IVP Academic’s Skills For Effective Counseling – Rating 8.9

Skills for Effective Counseling: A Faith-Based Integration“Skills For Effective Counseling: a Faith-Based Integration” was a very pleasant surprise for me.  IVP generously sent me a copy of this book for me to do a review and there is a lot of excellent content in this book.  Providing a very unique approach to learning counseling skills, the authors start with pieces or “microskills” and build them up to teach counseling in a more effective way than other books that I have seen on counseling.  Very worth reading if you’re interested in helping others or even becoming a professional counselor.
I would give this book a 8.9 out of my normal 10 point rating scale.  On a “5 star” scale that some websites use, I would give it a 5 star rating.

In full disclosure, I was not required or requested by InterVarsity Press to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


“Skills For Effective Counseling; A Faith-Based Integration” is a very unique book that really hits multiple levels of need all at the same time.  It covers from a textbook-style for the professional counselor, to the Pastor or layperson that serves as in a helping ministry, and even in general relationships within the lives of everyone.  It has specific learning techniques and practical exercises that allow you to practice your counseling skills very effectively.  If you want to go deep, you will be focusing more toward the entire book, but specifically the Diagnostic Implications sections throughout the book.  Pastors will likely focus on Ministry and Relationship Applications, and general readers will focus more on the Relationship application.  This book is written very well and was done by IVP Academic in partnership with the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS).  They use tools called microskills that give foundational skills that build ultimately into larger skill sets.  It does use some modern psychology, but has a good blend that brings Scripture strongly into the counseling skills.  There are parts of the book that are more geared toward the academic side and clinical, so some people may take a little longer to get through the contents.  However, if you are someone who is going into the counseling field or a pastor, mentor, pastoral care person or in a general person-helping role, this book will be very helpful for you.  I know it will be a book that I reference quite often in my personal library.  I received a copy of this book in exchange for this review from IVP and all opinions are my own.


Type of Book:  Christian Ministry / Counseling & Recovery
Author: Elisabeth A. Nesbit Sbanotto, Heather Davediuk Gingrich & Fred C. Gingrich
Publisher: IVP (InterVarsity Press)  IVP Academic #IVPress @ivpress
Publication Date: September 2016
ISBN-13 of Book Reviewed: 978-0830828609
Price:  At the time of writing this review, the cheapest place to get this book is at Christianbook.com. They have it for $27.99 – suggested retail from the publisher is $40.00. Please note that these prices do not include any potential shipping charges.

If you would like to purchase this book, please support my blog and purchase by clicking any of the links to Christianbook.com on this page like the one below. Or if you would like to purchase it as an e-book for $16.49, you can click HERE to do that.

828601: Skills for Effective Counseling: A Faith-Based Integration Skills for Effective Counseling: A Faith-Based Integration
By Elisabeth A. Nesbit Sbanotto, Heather Davediuk Gingrich & Fred C. Gingrich / IVP Academic

Anyone in a helping profession—including professional counselors, spiritual directors, pastoral counselors, chaplains and others—needs to develop effective communication skills. But learning these skills is like learning a new language: it takes time and practice to communicate effectively, and lack of practice can lead to the loss of one’s ability to use this new language.

Suitable for both beginning students and seasoned practitioners, Skills for Effective Counseling provides a biblically integrated approach to foundational counseling skills that trains the reader to use specific microskills. These skills include perceiving, attending, validating emotion and empathic connection. Chapters include textbook features such as sample session dialogues, role plays and a variety of both in-class and out-of-class exercises and reflection activities that will engage various learning styles. Strategically interwoven throughout the chapters are special topics related to:

  • multicultural counseling
  • biblical/theological applications
  • current and seminal research related to microskills
  • diagnostic and theoretical implications
  • clinical tips for using skills in “real world” counseling settings
  • the relevance of specific microskills to interpersonal relationships and broader ministry settings

This textbook and the accompanying IVP Instructor Resources include all of the activities and assignments that an instructor might need to execute a graduate, undergraduate or lay course in foundational counseling skills. Professors teaching within CACREP-accredited professional counseling programs will be able to connect specific material in the textbook to the latest CACREP Standards.

