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.
Part I: Counseling: A Process and a Profession
Counseling, as the upcoming chapters will explicate, is both a dynamic, intentional helping process as well as an established and ever-evolving profession. Prior to discussing the specific knowledge and skills essential to becoming an effective, ethical counselor it is important for all entering the profession to understand the essence of both the process and the uniqueness of the profession. Chapter 1 highlights the unique knowledge, skills, and process that make counseling unique from other forms of day-to-day helping. Chapter 2 then details the elements intentionally employed within a counseling process to facilitate understanding and achieving desired outcomes.