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Learning the Art of Helping Building Blocks and Techniques

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-08-10
  • Publisher: Pearson
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Students and beginning counselors get step-by-step guidance for developing the skills and techniques they need to effectively help their clients.

This sixth edition of the best-selling Learning the Art of Helping: Building Blocks and Techniques emphasizes the techniques and skills necessary to be effective in the art of helping, from basic building blocks to advanced therapeutic techniques. The text is practical, innovative, and focused on the relationship between helper and client. The author incorporates the latest research on effective treatments, while offering an integrative perspective.

The author’s conversational tone is appealing to students, yet the book is carefully referenced for instructors. The goal is to make beginning helpers become “reflective practitioners.” “Stop and Reflect” sections, exercises, homework, class discussion topics, and Journal Starters support this approach. The sixth edition includes new sections highlighting issues of culture in research, challenges related to gender differences, and helping skills specific to children.  

Author Biography

Mark E. Young is Professor at the University of Central Florida. He received his bachelor’s degree from Miami University, his master’s from Wright State University, and his doctorate from Ohio University. He has trained helpers for more than 25 years and worked as a therapist in community mental health, private practice, college counseling centers, and corrections for more than 15 years. Since 2003 he has been affiliated with the Marriage and Family Research Institute teaching relationship skills to low-income couples. His professional writing has focused mainly on therapeutic methods and techniques, wellness, and couples. If you have comments or suggestions on what you have read, please send an e-mail to meyoung3000@gmail.com.

Table of Contents

Brief Table of Contents

1. Helping as a Personal Journey

2. The Therapeutic Relationship

3. Invitational Skills

4. Reflecting Skills: Paraphrasing

5. Reflecting Skills: Reflecting Feelings

6. Advanced Reflecting Skills: Reflecting Meaning and Summarizing

7. Challenging Skills

8. Assessment and Goal Setting

9. Change Techniques, Part I

10. Change Techniques, Part II

11. Evaluation, Reflection, and Termination

12. Skills for Helping Someone Who Is Different





Detailed Table of Contents


The Demands of the Journey 1

Becoming a Reflective Practitioner 2

    Using Reflection to Help You Overcome Challenging Helping Situations and Enhance Your Learning 3

    Using Reflection to Help Clients with Backgrounds Different from Your Own 3

    Using Reflection to Accommodate New Information about Yourself 4

    Learning to Reflect through Exercises in This Book 6

What is Helping? 6

    Psychological Helping 8

    Interviewing 8

    What Are Counseling and Psychotherapy? 10

    Coaching 11

Challenges You Will Face in Learning the Art of Helping 11

    The Challenge of Development 12

    Taking Responsibility for Your Own Learning 12

    Finding a Mentor 14

    Finding the Perfect Technique 14

    In Limbo 14

    Accepting Feedback and Being Perfect 15

    Following Ethical Guidelines 15

    Individual Differences 17

Who Can Be an Effective Helper? 17

    What Can You Bring to a Client? 19

The Nuts and Bolts of Helping 21

    Learning Basic Skills and Common Therapeutic Factors 21

    Therapeutic Building Blocks 22

    Change Techniques 24

    The Importance of the Building Blocks 24

The Stages of the Helping Process: A Road Map 24

Summary 26

Exercises 27

    Group Exercises 27

    Group Discussions 28

    Written Exercises 28

    Self-Assessment 29

    Homework 29

    Journal Starters 30


The Importance of the Therapeutic Relationship in Creating Change 33

    What Is a Helping Relationship? Is a Professional Helping Relationship the Same as a Friendship? 34

