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Skills for Helping Professionals

Skills for Helping Professionals

January 2016 | 392 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Written specifically for non-clinical undergraduate students, but also relevant to graduate studies in helping professions, Skills for Helping Professionals, by Anne M. Geroski focuses on helping students develop the skills they need to effectively initiate and maintain helping relationships. After exploring the literature identifying critical components of helping relationships and briefly reviewing developmental and helping theories, the text covers such topics as the helping process, self-awareness, and ethics in helping, and then focuses on specific helping skills such as listening and hearing, empathy, reflecting, paraphrasing, questioning, clarifying, exploring, and offering feedback, encouragement, and psycho-education. The final chapters focus on individuals in crisis and helping in groups.

Chapter 1: Helping Processes
Helping Terms: Helping, Counseling, Psychotherapy, Therapy, & Advocacy

Helping Relationships

What we Know about Being Helpful

Chapter 2: Understanding Development: Theories, Social Context, and Neuroscience
The Purpose of a Theory

Theories of Development

Cultural and Social Factors in Development

Contributions from Neuroscience

Chapter 3: Helping Theories for Working with Others
Case Studies

Theories of Helping

Psychodynamic Approaches to Helping

Ethological Approaches to Helping

Humanistic Approaches to Helping

Behavioral and Learning Approaches to Helping

Contemporary Approaches to Helping

Chapter 4: Ethical Principles for Helping Relationships

Ethics and Professional Practice

Moral Principles for Helpers

Key Ethical Concepts for Helping Professionals

Ethical Decision-Making

Chapter 5: Self-Awareness, Cultural Awareness, and Helper Competence
Helper Self-Awareness

Personalization Issues, Vicarious Trauma and Burnout

Emotional Self-Regulation

Assumptions, Values and Beliefs

Cultural Competence

Chapter 6: Setting the Stage for Helping
Getting Started

The Helping “Contract”


Determining the Helpee’s Investment in Change

Goal Setting

Action Plans & Expectations

Helper Positioning

Chapter 7: Listening and Basic Responding Skills in Helping Conversations
Listening and Basic Responding Skills




The Purpose of Reflections and Paraphrases


Broaching Conversations

Chapter 8: Skills for Promoting Change

Decision-Making and Problem Solving




Deconstructing Conversations

Motivating Change


Chapter 9: Helping People in Crisis
Natural or Human-Made Disasters or Crises

Crisis Response Strategies for Helpers

Harm to Self or Other

Harm to Self

Harm to Others

Chapter 10: Helping in Groups
Group Types

Basic Concepts in Group Work

Theories and Models of Group Work

Group Leader Principles

Intervention Skills and Group Stage



Instructor Teaching Site

Calling all instructors!
It’s easy to log on to SAGE’s password-protected Instructor Teaching Site at for complete and protected access to all text-specific Instructor Resources for Anne Geroski’s Skills for Helping Professionals, First Edition. Simply provide your institutional information for verification and within 72 hours you’ll be able to use your login information for any SAGE title!

  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • Suggested class assignments are designed to promote students’ in-depth engagement with course material.
  • The Instructor Teaching Site includes complete answers to all in-text reflection questions.
  • Original Video: Exclusive! Original video created for the text allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the material in the text.
  • Multimedia resources are included for further research and insights.
  • Chapter summaries with learning objectives reinforce the most important materials.
Student Study Site

Use the Student Study Site to get the most out of your course!
Our Student Study Site at is completely open-access and offers a wide range of additional features.

  • Original Video: Exclusive! Original video created for the text allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the material in the text.
  • Multimedia resources are included for further research and insights.
  • Mobile-friendly web quizzes allow for independent assessment of progress made in learning course material.

Skills for Helping Professionals is an important addition to the material for teaching helper skills. The inclusion of current theories and issues in helper education is a major contribution to this important area of study.”

Barbara J. Crowe
Arizona State University

“This is one of the most comprehensive books written to date to address helping skills. The table, case illustrations, and other materials enhances the students’ conceptualization of the materials discussed in each chapter.”

Deanna Henderson
Alabama State University

“This text refreshingly presents both linear and non-linear developmental theories and it smoothly navigates the wide range of helping skills for “front-line, non-clinical helpers”, counselors and importantly--advocacy skills.  The text definitely moves helping skills further into the 21st century.”

Judith Kuppersmith
The College of Staten Island, CUNY

“This text provides an outstanding connection between theory and practice, which bridges the gap between skill and application for both graduate and undergraduate students.”

Mary-Anne Joseph
Alabama State University

The course that I lead has a professional skills module. This book is great to support the module

Mrs Angela Hodgkins
Institute of Education, Worcester University
June 6, 2024

Exactly the textbook I needed for the class.

Professor Mark Alan Howard
Benedictine - Mesa Campus, Benedictine University
August 8, 2023

"Skills for Helping Professionals" is a clear and concise approach to undergraduate helping skills. I appreciate that the book can be used to survey different issues related to helping relationships, which will provide a useful framework and approach for our Counseling Center Paraprofessional students, who provide outreach services for the Counseling Center. A little stronger Multicultural Focus would he helpful in future editions.

Mr Jeffrey Graham
Psychology Dept, Univ Of Illinois-Urbana Champ
September 26, 2016
Key features


  • Concrete in-book examples from multiple practice settings and brief online video clips demonstrate key skills.
  • Each skill presented is known to be effective for use in a wide range of entry level and “front line” practice settings.
  • Theory and outcome literature is cited to support concepts, but the book’s focus is on specific skills, rather than conceptual or theoretical knowledge.
  • A clear, understandable, and approachable writing style communicates respect for the reader, while providing practical information that can be applied in real world settings.  

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

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