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Ezra Harris
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Gerard Egan's Skilled Helper Model: A Framework for Empowering and Supporting Clients


Gerard Egan's Skilled Helper Model: A Guide for Effective Helping and Problem-Solving




Do you want to improve your helping skills and learn a practical framework for counselling and coaching? If so, you might be interested in Gerard Egan's Skilled Helper Model, which is a widely used approach for helping people manage their problems and develop their potential. In this article, we will explain what the Skilled Helper Model is, how it works, and what benefits it can offer to helpers and clients.




gerard egan the skilled helper model



What is the Skilled Helper Model?




The Skilled Helper Model is an eclectic psychotherapy framework that was developed by Gerard Egan, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Loyola University of Chicago. Egan first published his book The Skilled Helper in 1975, and since then he has revised and updated it several times. The latest edition was published in 2018.


The Skilled Helper Model is based on the idea that helping is a collaborative process between the helper and the client, and that the client is the expert on their own life. The helper's role is to facilitate the client's self-exploration, self-understanding, and self-action, using a variety of skills and techniques drawn from different counselling theories. The helper does not impose their own agenda or solutions on the client, but rather helps them find their own answers and resources.


The Skilled Helper Model consists of three main stages, each with three sub-stages. The stages are:


  • Stage 1: Current Scenario - The helper helps the client explore their current situation, identify their problems and opportunities, and clarify their goals.



  • Stage 2: Preferred Scenario - The helper helps the client envision their preferred future, assess their resources and obstacles, and generate possible strategies.



  • Stage 3: Action - The helper helps the client choose and implement a realistic action plan, monitor and evaluate their progress, and deal with setbacks and challenges.



The Skilled Helper Model is flexible and adaptable to different contexts and clients. It can be used for short-term or long-term interventions, for individual or group work, and for various issues such as personal, interpersonal, career, or organizational problems. It can also be integrated with other models or methods of helping, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, or solution-focused therapy.


How does the Skilled Helper Model work?




The Skilled Helper Model works by following a systematic process of exploration, understanding, and action. The helper guides the client through each stage using specific skills and techniques that are appropriate for each sub-stage. The helper also uses core conditions such as empathy, respect, genuineness, concreteness, self-disclosure, confrontation, and immediacy to build a trusting and supportive relationship with the client.


The following is a brief overview of each stage and sub-stage of the Skilled Helper Model:


Stage 1: Current Scenario




In this stage, the helper helps the client explore their current situation in depth. The goal is to help the client gain a clear picture of what is going on in their life, what problems or difficulties they are facing, what opportunities or strengths they have, and what they want to achieve or change. The sub-stages are:


Sub-stage 1: Story - The helper invites the client to tell their story in their own words. The helper listens actively and attentively to the client's verbal and non-verbal communication. The helper uses open-ended questions, paraphrasing,


summarizing, reflecting feelings, clarifying, encouraging elaboration,


  • and giving feedback to help the client express themselves fully.



Sub-stage 2: Blind Spots - The helper helps the client identify any gaps,


inconsistencies, distortions,


or contradictions in their story. The helper uses probing questions,


challenging statements,


reframing,


and providing alternative perspectives to help the client see their situation more objectively


  • and accurately.



Sub-stage 3: Goals - The helper helps the client define their goals


and desired outcomes. The helper uses scaling questions,


miracle questions,


and goal-setting techniques


to help the client specify what they want to achieve or change,


how they will know when they have achieved it,


  • and how important it is for them.



Stage 2: Preferred Scenario




In this stage, the helper helps the client envision their preferred future


and plan how to get there. The goal is to help the client generate


and evaluate possible strategies


and actions that will move them closer to their goals.


The sub-stages are:


Sub-stage 4: Possibilities - The helper helps the client brainstorm


and explore various options


and alternatives that could help them achieve their goals.


The helper uses creative thinking techniques,


such as mind mapping,


brainstorming,


or role playing


to help the client generate as many ideas as possible,


  • without judging or rejecting them.



Sub-stage 5: Change Agenda - The helper helps the client assess


and prioritize their options


and select the best ones for them.


The helper uses decision-making techniques,


such as pros and cons lists,


cost-benefit analysis,


or SWOT analysis


to help the client weigh the advantages


and disadvantages of each option,


considering their feasibility,


effectiveness,


  • and consequences.



Sub-stage 6: Commitment - The helper helps the client commit


to their chosen options


and prepare for action.


