How Can I Help?

What You Can (And Can’t) Do to Counsel a Friend, Colleague or Family Member with a Problem

by Anna M. Ranieri , Joe Gurkoff

Number of pages: 157

Publisher: AMACOM

BBB Library: Communication

ISBN: 9781479255849

About the Authors

Anna M. Ranieri : Dr. Anna Ranieri has helped individuals and groups optimize their effectiveness


Joe Gurkoff : Joe Gurkoff, MA, is an author, consultant, and educator, recognized for


Editorial Review

We won’t teach you how to be a psychotherapist. The book will, we think, help you gain some confidence and competence in listening and responding to someone as they describe one of those challenging situations that come up for anyone and everyone from time to time. Some people think of helping as taking over, giving advice, lending money, or saying “There, there.” Any one of these could be truly helpful, but the odds of them working are discouragingly low if that’s how you start. You know that it’s worked if you can be together without their problem becoming the main topic of conversation over and over again. Or, if it does come up, it’s only to acknowledge that they are continuing to follow their plan. You know it has worked when you have more time and energy available to manage the other obligations in your life.

Book Reviews

"Ranieri and Gurkoff’s combined experience leads to helpful case studies on identifying and dealing with friends going through all sorts of problems. First, three basic requirements must be assessed: a mutual desire of both parties to help and be helped, a defined relationship between the two and an established time commitment." KIRKUS REVIEW

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Wisdom to Share

The second reason is that when people are feeling vulnerable, they can be reluctant to do something they haven’t done before.

Longstanding problems don’t arise overnight, and they won’t disappear overnight.In reality, a change of 15% makes a significant difference.

A realistic plan is more likely to be followed and more likely to result in success.

Making a plan links today’s thinking with tomorrow’s action.

Confronting presents a way to end the cycle of denial and evasion and set the stage for real change to occur.

Confrontation means that there’s another way to interpret the situation.Think of confrontation as a reality check.

Confronting is pointing out an alternative view, another way of looking at the situation.

Sometimes when we’re in the thick of a problem, our sense of being in control goes out the window.

By asking a series of questions, you get from the general to the specific.For many problems, there can be a number of potential goals.

The process of clarification the issue works as it prevents you from wasting time.

‘Why’ questions can sound judgmental or psychologically invasive.

Open-ended questions will keep the other person talking and will get you more information.

By listening, you could help someone further his own understanding.

Listening encourages others to put their thoughts into words.

Your goal in listening to help is to gain an understanding of the whole picture so that you can put the problem into perspective.

Helping begins with listening.

How Can I Help? helps you gain some confidence and competence in listening and responding to someone.

Setting the goal starts with “What do you want?” and ends with “I know what I want.”