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Practical Counselling and Helping Skills

Practical Counselling and Helping Skills
Text and Activities for the Lifeskills Counselling Model

Sixth Edition
  • Richard Nelson-Jones - Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

November 2013 | 528 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This sixth edition provides a step-by-step guide to using counselling and helping skills with confidence and proficiency. The author's three-stage model of counselling - relating, understanding and changing - is designed to facilitate developing lifeskills in clients and to help them to change how they feel, think, communicate and act.

It includes new chapters on 'Technology mediated counselling and helping', with updated research and references throughout.

Using practical activities and case examples, the book takes you beyond the basics to more advanced skills, making it an essential companion for all counselling skills courses.

Richard Nelson-Jones has many years' experience as a counsellor, trainer and psychotherapist. His books have helped train thousands of counsellors and helpers worldwide. He is a Fellow of the British and Australian Psychological Societies and of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.


What is counselling and helping?
Create communication skills and feelings
Create mind skills
The lifeskills counselling model
Pre-counselling contact
Listening skills
Show understanding skills
Start the counselling and helping process
Clarify problems skills
Assess feelings and physical reactions
Assess thinking
Assess communication and actions
Agree on a shared definition of problems
Plan interventions
Deliver interventions
Interventions for thinking - 1
Interventions for thinking - 2
Interventions for communication and actions - 1
Interventions for communication and actions - 2
Interventions for feelings
Negotiate homework
Conduct middle sessions
End and assist client self-helping
Relaxation Interventions
Multicultural counselling and helping
Gender-aware counselling and helping
Jane Evans
Technology mediated counselling and helping
Positive counselling and helping
Ethics in practice and training
Personal Counselling and Continued Professional Development

Richard Nelson-Jones is a master of counselling and training and this excellent text is a tribute to what he describes as an 'integrative theoretical framework and model of practice'. Each chapter is packed with insights on the counselling relationship and the practical application of counselling skills. I value it as a resource for teaching communication skills to social workers and counsellors. It is well written, accessible, has numerous case examples and an attention to the languaging of counselling that is grounded in Richard's expertise as a counselling practitioner. 

Andrew Thompson
Professional Teaching Fellow, University of Auckland

This sixth edition of ‘Practical Counselling and Helping Skills’ is a formidable achievement. Its comprehensiveness, clarity of style and structure and its attention to the latest developments in the field make it an outstanding resource for experienced practitioners, trainers and trainees alike. What is more, Richard Nelson-Jones’ reflectiveness on his immense experience over many decades and in differing cultures gives the book a quality of generous inclusiveness which is rare in the counselling literature. Admirers of such contrasting figures as Carl Rogers, Aaron Beck, Albert Ellis and Gerard Egan will all find much to value in its pages

Brian Thorne
Emeritus Professor of Counselling, University of East Anglia

This is a key textbook for anybody wanting to read an influential summary of all the major approaches and theories of counselling. 

Detailed, up-to-date explanations and very clear writing makes the book useful to a wide audience: from students and researchers at all levels, to practitioners and their clients.


Violet Fyffe
AICTP Journal

As I read the 6th edition of Richard Nelson-Jones' Practical Counselling and Helping Skills (PCaHS) I recalled the excitement I experienced when I read the first edition. That was a time when a skills-based approach to counselling was a topic of fierce controversy. It was refreshing to have a book which extended the model from helping to living. Through subsequent editions, Nelson-Jones' basic three-stage helping model has endured because of its utility across a wide range of practice contexts. Many of the ideas which once seemed radical are now accepted widely. New developments, notably thinking and feeling skills, and positive psychology, have been incorporated. PCaHS has always been distinguishable from more basic books on the topic by both its comprehensiveness and its unity. It is this unity of organisation alone which makes me reluctant to think of it as a 'handbook'! It will be a valuable resource for all who want to be challenged to go beyond the simplistic notions of helping currently being fostered by some promoters of life-coaching.

Jim McLennan
Adjunct Professor, School of Psychological Science, La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia

Excellent resource for students

Ms Jayne Hartwig
Centre for Education and Training, Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
July 11, 2023

This book is a helpful resource for senior students embarking on the counselling journey. It covers the most fundamental principals, theories and practical aspects of counselling. The inclusion on activities adds value to the students' experience of counselling. The book is very user friendly and progresses in a logical sequence. I would recommend this book to all new counsellors.

Ms Cindy Melanie Swartbooi
Psychology, Cornerstone Institute
July 28, 2016

A clear and well structured book, that has useful activities for learners who are embarking on counselling training from a basic level and beyond.

Mrs Julie Clayton
Adult Education, St Vincent College
March 3, 2016

Extremely informative and well structured

Ms Catherine J Drewer
Learning for Life, Southend Adult Community College
September 25, 2015

A useful resource to aid with skill development

Ms Victoria Jones
Education, University of South Wales
April 2, 2015

Nelson-Jones presents a comprehensive book about counselling skills which enhances student skills practice

Mr Adrian Easton
Department of Health & Social Studies, Grimsby Institute of HE & FE
March 22, 2015