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Fall 20067

Fall 2010

FSW – Phoenix



 CN522: BASIC COUNSELING SKILLS. William Retts        



DESCRIPTION:  This course is designed for people involved in a variety of relationships who want to

improve their skills as effective helpers and lay counselors.  The model used as a guide takes the student beyond the initial phase of listening and accepting and suggests ways to define and motivate practical, positive change.  Emphasis will be on developing a uniquely Christian approach to helping.


SIGNIFICANCE FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY:  Because many in our world have been significantly damaged by abuse, addictions, destructive habits, and a lack of healthy relationships, the challenge of being genuinely helpful often seems overwhelming.  For ministers, as well as layperson, the desire to help will lead us into relationships with people whose problems are critical and sometimes chronic.  Knowing how to help as well as when we cannot help is important.  This course seeks to offer practical help to persons in this process.


LEARNING OUTCOMES:  Students completing this course will have demonstrated (a) a better

understanding of and an ability to interpret individual experience, family relationship patterns, culture, and congregational life; (b) skills in counseling individuals, families, and congregations; (c) the ability to more deeply empathize with people to whom they minister; (d) more motivation to engage in ministries of giving care, prevention education, and the healing of persons; and (e) more commitment to self-development and self-care.


COURSE FORMAT:  Course will meet on Thursdays from 2:45 pm – 5:45 for a total of 30 hours.  Each class session will be divided into two parts: Discussion and Practice.  The worship environment will offer students the opportunity to experiment with new strategies and improve already existing skills.  Application of new skills will be stressed.  Class participation is essential.  Students will be expected to come to class having read the assigned material from the text.



The reading requirements will be divided into three parts.  
A total of 1200 pages is the minimum requirement.

I. Required reading:

       Egan, Gerard.  Skilled Helper: A Problem-Management Approach to Helping.  Brooks-Cole Publishers, 1997. [377 pp.]  ISBN: 053434948X, $71.95

       Augsberger, David. Pastoral Counseling Across Cultures. Westminster John Knox Press, 1995.  [408 pp.]  ISBN: 0664256163, $29.95

       The Gospel of John

II. Select two books from the following list:

       James, S. and Butman, R.  Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal. Intervarsity Press, 1991.  [425 pp.]  ISBN: 0830817751, $32.00.

       Cloud, H. and Townsend, J. How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals About Personal Growth. Zondervan, 2001.  [368 pp.]  ISBN: 0310257379, $12.99.

       Kornfield, M. Cultivating Wholeness: A Guide to Care and Counseling in Faith Communities. Continuum Press, 2000.  [400 pp.]  ISBN: 0826412327, $26.95.

       Patton, John. Pastoral Care in Context. Westminister Press, 1993.  [274 pp.]  ISBN: 0664220347, $39.95

III. Select readings that reflect your personal areas of interest and influence.

       An extensive bibliography will be provided for suggestions

       All books will be approved by the instructor.



  1. Attendance and class participation (25%)
  2. A short description of each outside book read will be required. (30%)
  3. A journal will be kept throughout the course.  Details provided. (20%)
  4. Students will be asked to write an integration paper (12-15 pages) reflecting significant learning in the class.  The paper will be due at the end of the course. (25%)




RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: M.Div.: MIN 5; MA: Elective; MACL: Laity Elective




This ECD is a reliable guide to the course design but is subject to modification.