The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - 73

Entry-Level Professionals' Proficiency with Helping Skills

velopment of individuals in higher education
settings" (2016, para. 1). Student affairs professionals will also be required to have knowledge
about and practice in "interventions related
to a broad range of mental health issues for
individuals in higher education settings"
(CACREP, 2016, para. 4).

Student Affairs Graduate Program
Instructional Practices in Helping Skills
Graduate programs vary in several different
attributes, including curricular focus, delivery method, program name, and number of
credits (Barratt, n.d.). Historically, student
affairs graduate programs grew out of counseling programs. However, with recent changes
to the state licensure requirements for professional mental health counselors, student affairs
programs have moved away from a direct connection to counseling programs due to the expected 60+ credit hours in the program and
an extensive internship in counseling (Barratt,
n.d.). In addition, the focus of student affairs
programs has shifted to a greater emphasis
on student development, administration, and
social justice (Ortiz, Filimon, & Cole-Jackson,
2015). This is unfortunate because the need for
training in helping skills remains.
There are a variety of helping skills that are
important for student affairs professionals.
"Counseling courses typically focus on individual counseling and micro-counseling skills,
giving little attention to more advanced helping
skills such as supervision, group skills, or crisis
intervention and management" (Reynolds,
2017, p. 455). Reynolds (2011) found that the
most important means of enhancing helping
skills included self-knowledge through interaction with others, hands-on practical experi-

ence with students, feedback and interactions
with supervisors and mentors, and knowing
best practices and current trends. Swanbrow
Becker and Drum (2015) suggested that graduate programs in student affairs should include
instruction on counseling theories and skills.
Finally, regarding suicidal students, student
affairs graduate programs "must provide
basic counseling knowledge regarding how to
identify when a student is in crisis, recognize
warning signs indicating that risk of self-harm
is imminent, and teach best practice methods
for making successful referrals" (Swanbrow
Becker & Drum, p. 207). In addition to the
skills required, there are differences in the way
that programs incorporate this instruction.

The authors recommend that
graduate programs that do not
require a full course in helping
skills re-examine their curriculum
to determine where a helping
skills unit or partial class could be
developed or included.

"Some student personnel programs, especially
those in counselor education, may share their
counseling course with students earning counseling degrees, so those courses have a more
traditional clinical focus which may be less
useful to student affairs practitioners" (Reynolds, 2011, pp. 367-68). However, "while states

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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - Intro
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