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Core Career Counselling Skills - Faculty Development

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<strong>Core</strong> <strong>Career</strong> <strong>Counselling</strong> <strong>Skills</strong>Ali and Graham (1996) provide a clear account of the use of counselling skills in acareer guidance session. According to this model, certain skills are more basic thanothers – although all levels of skills are essential for an effective session to takeplace.Active ListeningAt the base of the skills pyramid are the building blocks of an effective counsellingrelationship – Active Listening. This term means listening to:• The content of what is being said• How it is said• The possible meaning behind the words• The feelings expressed• The nature of any silencesActive Listening lays down the framework for empathy without which the listenercannot effectively use any of the other skills in the pyramid. As such, active listeningis used throughout the whole session.Understanding <strong>Skills</strong>This is the second level of the pyramid and includes the following skills:• Re-stating (repeating a word or phrase to draw the speaker’s attention to it)• Paraphrasing (the provider uses their own words to reflect back the gist ofwhat the speaker has been saying)• Summarising (Drawing together a number of key points. Helps move thediscussion forward)• Asking open questions (Although questions should not dominate the session.And ‘What’ and ‘How’ questions are often better than ‘Why’, which can soundjudgemental).


The empathy that has been established through active listening continues to developas the individual is encouraged to review what they have said, to examine it, and tobegin to understand it.Interpretative <strong>Skills</strong>At the highest level of the pyramid are the interpretative skills (so called because inusing them, the provider of career support conveys their own interpretation of theissues that the recipient has been discussing. These skills include:• Challenging (e.g. pointing out inconsistencies)• Immediacy (drawing attention to what is happening in the here and now of theroom – so if for example a trainee has failed an interview, and in the sessionwith you gives a very long-winded unclear answer to a question, you couldgently point out the parallel)• Self-disclosureAli, L and Graham, B, 1996. The <strong>Counselling</strong> Approach to <strong>Career</strong>s Guidance.Routledge: London.

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