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Applied Helping Skills

Applied Helping Skills
Transforming Lives

Second Edition
Additional resources:

September 2016 | 488 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
With its practical, experiential approach, the Second Edition of Applied Helping Skills: Transforming Lives covers the basic skills and core interventions needed to begin seeing clients. By approaching therapy as an art rather than from a prescriptive diagnostic position, this text encourages readers to look at every situation differently and draw from their embedded knowledge to best serve the individuals in their care. Authors Leah Brew and Jeffrey A. Kottler weave humor and passion into their engaging prose, effectively conveying their excitement and satisfaction for doing helping work.
Part I: Foundations for Skills
Chapter 1: The Process Revealed
Reading Minds and Other Superpowers  
My Psychic Powers  
Secrets Revealed  
How Therapists Enhance Their Powers  
Power and Influence  
You Gotta Be Desperate  
It’s All About Leverage  
Amateurs Versus Professionals  
A Few Missing Ingredients  
The Perfect Counseling Student  
Chapter 2: Clients in Need: Individual, Social, and Cultural Factors
Cultural Context of the Client Experience  
Cultural Skills and Competencies  
Become Familiar With Cultural Differences  
Assess Stage of Cultural Identity  
Overview of a Client Concern  
Ethical Considerations in the Practice of Helping Skills  
How to be a Good Client  
Decisions, Decisions  
Chapter 3: Models of Helping
Theories and Their Offspring  
An Integrated Model  
Part II: Skills to Use With Individuals
Chapter 4: Skills for Builiding Collaborative Relationships
Your Best Relationships  
Uses of the Therapeutic Relationship  
About Empathy  
Relationship Skills  
Chapter 5: Skills of Assessment and Diagnosis
The Mental Status Exam  
The Basics of Conducting an Intake Interview  
Structured Intake Interviews  
Special Considerations in Assessing Addiction  
Special Considerations in Assessing Physical or Sexual Abuse  
Special Considerations for High Suicide Risk  
Special Considerations for Crisis Situations  
Objective and Subjective Sources of Information  
Models of Diagnosis  
Remembering What You See and Hear  
Making Things Fit Your Style  
Chapter 6: Exploration Skills
An Overview of the Exploration Stage  
Structuring the Conversations  
Opening With a Story  
Asking Questions  
Reflecting Skills  
Putting Reflecting Skills Together  
Exploring the Past  
Summarizing Themes  
Chapter 7: Promoting Understanding and Insight
The Uses of Insight  
The Limits of Insight  
Selected Skills for Promoting Understanding  
What Happens Next?  
Chapter 8: Facilitating Action
Transition From Insight to Action  
Dealing With Resistance  
The Miracle Question  
Setting Goals  
Generating Alternatives  
Reinforcing Behavior  
Relaxation Training  
Using Rehearsal and Imagery  
Using Role-Playing  
Using the Empty Chair  
Using the Transference  
Chapter 9: Maintaining Progress and Evaluating Results
Some Assessment Challenges  
Skills of Evaluating Outcomes and Measuring Results: The Client’s Efforts  
Skills of Evaluating Outcomes and Measuring Results: The Therapist’s Efforts  
Ending Therapy Effectively  
Part III: Skills to Use With Multiple Clients
Chapter 10: Skills for Family Therapy and Other Roles for Therapists
A Different Way of Looking at Things  
Structuring a Family Interview  
Couples Counseling  
Specialized Skills for Working With Children  
The Roles You Take as a Therapist  
Chapter 11: Group Leadership Skills
Group Stage Development  
Group Dynamics  
Group Leadership Approaches  
Unique Ethical Challenges  
Chapter 12: Where to Go Next
What If I Don’t Know What to Do?  
What If My Supervisor Finds Out How Little I Know?  
What If I Hurt Someone?  
What If I Don’t Have What It Takes?  
Some Advice About Where to Go Next  


Student Study Site

The open-access Student Study Site includes the following:

  • Common Errors for Beginning Counselors worksheet is a quick and easy resource for students to use throughout training.

  • Types of Responses lists the strengths and limitations of each type of therapist response, especially when overused.  

  • Types of Therapist Responses Defined is a list students will use to tally response types for video session assignments.

  • Basic Reflecting Skills Paper Rubric for student paper assignments.

  • Video Sessions Rubric for student video assignments.

  • Chapter Summaries to reinforce the most important material

  • “Check What You Learned” short answer and essay questions focus on key terms and concepts outlined in the chapters.

  • Video clips and accompanying questions demonstrate core concepts in the text and help students visualize essential counselor skills. Accompanying video questions help students reflect and assess the counseling situation presented in each clip.

Instructor Teaching Site

Instructor Resources:

  • A Course Philosophy description authored Leah Brew and Jeffrey Kottler outlines major objectives and course structure as well as recommended assignments for a beginner’s course in basic counseling skills.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course. Highlight essential content and features.
  • Final Exam containing essay questions and client/counselor vignettes effectively assess students’ understanding of course objectives.
  • “Check What You Learned” Answer Key to the short answer and essay questions that accompany each chapter and test key terms and concepts.
  •  Video Question Answer Key to questions that appear before and after each online counseling video
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and term courses provide suggested models for use when creating the syllabi for your courses.


Applied Helping Skills: Transforming Lives, Second Edition discusses profound principles of helping in a simple conversational manner.”

Monte Gray
Bronx Community College

“This is a great text, as it provides an accessible approach to the essentials of applied helping skills and demystifies the helping profession.”

Theresa Benson
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

“The simplicity in the delivery of this text book is a key component is helping students at undergraduate and graduate learn the key principles involved in helping people to transform their lives. This textbook offers the student an insight into developing excellent skills in becoming therapists.”

Marian Connell
The Academy of Creative Psychological Therapy, Ireland

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ISBN: 9781483375694