Evaluation of a microskills programme with field-based counsellors: effects on core attitudes and counselling skills

Mary Gallagher, Owen Hargie

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Two issues relevant to the role of microtraining in counsellor training are examined. Firstly, due to the increasing use of the microcounselling framework for training counsellors, either directly or indirectly, in the Rogerian attitudes, the effects of such a programme on counsellor attitudes was investigated. Secondly, although microskills training has been generally found to improve and increase trainee's helping skills usage and effectiveness, its effects on field-based counsellors have rarely been evalulated. Thus the second objective of the study was to examine this issue. The subjects were 12 counsellors from a number of counselling agencies. Six of these counsellors participated in a microcounselling programme which taught the skills of nonverbal communication, questioning, reflecting, listening, self-disclosure, reinforcement, opening and closing. The data base for the study consisted of videorecordings of each subject's participation in two extended interactions—one involving an individual discussing a real concern, and the other involving an individual discussing a simulated concern. Various measures of counsellor attitudes, effectiveness, skills, and actual behaviours were obtained. Comparison of the experimental and control groups indicated that the microcounselling programme had little effect on any of the aspects of counsellor performance examined. It is concluded that, although aspects of the design may have influenced the results, an integrated microcounselling approach may be more effective in developing attitudes. In addition, it appears that the characteristics of a professional population, such as counsellors, may differ from those of novices, such that problems in effecting change in skilled performance will occur with the former group.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)405-418
    JournalCounselling Psychology Quarterly
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1989


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