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  • More Than Listening: A Casebook for Using Counseling Skills in Student Affairs Work
  • Ellen M. Broido
More Than Listening: A Casebook for Using Counseling Skills in Student Affairs Work. Harper, R., Wilson, N. L., & Associates. Washington, DC: National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, 2010, 291 pages, $44.95 (Softcover)

This well-written casebook on interpersonal skills for working with students combines a strong focus on social justice with student development and counseling-based insights and techniques. The introduction contains an overview of the rise of mental health needs on campuses, documenting the extreme levels of distress reported by current undergraduate students, as well as increases in students entering college with a variety of chronic mental health diagnoses. The authors make clear their belief “that strong helping skills not only enhance student affairs professionals’ ability to provide the best assistance but can also help them identify and communicate the boundaries of their roles” (p. 9).

The next chapter addresses several theories used in student affairs work, including Chickering and Reisser’s (1993) vectors and Schlossberg’s Transition Theory (1981). Summarized more succinctly are models of racial and sexual orientation identity development and epistemological and moral development, and Astin’s (1984) theory of involvement. They close with a summary of models addressing multiple aspects of social identity and Abes, Jones, and McEwen’s (2007) research explaining the influence of cognitive development on the ways students [End Page 372] make meaning of their own and others’ identities, the role that oppression plays in the development of identity, and unique aspects of millennial students. The subsequent case studies include more detail regarding theories relevant to each case.

In the second chapter the authors present a concise introduction to Person-Centered, Solution-Focused, and Cognitive-Behavioral therapies, as well as basic information about the use of the Buddhist practices of mindfulness, nonjudgment, and acceptance. Written for an audience presumed to have limited prior knowledge of counseling theory, both conceptual and technique-based aspects of the models are addressed.

Ten cases follow, each running about four pages, providing detailed, realistic situations in a variety of functional areas. Following are roughly four pages of analysis from a student development lens, than another four pages of analysis using the counseling theories described in the second chapter. Three to five discussion questions follow, and the case chapters close with several pages of references that address the issues raised in each case.

The first case, written by Chris Linder, Nona Wilson, and Ruth Harper, addresses the concerns of a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, bisexual woman from a working class family attending a predominantly White institution who reports signs of depression. The second case, written by Justin Laker, Nona Wilson, and Ruth Harper, concerns an academically talented student failing her courses as she struggles with the death of a close relative, limited finances, a religiously conservative upbringing in an immigrant family, and recognizing for the first time her attraction to another woman. In the third case Rebecca Caldwell, Nona Wilson, and Ruth Harper highlight issues relating to a successful African American student leader who is in an interracial relationship being disrupted by her recollections of sexual trauma.

The fourth case, co-authored by Heather Shotton, Stephanie Waterman, Ruth Harper, and Nona Wilson, concerns the experiences of a Native American student, raised on a reservation in a traditional manner, attending a selective university far from home where no other students share his cultural experiences. In the fifth case Hande Sensoy-Briddick, Emily Levine, Ruth Harper, and Nona Wilson address the experiences of a transfer student who has an autism spectrum disorder as she learns to live away from her parents and negotiate a life with less structure and more autonomy than she has had previously.

In the sixth case Kaela Parks, Nona Wilson, and Ruth Harper address issues facing a newly disabled veteran student enrolling in college for the first time. Despite her belief in her ability to manage chronic pain and recover from her injuries, she has challenges focusing and feeling different from the other students, resulting in severe academic difficulty. In the seventh case, Linde Murray, Jody Owen, Ruth Harper, and Nona Wilson illustrate stresses that a working...


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pp. 372-374
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