The helper uses motivational techniques,


such as affirmations,


positive reinforcement,


or contracting


to help the client increase their confidence


  • and readiness for change.



Stage 3: Action




In this stage, the helper helps the client implement


their action plan


and monitor


and evaluate their progress.


The goal is to help the client take concrete steps


towards their goals


and overcome any obstacles


or challenges that might arise.


The sub-stages are:


Sub-stage 7: Action Steps - The helper helps the client break down


their action plan into manageable steps.


The helper uses action planning techniques,


such as SMART goals,


task analysis,


or Gantt charts


to help the client specify what they need to do,


when they need to do it,


how they will do it,


  • and who will support them.



Sub-stage 8: Feedback - The helper helps the client monitor


and evaluate their actions


and outcomes.


The helper uses feedback techniques,


such as self-monitoring,


self-evaluation,


or peer review


to help the client track their progress,


measure their results,


  • and identify any strengths or weaknesses.



Sub-stage 9: Learning - The helper helps the client learn from their experience


and make any necessary adjustments.


The helper uses learning techniques,


such as reflection,


review,


or debriefing


to help the client analyze what worked well


and what did not work well,


what they learned from it,


  • and what they can do differently next time.



What are the benefits of the Skilled Helper Model?




The Skilled Helper Model has many benefits for both helpers and clients. Some of the benefits are:


  • It is a comprehensive and systematic model that covers all aspects of the helping process, from assessment to termination.



  • It is a flexible and adaptable model that can be used for different types of problems, clients, and settings.



  • It is a client-centered and collaborative model that respects the client's autonomy, agency, and expertise.



  • It is a goal-oriented and solution-focused model that helps the client achieve positive and lasting change.



  • It is an evidence-based and integrative model that draws on the best practices and research from various counselling theories and methods.



  • It is a skill-based and developmental model that helps the helper improve their competence and confidence as a helper.



How can you learn the Skilled Helper Model?




If you are interested in learning the Skilled Helper Model, there are several ways to do so. Some of the ways are:


  • Reading Egan's book The Skilled Helper, which provides a detailed explanation of the model, its theoretical foundations, its practical applications, and its case examples.



  • Taking a course or workshop on the Skilled Helper Model, which can be offered by various training providers, such as universities, colleges, or professional associations.



  • Watching videos or podcasts on the Skilled Helper Model, which can be found online or on platforms such as YouTube or Spotify.



  • Practicing the Skilled Helper Model with your clients, colleagues, friends, or family members, under supervision or feedback from a qualified helper or mentor.



  • Reflecting on your own experience of using the Skilled Helper Model, using tools such as journals, logs, or portfolios.



What are the challenges of the Skilled Helper Model?




The Skilled Helper Model is not without its challenges and limitations. Some of the challenges are:


  • It is a complex and demanding model that requires a high level of skill, knowledge, and experience from the helper.



  • It is a time-consuming and intensive model that may not be suitable for some clients, problems, or settings.



  • It is a culturally sensitive and ethical model that requires the helper to be aware of and respect the client's values, beliefs, and preferences.



  • It is a dynamic and evolving model that requires the helper to keep up to date with the latest research and developments in the field.



  • It is a challenging and rewarding model that requires the helper to be open to feedback, learning, and growth as a helper.



Conclusion




The Skilled Helper Model is a widely used and respected approach for helping people manage their problems and develop their potential. It is based on the idea that helping is a collaborative process between the helper and the client, and that the client is the expert on their own life. The Skilled Helper Model consists of three main stages: current scenario, preferred scenario, and action. Each stage has three sub-stages that guide the helper and the client through a systematic process of exploration, understanding, and action. The Skilled Helper Model has many benefits for both helpers and clients, such as being comprehensive, flexible, client-centered, goal-oriented, evidence-based, skill-based, and developmental. The Skilled Helper Model also has some challenges and limitations, such as being complex, time-consuming, culturally sensitive, ethical, dynamic, and evolving. The Skilled Helper Model can be learned through various ways, such as reading Egan's book, taking a course or workshop, watching videos or podcasts, practicing with clients or peers, and reflecting on one's own experience.


If you are interested in learning more about the Skilled Helper Model or applying it to your own practice or personal life, we hope this article has provided you with some useful information and guidance. We also encourage you to explore other sources of information and support on the Skilled Helper Model, such as Egan's book, online resources, or professional networks. The Skilled Helper Model is a powerful tool for helping people achieve positive and lasting change in their lives. We wish you all the best in your journey as a skilled helper. b99f773239


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