Exploring students' experience of training for counselling skills and the impact on practice

Bridget Johnston, Val Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Aim: The aim of this study was to explore participants’ experience of an accredited counselling skills course and their perception of its impact on practice.
    Design: A qualitative design was used utilizing a mixed-method approach. Data were collected using semistructured interviews and the repertory-grid technique. Data were analysed using thematic content analysis (interviews) and the repertory grids were analysed qualitatively using a four-stage procedure.
    Sample: A convenience sample of six healthcare professionals undertaking a counselling skills course completed both interviews.
    Results: The biggest impact of the course was in the area of self-awareness and skill development. The development of attentive listening, both in terms of objective and subjective findings, was evident. Students perceived that personal qualities, such as warmth and caring, were essential. All participants identified that the group were supportive and that this enhanced learning. The students changed their practice by improving their skills, increasing their awareness and by developing deeper therapeutic relationships with patients and their carers.
    Conclusion: This research adds to the body of knowledge in palliative care. It identifies key elements in the learning of counselling skills and recognizes the impact of these skills on improving the care of palliative care patients and families.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)410-418
    Number of pages9
    JournalInternational Journal of Palliative Nursing
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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