Background. Mastering counselling communication skills is one of the requirements that lead to the diploma of a registered European psychologist. The microcounseling method proves to be effective in training these skills. Aim. Research into the effectiveness of the microcounseling method often reports overall effect sizes only. The aim of this study was to investigate the adequate use of separate counselling communication skills (seven basic skills: minimal encouragements; asking questions; paraphrasing; reflection of feeling; concreteness; summarizing; and situation clarification and five advanced skills: advanced accurate empathy, confrontation; positive relabelling, examples of one's own; and directness) after respectively a basic and an advanced training in these skills. Sample. Participants were 583 first year or second year bachelor students in psychology who took the counselling communication skills progress test (CSPT). The participants are divided in a group of freshmen, who had not received any training in counselling communication skills; first year students, who had received a training in basic skills; second year students who had followed a training in advanced skills and a control group. Method. A between-subject design, a within-subject design and a pre-test-post-test-control group design were used to examine the scores on these skills. Results. Seven basic skills and four advanced skills had large effect sizes. One advanced skill had a moderate effect size. Conclusion. The microcounseling method is very effective on the level of separate microskills. However, students perform better on the basic skills than on the advanced skills. More training seems to be needed in the latter to achieve the same level of mastery.

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British Journal of Educational Psychology
Department of Psychology

Kuntze, J., van der Molen, H., & Born, M. (2009). Increase in counselling communication skills after basic and advanced microskills training. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 79(1), 175–188. doi:10.1348/000709908X313758