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Counseling Micro-Skills Notes #1

The following notes are an aid to up-skilling and cross-skilling your counseling micro-skills, to complement your university studies or supervision training. They are not a replacement for your class/internship materials and instruction.


Beck, K., & Kulzer, J. (2018). Teaching counseling microskills to audiology students: Recommendations from professional counseling educators. Seminars in Hearing, 39(1), 91-106.

Summary - Psychotherapy (professional counseling) and other health and rehabilitation workers use counseling micro-skills

- Effective use of counseling micro-skills = strong therapeutic alliance --> positive intervention outcomes

- Recommended to be taught as soon as possible in graduate programs b/c a foundational skill - Role-play and simulated patients provided embodied learning (experiential)

- practice, repetition, feedback

- Four critical counseling micro-skills: 1. Active listening

2. Nonverbal communication

3. Silence

4. Empathy

- Detailed rubric to grade student demonstration of micro-skills

- A learning activity is provided to enable identification and understanding of the 4 key counseling micros-skills, and best practice for learning

- Strong therapeutic alliance à higher client compliance with intervention

- Counseling micro-skills are recommended for health and rehabilitation professionals, as well as psychology professionals

- Professional counseling = Formal relationships encouraging and supporting mental wellness and functioning across individual backgrounds and goals

- “… assess, diagnose, and treat mental disorders using evidence-based interventions” (p. 4)

- holistic philosophic foundation with a strengths-based approach

- Delivery of modality specific counseling (i.e., theory-driven) requires grounding in counseling micro-skills

- Excelling at therapeutic interventions necessitates a solid grasp of counseling micro-skills

- The therapeutic relationship is more important than the therapeutic technique

>50% intervention effects found due to therapeutic alliance (Lambert, & Barley, 2002)

- Therapeutic alliance = Cultivation of trust and rapport btw therapist and client

Next installment: Active Listening (stay tuned)

~ Charmayne


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