Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Psychology of Helping

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit introduces students to the basic skills and attitudes psychologists use to facilitate communication and foster a good helping relationship. It also introduces students to the skills of basic help on a problem solving level and the inner dynamics of a helping relationship.

The theoretical underpinnings of this study-unit are the helping theory of Carl Rogers and the 3-stage model of Gerald Egan. The students will also have the chance to practice the skills of listening, responding empathically, confronting, working with immediacy and goal setting through group-work. This study-unit lays basic groundwork for students to advance to the study of psychotherapeutic methods and advanced helping skills.

Study-unit Aims:

The aims of this unit are:
- To teach students the basic theory about helping in psychology;
- To offer students the opportunity to practice and acquire appropriate helping skills and stances;
- To provide students with the opportunity to develop the knowledge, attitude and skill of empathy that is crucial for the psychotherapeutic aspect of psychology since without this skill one cannot practice psychological helping.

Learning Outcomes:

Students will be familiar with the basics of:
- Psychological helping and Rogerian client centred theory;
- Characteristics of the helper/helpee relationship;
- The Egan model of Helping;
- The initial stage of psychological helping: establishing the relationship and identifying treatment issues;
- The second stage: deeper exploration and analysis;
- Transference, Countertransference and Resistance;
- The third stage: goal setting and behavioural shaping;
- Termination issues and endings.

In addition students will be able to practice active listening, empathic responding and will have some hands on exposure to confrontation, immediacy and goal setting.

- Know the basic theory and skills of psychological helping;
- Be adept at using these skills at a basic level;
- Understand the values and attitudes behind psychological helping.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Text:
- Patterson, L.E. & Welfel, E.R. (1977) The counseling process. CA: Brooks and Cole.
- Egan, G. (2002) The skilled helper (7th Edition) USA: CA, Brooks/Cole.
- Brammer, L.M. & Macdonald, G. (1996) The helping relationship: process and skills. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
- Brammer, L.M., & Shostrom, E. L. (1960). Therapeutic Psychology. USA: Prentice-Hall.
- Capuzzi Darmanin, A. (1992) Developing leaderships skills, a training manual for leaders. Malta: Media Center Productions.
- Mearns, D. & Thorne, B. (1999) Person-centered counselling in action.USA: Sage Rogers, C., & Webb, D. (2013). Significant Aspects of Client Centred Therapy. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
- Rogers, C. & Kramer, P. D. (1995). On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy. Mariner Books.


ADDITIONAL NOTES Please note that a pass in each assessment component is obligatory for an overall pass mark to be awarded.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Oral Examination [See Add. Notes] Yes 50%
Multiple Choice Questions Examination [See Add. Notes] Yes 50%


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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.