    The Unique Characteristics of a Therapeutic Relationship 36

    What Clients Want in a Helping Relationship 38

How Can a Helper Create a Therapeutic Relationship? 38

    Relationship Enhancers 39

Other Factors That Help or Strain the Therapeutic Relationship 45

    Facilitative Office Environment 45

    Distractions 46

    Appearing Credible and Taking a Nonhierarchical Stance 46

    Therapeutic Faux Pas 47

    Transference and Countertransference 50

Summary 56

Exercises 57

    Group Exercises 57

    Small Group Discussions 57

    Homework 58

    Journal Starters 59


Listening to the Client’s Story 61

Nonverbal Communication between Helper and Client 64

    Regulation 64

    Intimacy 65

    Persuasion 65

Nonverbal Skills in the Helping Relationship 65

    Eye Contact 66

    Body Position 66

    Attentive Silence 67

    Voice Tone 67

    Facial Expressions and Gestures 68

    Physical Distance 68

    Touching and Warmth 69

Opening Skills: How to Invite 71

    Saying Hello: How to Start the First Session 72

    How to Start the Next Session 72

    Encouragers 73

    Questions 74

Summary 79

Exercises 80

    Group Exercises 80

    Small Group Discussions 82

    Written Exercises 83

    Self-Assessment 84

    Homework 84

    Journal Starters 84


Reasons for Reflecting 86

Reflecting Content and Thoughts, Reflecting Feelings, and Reflecting Meaning 86

The Skill of Paraphrasing: Reflecting Content and Thoughts 89

    How to Paraphrase 89

    Paraphrasing: What It Is and What It Isn’t 90

    When to Paraphrase and the Nonjudgmental Listening Cycle 91

Common Problems in Paraphrasing 94

    Simply Reciting the Facts 94

    Difficulty Listening to the Story because of “Noise” 94

    Worrying about What to Say Next 95

    Being Judgmental and Taking the Client’s Side 95

    Being Judgmental of the Client 96

    Turning a Paraphrase into a Question 96

Summary 97

Exercises 97

    Group Exercises 97

    Small Group Discussions 98

    Written Exercises 99

    Self-Assessment 99

    Homework 99

    Journal Starters 100


The Importance of Understanding Emotions 101

The Skill of Reflecting Feelings 102

    The Benefits of Reflecting Feelings 102

    Why It Is Difficult to Reflect Feelings 103

How to Reflect Feelings 104

    Step 1: Identifying the Feeling or Feelings 104

    Step 2: Putting the Emotion into Words 104

Common Problems in Reflecting Feelings and Their Antidotes 110

    Asking the Client, “How Did You Feel?” or “How Did That Make You Feel?” 112

    Waiting Too Long to Reflect 112

    Making Your Reflection a Question 112

    Combining a Reflection and a Question: The Error of the Compound Response 113

    Focusing on Other People 113

    Interrupting Too Soon and Letting the Client Talk Too Long 114

    Confusing the Words Feel and Think 115

    Missing the Mark: Overshooting and Undershooting 115

    Letting Your Reflecting Statements Go On Too Long 116

Summary 117

Exercises 117

    Group Exercises 117

    Written Exercises 119

    Self-Assessment 120

    Homework 120

    Journal Starters 120


Meaning, Uncovering the Next Layer 122

    Why Reflect Meaning? 124

    Challenging the Client to Go Deeper: The Inner Circle Strategy 126

    Worldview: Meanings Are Personal 129

How to Uncover Meaning in the Story 130

    Reflecting Meaning 130

    Using Open Questions to Uncover Meaning 133

Summarizing 134

    Focusing Summaries 135

    Signal Summaries 135

    Thematic Summaries 136

    Planning Summaries 136

The Nonjudgmental Listening Cycle Ends with Summarizing 137

    What Happens after the Nonjudgmental Listening Cycle? 138

    A Questioning Cycle Typically Found Early in Training 138

Summary 140

Exercises 141

    Group Exercises 141

    Small Group Discussions 142

    Written Exercises 143

    Self-Assessment 145

    Homework 145

    Journal Starters 146


When Should We Use the Challenging Skills? 149

Giving Feedback 150

    Why Is Feedback Important? 150

    How to Give Feedback 151

Confrontation 154

    What Is a Discrepancy? 154

    Why Should Discrepancies Be Confronted? 154

    Cognitive Dissonance and Confrontation: Why Confrontation Works 155

    Types of Discrepancies and Some Examples 156

    How to Confront 158

    Steps to Confrontation 159

    Common Problems in Confrontation and Their Antidotes 161

    Final Cautions about Confrontation 162

Other Ways of Challenging 163

    Relationship Immediacy 163

    Teaching the Client Self-Confrontation 164

    Challenging Irrational Beliefs 165

    Humor as Challenge 166

Summary 167

    Exercises 168

    Group Exercises 168

    Small Group Discussions 169

    Written Exercises 170

    Self-Assessment 170

    Homework 174

    Journal Starters 174


Why Assessment? 176

    Assessment Is a Critical Part of Helping 177

    Reasons to Spend Time in the Assessment Stage 178

Two Informal Methods of Assessment That Every Helper Uses: Observation and Questioning 181

