`A treasure trove of helping skills made accessible for all.'
This is what I would say if I were asked to sum this book up in one sentence.
Has a wealth of knowledge that he seamlessly passes onto the reader. Through the text you can see the humanness of the man and the compassion and skill of the helper.
It is very easy to see what is in this book due to the extensive `contents' layout.
The book is split into six parts, see below. Under each heading it is very clear what is included; it takes you through a journey from starting as a helper right through to how you as the helper can make a difference in your client's life by motivating them to bring change into their life.
Laying the Groundwork
Basic Communication Skills for Helping
Stage 1: of the Helping Model and Advanced Communication Skills
Stage 2: Helping Clients Determine What they Need and Want
Stage 3: Helping Clients Work for What they Need and Want
The Action Arrow: Making It All Happen
Readability and Style
The first couple of chapters seem quite heavy with references which could put you off, however don't be, as you will be rewarded when reading this book right through to insights, that can't be bought.
This book is written in a very practical way with the text interspersed continually with counselling sessions. The good part is that Egan gives you what you should and should not say thus making it a very workable book.
The other very helpful thing Egan has included is a chapter summary at the beginning of each chapter. This is very detailed, helping you once again to locate just what you want.
Important parts of the text are laid out in bold which makes it easier to read and remember them. It is written in a very informative way giving you direct access to help on any given subject
This book is 95% text interspersed with a few diagrams; however, don't let this put you off as the text flows with ease onto the next area to be covered and with each subject getting directly to the point you know exactly what you are reading and what areas you are learning about. There are also dialogue boxes included in the text that help formulise what points have been talked about.
Anyone serious about being a helper really needs to have this book in their library. Having read this book through it will then be an invaluable reference book that you will want to continue to refer to. Egan has included not only a subject index but a name and reference index thus making this book extremely easy to find those all important items you are looking for.
Egan talks extensively about how the client feels covering basic and advanced empathy very thoroughly. He uses a catalogue of dialogue examples where you can without difficulty put yourself in the helpers shoes. This book is not just giving us the `talk' of how to do it, but it is showing us the `walk' i.e. with written conversations between the client and helper. It teaches you ways of how to develop your own `helpers' vocabulary so that you can build up your own natural formulas of developing conversations.
In chapter 6 it shows seamlessly use of attending, listening, understanding, empathy, probing and summarising skills. Egan shows the helper how to use all these skills, naturally interchanging each so that individually they are used correctly and in balance of each other.
Chapter 7 is where a lot is spoken about how get the client to `tell' their story and how to identify problems. On page 123 there is a very helpful text box of helpful questions that counsellors can help clients ask themselves to `find', `discover' and specify problem situations.
It covers subjects such as resistance and reluctance to change and how we can best help our client to move on. This book looks at the pitfalls of thinking and saying the wrong thing in these sorts of situations.
The process, need and wisdom of challenging is looking at `blind spots' and how best to help the client work on the `right' things that they need to.
Chapter 12 is an in-depth look at decision making and how bad decisions get people into trouble, including ourselves. It goes through very practical step-by-step ways to bring the client acknowledgement into their blind areas.
The whole area of goal setting is covered in chapter 14 including how goals are shaped and needs versus wants. On page 256 there are evaluation questions asked of the helper in aiding the clients to set goals.
Perhaps it is fitting that the last chapter, 19, covers `making it all happen; helping clients get what they wand and need.' It looks at subjects such as getting along without a helper thus helping the client to build social networks.
This book is extremely helpful to help the helpee bring the best of themselves to the client.
This is a very important resourceful book about many areas of helping that covers too many areas to report in a review like this one. I hope that this has given you a small insight into this book that wants you to rush out and buy it and to discover for yourself all that is contained within its pages.
I believe anyone who is interested in helping people can not afford to miss reading this book. It is a vital bit of a helper's kit to have.
This book does what it sets out to do, help us to be `Skilled Helpers.'