Counselling and academic skills teaching: what person-centred counselling can tell us about person-centred skills teaching

Few people will agree on the question of overlap between counselling and academic skills teaching. On the one hand, this overlap is obvious in the fact that many universities in Australia offer skills teaching within their counselling services, and often it is done by a counsellor. On the other hand, the emerging field of has reached a juncture where many skills teachers feel that it is crucial to distinguish our work from that of counsellors, in order to confirm our field as an academic one. .... In fact, I think there is considerable common ground between the two areas. It consists in the role we share as facilitators of our students' learning, and the specific techniques of active listening and "reflection" that we use. It is evident, too, in what we achieve -- at best, students who are more confident, more competent, and more highly motivated. ... Skills teachers do not tend to look to counselling for theory, and yet I think we could usefully do so. While the literature of teaching and learning is reticent about the emotional side of learning, the literature of therapy is rich in insight into this area. "Humanistic", or "person-centred" therapy, in particular, can illuminate the teaching of academic skills to individual students. This paper will explore the relevance of this strand of theory, in the hope that others may follow up the various strands for which space is lacking here.

At the same time, there may be a reluctance, among skills teachers, to learn from counselling; the tensions between our institutional territories are important and must be confronted before we can engage with the ways in which theories of counselling can usefully inform our work. I will, therefore, look at the ways in which an identification of our functions with those of counselling can hinder our effectiveness, before arguing that it is nonetheless important to recognise our common ground, and what we can learn from ideas such as Person-Centred Therapy.

Publication Source Information
Kate Chanock
Year of publication: 
Place of publication; Publisher: 
Melbourne; Victorian Language and Learning Network
Title of Journal, Edited book or Conference and Page numbers: 
Academic skills advising: Towards a discipline (pp. 29-37).
Mark Garner
Kate Chanock
Rosemary Clerehan
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