Allan E. Barsky

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online March 2012 | | DOI:

Show Summary Details


Microskills refer to specific competencies for communicating effectively with others. Professional education for social workers, mental health practitioners, and other helping professionals often includes microskill training in order to provide developing professionals with the essential building blocks for counseling, therapy, advocacy, mediation, and other methods of intervention. The earliest social work textbooks on microskills referred to them as interviewing skills. More recent textbooks have recognized that interpersonal communication skills, or competencies, are useful not only for interviewing individuals but also for social work with individuals, families, groups, communities, and other social systems. Microskills education teaches professionals to develop a high sense of self-awareness and awareness of others so they can employ their skills in a conscious, purposeful manner. Microskills education typically begins with teaching basic communication skills, such as paraphrasing, reflecting feelings, summarizing, asking open and closed questions, providing factual information, using minimal prompts, and using body language and facial expressions to demonstrate listening and interest in what the other person is communicating. More advanced microskills include reframing, interpreting, constructively confronting, and purposeful self-disclosure. Professionals may also learn dysfunctional interpersonal behaviors to avoid, such as advice giving, band-aiding, dominating, and sympathizing. Microskills may be used when working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, or communities.

Article.  9082 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.