COURSE TITLE: Communication and Counselling Skills
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Everett Vroon, MA, R. Psych
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3 (hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 3)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: An introduction to and practical application of basic communication and counselling skills. Students will learn to use the various skills in lab sessions. Acquisition of these skills will allow students to improve communication in their relationships and enable them to facilitate client communication in a counselling setting.

Prerequisites: Nine credits in psychology at the 300- or 400-level including PSYC 395
  • Egan, G. & Schroeder, W. (2009). The Skilled Helper: A Problem-Management and Opportunity-Development Approach to Helping, First Canadian Edition.  Toronto, ON: Nelson Education Ltd.
  • Egan, G. & Schroeder, W. (2009). Exercises in Helping Skills: for use with The Skilled Helper. Toronto, ON: Nelson Education Ltd.
Class attendance and participation10%
Completion of Exercises in Exercises in Helping Skills Manual20%
Communication Skills Demonstrations20%
Midterm Project25%
Final Project25%
  1. Students will be introduced to the history of helping and the different contexts in which it occurs.
  2. Students will learn the values and ethical principles that are integral to the helping relationship.
  3. Students will learn key communication skills that are important to helping others, as well as the “shadow” side of those skills that can hinder the helping process.
  4. Students will learn skills to challenge both themselves and others in a constructive manner.
  5. Students will become proficient at practicing these skills with other learners in a safe setting.
  • Week 1
    • Class: Introductions, Handout of Course Syllabus, Discussion about structure of  course as well as importance and process of ensuring confidentiality and safety during lab exercises.
    • Lab:  Formation of practice groups (Pairs or groups of 3 depending upon final enrollment); Creating safety within the group
  • Week 2
    • Class:  Introduction and Laying the Groundwork, Overview of the Helping Model (Chapters 1 and 2 in Text)
    • Lab:  Chapters 1 and 2 in the Workbook  
  • Week 3
    • Class: Chapters 3 and 4: The Helping Relationship: Values in Action and Communication: The Skill of Tuning In and Actively Listening to Clients (Chapters 3,4 Text)
    • Lab: Chapters 3 and 4 in the manual
  • Week 4
    • Class: Chapter 5: Communicating Empathy: Working Hard at Understanding Clients 
    • Lab: Work through Chapter 5 in practice groups; practice empathy utilizing issues identified in Week 2.  
  • Week 5
    • Class:  Chapter 6: The Art of Probing and Summarizing
    • Lab: Work through Chapter 6 of the Manual as a group; practice probing and Summarizing in practice group.
  • Week 6
    • Class: Chapter 7: Helping Clients Challenge Themselves
    • Lab: Work through Chapter 7 of the Manual as a group; practice challenging as indicated in manual.
  • Week 7                                
    • Class: Chapter 8: Challenging Skills and The Wisdom to Use them Well
    • Lab: Work through Chapter 8 of the Manual as a group; practice with group as Indicated.
  • Week 8
    • Class: Chapter 9: Helping Difficult Clients Move Forward: Reluctance, Resistance, and Resilience.
    • Lab: Switch up groups; Work through Chapter 9 of the Manual in practice groups.
  • Week 9
    • Class: Chapter 10 – Stage 1: Help Clients Tell Their Stories
    • Lab: Work Through Chapter 10 of the Manual in practice groups
  • Week 10            
    • Class: Chapter 11 – Introduction to Stages II and III: Decisions, Goals, and Plans
    • Lab: Work through Chapter 11 of The Manual in practice groups
  • Week 11           
    • Class: Chapter 12 – Stage II: Help Clients set Viable Goals
    • Lab: Work through Chapter 12 of The Manual in practice groups
  • Week 12
    • Class: Chapter 13 – Stage III: Help Clients Develop Strategies and Plans to Accomplish Their Goals
    • Lab: Work through Chapter 13 of the Manual in practice groups
  • Week 13
    • Class: Chapter 14 – Getting There: Help Clients Implement Their Change Programs – “How Do I Make it all Happen?
    • Lab: Work through Chapter 14 of Manual in practice groups
    • Class: Review, unfinished business re: chapters
    • Lab: Debriefing, termination of practice groups

Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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