by counselors themselves. It is also a question that deserves to be answered for those whom we serve.

Answering the questions of “What is counseling?” and “What makes a counselor different?” is pivotal to survival of the profession and the ongoing development of each of its members. The unfolding answers to these questions, which each professional counselor comes to embrace, give shape to that counselor's professional identity.

Because we have discussed ...

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