Helping and Counseling Skills for Human Service Workers

Helping and Counseling Skills for Human Service Workers,

 Intro, Liberal, 4 credits

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In this study, students will acquire an understanding of the core counseling and helping skills needed to work effectively in the human services field. Students will learn to be self-reflective helpers, understand diversity and how we are affected by difference, power, and privilege, and recognize the central role of ethics in counseling.


  2. Students will be able to explain the roles and functions of counselors and helpers in the human services.
  3. Students will be able to demonstrate the importance of counselor self-reflection.
  4. Students will be able to identify the phases of the counseling process.

Students will be able to demonstrate a range of counseling skills to use across diverse client populations, situations, and settings.



  2. Students will read assigned chapter of the required text,Skills for Helping Professionals(2017) by Anne M. Geroski and answer selected chapter questions. (25% of final grade)
  3. Students will write 4 journal entries (1 page each) in response to prompts and questions provided by the instructor. (25% of final grade)
  4. Students will watch assigned videos and respond to questions about each. (25% of final grade)
  5. Students will conduct a mock helping session with a volunteer and write a paper of at least 5 pages in length about the session (see detailed assignment below.) (25% of final grade)



1) Text Assignment #1 Weeks 1-3 

Assignment #1. Students will read assigned chapter of the required text, Skills for Helping Professionals (2017) by Anne M. Geroski and answer selected chapter questions. (25% of final grade)


Read textbook chapters 1-3.

Submit written responses to  all end-of-chapter questions 1,2 and 3*. (*Note: In chpt. 3, you can skip question #3)


Due by end of Week  3



2) Journal Entries Assignment # 2. Weeks 4, 5, 6 &7



 Students will write 4 journal entries (1 page each) in response to prompts and questions provided by the instructor. (25% of final grade)


Submit written responses to the journal questions/prompts below.


Journal Entry #1


Chpt. 4: Choose one of the two ethical dilemmas that follows.

Dilemma #1: You are a counselor in an afterschool youth program. One afternoon your neighbor Sara comes into the center and tells you that she has an urgent problem she wants to discuss with you.  Sara is a friend of your daughter’s and she often spends time at your house on the weekends.  You are hesitant but Sara insists that her problem is serious, and she only feels comfortable speaking with you about it.  


Dilemma #2: You are a school counselor and work with students individually and in groups.  One student, James, discloses a personal problem to you in a counseling session.  His teacher, Mrs. Williams, comes to you one day and asks about James.  She says that she has noticed that James seems bothered and upset about something and asks you if you know anything about it. 


Answer the following questions about the dilemma you have chosen.

  1. Based on the reading, what ethical concepts apply to this dilemma? Briefly explain the concepts in your own words.
  2. Describe how you would apply the ethical decision-making process to address the dilemma.
  3. Reflect on your feelings about this dilemma.  Would it be difficult for you? Why or why not?





Journal Entry #2

Chpt. 5: Based on your background, experiences, values, and biases, what is one client population that would be challenging for you to work with?  Discuss why this population would be challenging and the steps you would take to overcome these difficulties.



Weeks 6-7

Read textbook chapters 6-7.

Submit written responses to the journal questions/prompts below.


Journal Entry #3


Chpt. 6: Explain the concept of microagressions and identify some microaggressions that you have become aware of in the contexts of your life.


Journal Entry #4


Chpt. 7: Now that you have learned various skills used in professional helping, reflect on what you have learned. Has your understanding of professional helping changed based on the skills, concepts, and processes that you have learned in this course? What has surprised you the most? What skills do you think you will find most useful and most challenging in practice?


Due by end of Week 7



3) Video Assignment #3 Weeks 8 &9


  1. Students will watch assigned videos and respond to questions about each. (25% of final grade)

The student will view Clinical Interviewing: Intake, Assessment And Therapeutic Alliance video on  ( The link is attached in this Module above). If you have any problems viewing this here, this video is also located in ESC/library resources.

Students will watch the video and take notes on theories and techniques presented in the video.

You only need to view the FIRST 6 chapters of the video ( Intro, Basic Listening, Directive Listening, Directive and Active Responses, Questions and Therapeutic Questions and Intake Interview). 

Please present a summary of the main techniques and points presented in the video chapters. Student will write a reaction paper about the video and present an analysis or review of what they observed.  (25%)

Due end of Week 9




4) Assignment #4. Weeks 10-14  Mock Helping Session

Students will conduct a mock helping session with a volunteer and write a paper of at least 5 pages in length about the session (see detailed assignment below.) (25% of final grade)


For this assignment, you will conduct a mock helping or counseling session with a volunteer.



  • Your session should be about 30 minutes in length.
  • The client-volunteer can describe a real or fictional issue to discuss in the session.
  • You should audio record your session, but the recording is for your use only.  You will not submit the audio recording.


Your paper will include the following:


Section 1:  Give a detailed description of the session.  You may choose to transcribe it word for word from your audio recording or you can put some of it into your own words and use a few key quotes from the recording to illustrate certain points.  Identify at least five different skills that you used in your session. You can follow the model used in the textbook to identify the skills used.

For example: I think part of you feels good when you put yourself aside for your mother, but another part of you feels exhausted when you can’t make her as happy as you’d like.  (Feelings and content reflection)


Section 2:  Ask your client-volunteer to provide you with feedback about how you did during the session, just as you did in your intake assignment.  Ask any questions that you think will elicit useful feedback and suggestions.  Describe the client’s feedback in section 2 of your paper.


