Characteristics of a helping relationship.

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As a practicum student in psychology, you are likely to have many questions about this new experience: What am I expected to do in the practicum? What is my role as a practicum student? What type of clients will I be assigned? How can I be helpful to the clients? What should I do if such and such happens? What skills do I need to be an effective helper? It is normal to have these kinds of questions and to feel anxious about what you are going to do. You are not expected to attempt formal therapy sessions with patients. You are not expected to be a professional therapist. Your supervisor will help you define your role(s). You will likely be asked to spend time with a patient as a friend or companion. The basic skills needed to be an effective helper in an undergraduate practicum are similar to the skills needed to be effective in all helping relationships, including counseling. In this chapter, I deal with the question of the basic skills necessary in helping relationships and give you guidance in improving your communication skills. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

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