    Observation 181

    Questioning 183

Conducting an Intake Interview: What to Assess? 184

    A. Affective Assessment 184

    B. Behavioral Assessment 184

    C. Cognitive Assessment 184

    1. Developmental Issues 185

    2. Family History 186

    3. Cultural and Religious/Spiritual Background 186

    4. Physical Challenges and Strengths 186

Categorizing Clients and Their Problems 188

    Organizing the Flood of Information: Making a Diagnosis 188

Goal-Setting Skills 188

    Where Do I Go from Here? Set Goals! 188

    Why Must We Set Goals? 190

    When to Set Goals 191

What Are the Characteristics of Constructive Goals? 192

    Goals Should Be Simple and Specific 192

    Goals Should Be Stated Positively 194

    Goals Should Be Important to the Client 195

    Goals Should Be Collaboration between Helper and Client 195

    Goals Should Be Realistic 196

Resources for Identifying and Clarifying Goals 197

The Technique of Using Questions to Identify a Goal 198

    Questions That Help Make the Goal More Specific 198

    Questions That Help Turn a Problem into a Goal 198

    Questions to Determine a Goal’s Importance 199

    Questions to Enhance Collaboration on Goal Setting 199

    Questions That Help Confirm That the Goal Is Realistic 199

The Technique of Boiling Down the Problem 201

Summary 203

Exercises 204

Group Exercises 204

    Small Group Discussions 205

    Written Exercises 206

    Self-Assessment 206

    Homework 206

    Journal Starters 207


What Are Change Techniques? 209

REPLAN and the Common Therapeutic Factors 210

    Understanding the Factors or Major Components of the REPLAN Model 210

    How the REPLAN System Helps You Plan Treatment 211

    Using the Common Therapeutic Factors 212

    Steps in Treatment Planning Using the REPLAN Model 212

Enhancing Efficacy and Self-Esteem 214

    Sources of Low Self-Esteem 216

    Silencing the Internal Critic: The Technique of Countering 218

Practicing New Behaviors 221

    Role-Playing 223

    Giving Homework Assignments as Practice 226

Lowering and Raising Emotional Arousal 230

    Reducing Negative Emotions 230

    Reducing Anxiety and Stress 231

    Raising Emotional Arousal and Facilitating Expression 234

    Creating Positive Emotions 236

Summary 237

Exercises 238

    Group Exercises 238

    Small Group Discussions 240

    Self-Assessment 241

    Homework 241

    Journal Starters 242


Activating Client Expectations, Hope, and Motivation 244

    The Demoralization Hypothesis 244

    Motivation and Readiness 245

    Increasing Expectations and Fostering Hope 246

Providing New Learning Experiences 256

    Definitions of New Learning Experiences 256

    What Client Problems Are Helped through New Learning? 257

    Common Methods for Providing New Learning Experiences 257

Summary 272

Exercises 272

    Group Exercises 272

    Small Group Discussions 274

    Written Exercises 274

    Self-Assessment 275

    Homework 275

    Journal Starters 275


Evaluating the Effectiveness of Helping 277

Basic Outcome Evaluation Methods 279

    Use Progress Notes to Track Improvement on Goals 279

    Use a Global Measure to Detect Overall Improvement 279

    Consistently Assess the Client’s View of Progress and the Therapeutic Relationship 280

    Use a Specific Measure 281

    Use Subjective Scaling and Self-Report to Measure Improvement 281

    Use Another Person to Monitor Change 282

    Use Client Satisfaction Scales 282

    Use Goal-Attainment Measures 282

Termination 283

    How to Prevent Premature Termination 283

    How to Tell Whether Termination Is Needed 285

    How to Prepare a Client for Termination 286

    Dealing with Loss at Termination 286

    The Helper’s Reaction to Termination 287

How to Maintain Therapeutic Gains and Prevent Relapse Following Termination 287

    Follow-Up 288

    Booster Sessions 288

    Engaging Paraprofessionals 288

    Self-Help Groups 288

    Continue Self-Monitoring Activities 288

    Role-Playing for Relapse Prevention 289

    Letter Writing 289

Summary 289

Exercises 289

    Group Exercises 289

    Small Group Discussions 290

    Written Exercises 290

    Self-Assessment 291

    Homework 291

    Journal Starters 296


Differences Make a Difference 297

    Mismatch between Client and Helper 298

    How Can You Become Culturally Competent? 298

    What Is Culture, and What Should We Do about It? 299

Skills for Helping Someone Who Is Culturally Different 300

    The Skill of Cultural Study and Cultural Immersion 300

    A Tutorial Stance: The Skill of Understanding the Client’s Culture by Listening 301

    Tapping Cultural Support Systems 301

    Achieving Credibility and Trust 301

    Culturally Adapting Treatment: Tailoring Your Approach to the Client 302

    Acknowledging Differences by Broaching 303

Skills for Dealing with Gender Issues 303

    Challenges Caused by Differences in Gender 303

    Skills for Addressing Gender Issues 304

    When the Difference Is Gender 305

Skills for Helping a Child 306

    Identifying Helping Skills for Working with Children 307

    Using Basic Skills as a Guideline for Working with Children 311

    The Case for Play Therapy 311

Summary 312

Exercises 312

    Group Exercises 312

    Small Group Discussions 312

    Self-Assessment 313

    Homework 313

    Journal Starters 313

Glossary 315

References 323

Index 349

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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