SAGE Original Video

Introduction to the Skills Video Clips

Skills for Helping Relationships was written to offer instruction in how professional helpers think and respond in intentional, respectful, helpful (“therapeutic”), and appropriate ways when working with others in helping conversations. The videos listed below were designed to offer concrete, visual examples of the skills presented in the Skills for Helping Relationships text. Each video offers a few short clips demonstrating the specific skill, with written cueing to help you identify the skills as they are demonstrated. In all of the videos, Anne and David are the helpers; their helpees vary from children to middle-aged adults.

Each video identified below corresponds to a video icon in the text –in the section of text that discusses that particular skill. You may also notice that some of the same clips are used in different videos, demonstrating a different skill. For example, the empathy videos include some of the same clips as the starting the conversation and listening clips, and assessment skills are used in the negotiation of the contract. This is because helpers use a variety of skills in unique sequences for different purposes in helping conversations.


Video Link 6.1

Starting the Conversation

These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 6. As you watch these videos, notice that Anne and David use questions to invite the helpees to talk about themselves in a fairly open-ended way. The purpose at this point in the helping conversation is to get to know the helpee and learn about the presenting difficulty from the perspective of the helpee.


Video Link 6.2

 Negotiating the Helping Contract

These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 6. Each clip in this series is a bit longer than most of the clips in the earlier videos –because they include more background information before the contract can be negotiated. Notice that Anne and David are also conducting an assessment –learning about the dimensions of the problem as they negotiate the contract.


Video Link 6.3

Gathering Information (Assessment)

These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 6.  Like the Negotiating the Contract clips (above), David and Anne use listening, questions, reflections, paraphrases, and empathy to learn more about their helpees and the challenges that their helpees are grappling with.


Video Link 6.4

Stages of Change

These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 6. The clips in this video offer examples of what a helpee might say or do in each of the stages of change (pre-contemplative, contemplative, preparation, and action). Notice that the helpees in the last two clips (preparation and action) seem to be fluctuating between contemplative and preparation [Nicole] and preparation and action [Nick]. Nicole is preparing to make some changes, as indicated in the “I can do that” comments that suggest she is actually ready, and Nick has indicated that his first action step is to come in for a helping conversation and wants to use his time to plan future steps. Unfortunately, the maintenance stage is not illustrated in a clip in this video.


Video Link 7.1


These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 7. In these videos, you may notice that Anne and David use non-verbal and minimal verbal responses as they listen to their helpees. Also notice how questions are used to invite the helpee to speak. The balance between asking questions and listening is a difficult one, as it will be different in every helping situation and depends a variety of factors, especially the helpee’s interest in talking.


Video Link 7.2


These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 7. In these clips you will notice that Anne and David use reflections, non-verbal and minimal verbal responses, and questions for depth to help communicate empathy. While these skills are important, empathy has more to do with how the helper responds, rather than what specifically the helper says. That is, it is the ways in which these helper responses are timed and delivered that communicate a genuine sense of understanding that characterizes empathy. The helpee’s responses to Anne and David’s communications in these clips suggest that the empathy was felt by the helpees, which, as discussed in chapter 7, is a key component of empathy.


Video Link 7.3


These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 7.  The clips in this video demonstrate content, feeling, and behavioral reflections. Notice how these reflections are used to help bring focus in the helping conversations.


Video Link 7.4


These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 7.  Notice the importance of trying to capture, in the paraphrase, the complete and multiple messages that the helpee has stated. Also, you will see Anne checking out the accuracy of the paraphrase either directly or by using an inflection question, and that the helpers correct their paraphrases when the helpee fills in additional or over-looked information (i.e., when the helpee “corrects” their paraphrase). This communication assures that helpee that he has been heard.


Video Link 7.5


These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 7.  These clips illustrate a variety of question types including closed questions, focused open-ended probes, clarifying questions, inflection questions, and the use of sequential questions. In these video clips you will also see the use of reflections, paraphrases, and expressions of empathy in and around the various questions that are asked.


Video Link 7.6


These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 7.  The intent of broaching conversations is for the helper to raise and remain engaged in (as appropriate) conversations about race, class, and other social location issues, particularly when they seem relevant yet the helpee appears reluctant to name them. Notice in these two clips how Anne uses many of the basic skills identified in chapters 7 and 8 to engage in broaching conversations with Spencer about his college experiences.


Video Link 8.1


These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 8.  As demonstrated in the two brief clips in this video, psychoeducation need not be delivered in formal lectures nor with complicated jargon. Typically, psychoeducation is most effective and best received when it is offered in small, timely (and spontaneous) portions.