Section 3: In this section, you will reflect on your own performance in the mock helping session.  This section should be at least one page in length.  Reflect on what you did well, how you can improve, and what you were thinking and feeling while conducting the session.  Make references to information from the textbook to support your ideas.


Due by Week #14

    During the course of the study, the student will receive written and oral feedback on her/his progress which will be based on:
    1.The student’s ability to analyze, synthesize and evaluate the readings and their concepts within the level of the course.
    2.The student’s demonstration of competent oral and written communication skills
    3.The timeliness and regularity of student’s attendance and submission of written assignments.

    STATEMENT ON PLAGIARISM and Academic Integrity
    : SUNY Empire State College’s policy on academic integrity states in part: ” plagiarism, forgery, misrepresentation and other dishonest or deceptive acts constitute grounds for academic warning or dismissal from the college. ” A further discussion of this topic is available to all students in the Student Handbook.  Information on the topic of academic integrity and accurate citing a paper is available at the writer’s complex on the ESC web site.  Any the student that does not submit work that reflects his/her own efforts and that is not properly document will receive a no credit for the study and will be reported to the dean for further possible action.

    Grading and Evaluation Policy for Undergraduate Programs Effective Fall 2020 Term

    C and D Grades: A grade of D- or better is required for Empire State College to award credit for studies/courses. A grade of C- or better is required to award credit for courses completed through cross registration at other colleges or universities.
    F Grade: The course/study instructor submits an F grade when a student engages in a study or course throughout the term of enrollment and fails to complete it in a satisfactory and sufficient manner.

    This course is designed so the student can complete all learning activities within the time limit of the contract.  The student will receive written feedback on all drafts submitted.  Oral feedback will also be provided during mentor-student conferences; if extenuating circumstances prevent the student from attending meets in-person, phone and/or email discussions are acceptable alternatives.  The student is expected to engage in the study continually throughout the term.


If there is no substantive contact with the mentor by the sixth week of the term, the student will receive a ZW (which means you are withdrawn from the course).

A minimum of 50% of the work in each study must be done to be considered for an incomplete.  If you have a situation, you are responsible for contacting me as soon as possible.

1. If you have submitted no work and have not had contact with me, you will not be eligible for an incomplete.

2. If you are granted an incomplete, please arrange the final due date for your assignments.

3. If you are graded an incomplete, expect minimal contact with instructor after the term is completed.


Method of Instruction: In accordance with our model at Empire State College, your course will involve “guided independent learning” from your teaching mentor/Instructor (me).
Your responsibilities:
1. Completely review the learning contract.
2. Ensure you gather the required resources (texts, articles, videos, etc.) as soon as you can. Most (if not all) of the texts can be accessed via multiple sources, such as, and can be purchased as “used”, e-books, Kindle Editions, or as rentals in order to reduce cost.
3. Review the assignments … and the DUE DATES! If the due dates are left blank, you are expected to contact the instructor to determine the dates for your assignments.
4. Establish a plan that allows you to support completing the assignment per the required due dates. This is VERY IMPORTANT! One of the essential criteria for evaluation is that you demonstrate progression in learning. If you wait until the end of the term to complete your assignments, this will be reflected (negatively) in your grade for those assignments … and the course.
5. Contact me via email to schedule face-to-face, phone, Skype or Microsoft Team,  meetings to clarify assignments and to review your learning. You should plan on 4 to 6 meetings over the term or as needed.

  1. Appointments:  If you are unable to make your scheduled appointment and need to reschedule, please let me know (via email) ASAP so I can make the spot available to another student.
    My responsibilities:  Based on mutual availability, I will schedule appointments to support your learning.  I will provide clarification, as needed, of assignments and learning objectives.  I will review your submitted work and provide appropriate feedback.


    ALL written assignments MUST be uploaded into MOODLE. There is a Moodle file for each individual assignment in each course. Please email me or message me if you submit an assignment before or after the due date if you would like me to grade it sooner.

    (*If you do not have Microsoft Word, please contact MY ESC. You are eligible for Microsoft Office programs as an ESC student)

    Header-Must include your name, title of course, title of assignment and date submitted.
    Footer-Must include page numbers
    Double spaced, 12 pt font, 1” margins all around.
    Spell Check: READ your paper out loud for mistakes.

    **Use the spell/grammar check feature on your Word program.
    Use the many learning support services available locally and online.Please let me know if you need more information about our Writing Support or Academic Support Services.


Learning Assistance:

The ESC library is a rich source of information. Contact Dana Langley in the library for assistance with CHS scholarly articles and other sources.

See Academic Support for Writing Resources and Support on MY ESC





All research papers are to be done in APA format- PLEASE USE APA citations in all assignments that you use sources.  


I  attached  tutorials/ and writing resources on the  Moodle page for this course in the General Information area to help you learn about Citing sources if you need some help. 

**If you do not cite, I will submit your paper to “Turnitin”.

Turnitin is software that the college uses for the purposes of academic integrity; it lets the student and mentor know if any part of the paper has been taken from another source without proper citation. 

If you are not sure how to properly cite sources,(APA format is used for this course) please view tutorials and online resources I have included on Moodle or access Writing Support for other services.

If you need more support, please contact ESC Writing support or Student Academic Services. ESC offers a number of resources ( tutoring, workshops and online support) to help students learn this invaluable skill. 

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