Physical Characteristics:
•486 pages
•Dimensions: 7 x 1.3 x 10 inches

Goal of Book:

As they state in their introduction, the authors teamed up together to write this book with the intention to help people learn how to be better people helpers.  I feel that the authors did a fantastic job in doing just that.  They took a very complex subject and broke it apart into these “microskills” as they call them which allows people to learn the skills in a piece by piece manner, thus making the learning process more manageable for most people.  Don’t get me wrong – there is a depth to this content that can be daunting, however with the style and method the authors used to break this down, it doesn’t feel as daunting as it could have.  Nicely written.

My Favorite Part:

In my professional career, I do a lot of training of computer systems and this idea that the authors came up with of the microskills really resonated with me deeply as I have used something similar in concept to the microskills during training.  I have to give them kudos on their unique approach and I think it will benefit people for many years to come.


I would recommend this book to anyone that is either in or wanting to learn more about people-helping skills.  There is a lot to go over in this book, so it is not a quick read by any means.  However, it is practical and written in a way that you can make your way through the material and learn greatly from it.  Like I said, this one will be a book in my library that I will end up referencing quite often.

Who Would Enjoy This Book:

Anyone that really wants to learn about the people-helping arena, whether professional counselor, pastor, pastoral care person, layperson or whoever.  If you fit any of these descriptions, you would get a lot out of this book.


Lists of Figures and Tables

Chapter 1 – The Microskills Approach
    Skill: The Skill of Learning New Skills
    Skill: Identifying Targeted Skill Areas
Chapter 2 – The Person of the Counselor
    Skill: Self-as-instrument
Target 1: Establishing Relationship and Exploring
Chapter 3 – What Do You Notice?
    Skill: Perceiving
Chapter 4 – Your Presence in the Room
    Skill: Attending
Chapter 5 – Identifying the Pieces of the Story
    Skill: Reflecting Content
Chapter 6 – Validating Emotion
    Skill: Reflecting Feeling
Chapter 7 – Connecting Emphatically
    Skill: Empathic Reflection
Target 2 and 3: Deepening and Growing
Chapter 8 – Zeroing In
    Skill: Clarifying
Chapter 9 – Connecting Deeply
    Skill: Intuitive Empathy
Chapter 10 – Expanding Therapeutic Options
    Skill: Using Metaphors
Chapter 11 – Reflecting Apparent Discrepancies
    Skill: Confronting
Chapter 12 –
 Using the Here and Now
    Skill: Authenticity, Self-Disclosure and Immediacy
Chapter 13 – Strategies for Growth
    Skill: Implementing Change
Chapter 14 – Expanding the Counseling System
    Skill: Thinking Systematically and Using the Relational System
Chapter 15 – Appreciating the Sacred
    Skill: Attuning to the Holy Spirit and Spiritual Themes
Target 4: Consolidating and Ending
Chapter 16 – Endings and New Beginnings
    Skill: Consolidating and Ending
Appendix A: Answers to Chapter Exercises
Appendix B: Additional Learning Activities
Appendix C: Small Group Role-Play Exercises and Transcript Analysis Assignment
Appendix D: The Relationship Between Psychology and Religion
Author and Subject Index
Scripture Index

About the Publisher:

From the publisher’s website:  As an extension of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, InterVarsity Press serves those in the university, the church and the world by publishing resources that equip and encourage people to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord in all of Life..  InterVarsity Press is based in Westmont, IL.
@ivpress @ivpacademic


Please leave a comment or question and I will try to respond a.s.a.p.

– Michael


This entry was posted in Christian Living, Church Ministry, Counseling, Elisabeth A. Nesbit Sbanotto, Fred C. Gingrich, Heather Davediuk Gingrich, Holy Spirit, IVP, IVP Academic, Ministry, Ministry Help, Paperback, Pastor, Pastoral Book Reviews, Pastoral Care, Scriptures, Spiritual Growth Book Reviews, Word of God and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to IVP Academic’s Skills For Effective Counseling – Rating 8.9

  1. Hi. I am glad you reviewed this book. I am in the process of translating it for a Spanish publishing house. Pray for me as this is a 500 pages book. Blessings


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