Counselling Skills for Social Workers  book cover
1st Edition

Counselling Skills for Social Workers

ISBN 9781138504158
Published December 4, 2018 by Routledge
336 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Counselling skills are very powerful. Really listening and providing compassionate empathy without judging is a core part of social work practice with service users.

This book provides a theoretically informed understanding of the core skills required to provide counselling interventions that work. It provides detailed discussion of three core skills which are identified as: talking and responding, listening and observing and thinking. Over 11 chapters these core skills are described in terms of what they mean, how they can be learned and developed, how they can be used and misused and, most importantly, how specific skills can be employed in a coherent and evidence-informed counselling approach. Loughran also looks in detail at the skills required to deliver interventions consistent with three approaches: Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused Work and Group work.

Illustrative case examples and exercises offer further opportunities for reflection and exploration of self-awareness as well as for practising and enhancing skills development, thus making the book required reading for all social work students, professionals looking to develop their counselling skills and those working in the helping professions more generally.

Terms such as social worker, therapist and counsellor will be included as they inform counselling skills in social work.


Table of Contents

List of figures; List of tables; List of exercises; Part I: Counselling skills for social work; Chapter 1: Social Work: Conversations, counselling and therapeutic interventions; Chapter 2: Talking and responding; Chapter 3 : Listening; Chapter 4: Thinking, processing and reflective practice; Chapter 5: Questioning; Chapter 6: Assessing and assessment; Chapter 7: Empathy, reflection and reflective responding; Chapter 8: Affirming, advising and motivating change; Part II: The application of counselling social work to methods; Chapter 9: Applying social work counselling skills in solution focused work (SFW); Chapter 10: Counselling social work skills and motivational interviewing (MI); Chapter 11: Applying counselling social work skills in groupwork; Appendices; Appendix 1: The social work tool kit, for summary of the three skills; Appendix 4.1 Listening, thinking to inform your response; Appendix 4.2 Reflection exercise using two axis tool; Appendix 4.3 Reflection exercise using two axis tool to explore your thinking about ‘Childhood Obesity’; Appendix 4.4 Thinking filters as a framework for reflection: before, in and on action; Appendix 5.1 Checking out open questions, closed questions and reflective responses; Appendix 7.1: Empathetic Observation; Appendix 9.1: Case example: Jack; Appendix 9.2 Edited example of case: Jack; Bibliography

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Hilda Loughran is an Associate Professor in Social Work/Social Policy at University College Dublin. Before becoming a fulltime academic she worked as a social worker in housing, a social work addiction counsellor and a relationship counsellor. During her career she has maintained her counselling social work practice through voluntary work, mostly working with service users in the substance use field. She teaches Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused Work and Group work to Masters in Social Work students and is involved in participatory research with service users enhancing social work education.


'Although it is often said that social workers are not counsellors, as this wonderful book shows social work uses counselling skills all the time. The book is an absolute goldmine of theoretical and practical insights into how to work with service users in skillful and humane ways that can reduce suffering and help them to change. It is essential reading for all social work students and experienced practitioners who wish to keep up with new knowledge and approaches to good practice.' - Harry Ferguson, Professor of Social Work, University of Birmingham 

'Counselling skills are rarely given the proper attention in social work education and practice. This much needed text addresses this gap by covering the three key social work counselling skills. Bridging day to day communication skills with counselling skills through case examples and reflective exercises, the reader is able to assess their level of skill and practice building effective therapeutic relationships with service users in their social work practice.' - Barbra Teater, PhD, Professor of Social Work, College of Staten Island, City University of New York

Here is an extensive, detailed, in-depth exploration of core counselling skills for social workers that also considers complexities set in wide ranging social and professional contexts , discussed in a thoughtful, thought provoking way and accompanied by illustrative examples and exercises. There are also useful chapters on the application of social work counselling skills to solution focused, motivational interviewing and group work approaches. – Stewart Collins, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Wales, Bangor, Associate Lecturer for the Open University