Video Link 8.2

Problem Solving-Decision Making

These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 8.  Problem solving and decision-making conversations do not always follow the order of the steps outlined in chapter 8. In these video clips, David uses brainstorming options, assessing the viability of the options, meaning-making, encouragement, and the basic skills of reflection, paraphrasing, questions, and empathy to evaluate options with his helpees. 


Video Link 8.3


These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 8.  Notice in these clips how David and Anne challenge the helpees with caution and tentativeness. The tentativeness is communicated when they signal a challenge as it is about to be made (“let me challenge you…”), by using gentle irony, through an examination of discourses first so it is a context for the challenge, and by pointing out obvious discrepancies. The helpers also use basic skills such as paraphrasing, reflections, normalizing, encouragement, and brainstorming options.


Video Link 8.4


These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 8.  In this short collection of clips, David and Anne use immediacy to open up discussion for deeper meanings and to determine direction in the helping conversations. Notice that they also use the basic skills of paraphrasing, reflection, and empathy in their discussions leading to and following immediacy.


Video Link 8.5


These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 8.  In the first clip in this video, Anne introduces deconstructing conversations around gender roles, and in the second clip, Anne and the helpee deconstruct gay identity and culture, and the process of coming out. The intent of these discussions is to invite the helpees to understand their challenges in a larger social context and to invite them to think about the positions they want to take in regard to the discourses on offer and their own hopes for how they want to live their lives. Here, too, you will also see examples of basic skills such as paraphrases, reflections, questions, and empathy. You will also see that immediacy is an important skill to use in deconstructing conversations.


Video Link 9.1

Harm Assessment

These video clips correspond to the content in chapter 9. Unlike the other videos in this series, this video is not a series of clips –it is a video of an entire, although brief, harm assessment. It is conducted by David, a counselor in a college setting, and in it you will notice all of the components of a harm assessment that are discussed in chapter 9. You will see that the assessment in this example suggests a low level of risk, so David does not engage Nicole in a written no-harm contract, but he does invite her to return to counseling again.


It is important to remember that the appropriateness of using one particular skill over another is rooted in the context of the helpee and contract of the helping relationship; these videos do not offer a comprehensive view of that context. The purpose of these videos is to demonstrate many of the specific skills presented in this text in a clear and concise way. They are intended to offer a quick, brief view of a particular skill. The result of creating videos of clips of helping conversations, however, is that the context of why particular skills are used in each scenario may be somewhat unclear. I hope that you will understand this dilemma and appreciate these videos for their intended purpose.    


As you watch these video clips, I invite you to ask yourself these important questions:

  • “Did the helper demonstrate the skill in an appropriate manner?”

This question gets at the issue of style. In the Skills for Helping Relationships text, recipes for how to implement these skills were outlined and cautions were offered as well. These general guidelines point to but cannot definitively articulate how the skill should be used. How a skill is used is a function of the helper intent (i.e., what she wants to accomplish), style (i.e., her mannerisms -does she speak fast?, slow?, think out loud?, etc.) and most importantly, the needs of the helpee (i.e., Does she need more time to think? Does she seem to need someone who is not animated and perky? Is she looking for direction from the helper? etc.).

When you view these clips, I am hoping that you will take a critical look at how the skill was put into practice. Then ask yourself, how did the helpee respond?  Is there another way that this particular skill could have been used in this helping conversation? What tone might you have used? What word might you have emphasized? What emotional presence was needed and how else might that be demonstrated along side the particular skill being used?

  • “Was this skill (intervention) helpful?”

This question gets at “therapeutic” effectiveness. That is, was the skill effective in addressing a need or issue or topic?

Of course, with a short de-contextualized clip it is difficult to ascertain the effect of a particular skill. That being said, here I am hoping that you ask yourself the important question of how the skill accomplished what it was intended to accomplish, even if we can never know for sure. Did it move the conversation in a productive way? This is sometimes answered in viewing the helpee’s response to the helpers actions (although again keep in mind that effectiveness of an intervention often comes after a series of steps or skills rather than after one particular skill). Ask yourself what additional helper skills or interventions might be needed to follow up from what you see here. That is, what should the helper do next?

  • “What other skill might have been more effective in this particular conversation.”

While these particular video clips were made to exemplify particular skills rather than move a particular content agenda, this question gets at the point that there are multiple ways in which a particular direction or point can be made in helping conversations. Helper intentionality has to do with how the helper understands the helpee and the issue that is the focus of the helping relationship. Intentionality is about how the helper uses the specific helping skills to move the session in a helpful, “therapeutic” direction. Helpers are always making decisions about focus –whether to focus on one word, idea, issue, theme rather than another. The basic skills demonstrated in these videos are used to facilitate a particular intended focus.

When you view these clips, I invite you to ask why the helper used that particular skill (at the moment in the video), and what other skill could have been used? What directions may have resulted from using a different helping skill?