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SOC-OFE Masters Students - SOC Program Resources: Skills Support and Development

Skills Support and Development

What is skills development?

Delivery of facilitative communication skills is one of the primary tasks of counselors. As such, the Walden counseling programs embrace the task of making sure students are able to identify, define, and execute foundational and advanced counseling skills. Skills of focus in the curriculum include, but are not limited to, opening and closing counseling sessions, rapport building, feeling identification, case conceptualization, information gathering, and documentation.


What is the role of the skills development office?

The Skills Committee, which is composed of the skills development coordinator and a group of counseling faculty members, works to support students who have specific skill needs that may not have been sufficiently addressed in the online or residency/pre-practicum classrooms.


What happens if my field experience course instructor or the field experience director notifies me that I need to work with the skills coordinator?

A teleconference meeting will be held with the student, course instructor, director, and skills coordinator. During this meeting, the instructor will address the noted areas of concern, and the student will be provided the opportunity to present additional context and perspective. Based upon the identified needs noted by the student, instructor, and/or site supervisor, the skills coordinator will work with the student to develop a skills plan that targets the specific needs, and a timeline will be established for the completion of the skills plan. Following the meeting, the skills coordinator will submit the formal skills plan and assignment timeline to the student, and the student will work with the skills coordinator or Skills Committee member to complete the skills plan. The skills coordinator will provide the field experience director regular updates on the student’s progress completing the plan. Upon successful completion of the plan, the student will be eligible to resume field experience coursework and fieldwork. Should additional skills concerns be identified during the skills support process and/or successful completion not be made on the initial skills plan, further support will be required prior to resuming field experience. 


What is a skills plan?

A skills plan is an opportunity for students to demonstrate that they have strengthened their overall skills competencies. It typically identifies a few specific skills that need particular attention. Skills plans—whether for residency/pre-practicum, field experience, or online classroom support— include several steps, which may include all or some of the following assignments:

1. Review their previously submitted work product.

2. Review counseling video and transcripts available in the Walden Library.

3. Compare/contrast their work with the Walden resources.

4. Produce a video and transcription of a mock counseling session.

§  Within the transcription, students will identify the time at which the required skills (as provided to them via a specific skills rubric) are evidenced in the video and submit all the skills plan work products to a location identified by the Skills Committee member working with the student.

The Skills Committee member assigned to work with the student and the skills coordinator will make themselves available to respond to any questions the student may have.


How are my skills plan assignments evaluated?

The skills coordinator and Skills Committee member review and evaluate a student’s work products based on a skills rubric. Results of a skills plan are usually shared with a student within 2 weeks of evaluation.