This first chapter attempts to place the skilled helper model in context, both historically and in terms of contemporary counselling practice. It includes an overview of the evolution of the model and its relationship to recent key developments in the field of counselling theory and practice. In particular there is an exploration of where the skilled helper model is situated in relation to the ‘common factors’ paradigm and developments in integrative and eclectic counselling. There then follows a discussion of the nature of process models of counselling and psychotherapy and their relationship to the skilled helper model. Consideration is also given to the key values, principles and assumptions underpinning the model. The chapter concludes with a presentation of Egan’s view of the person within a people-in-systems framework. Included at the end of the chapter and in subsequent chapters throughout the book are suggested exercises that can be used in training to raise awareness and develop skills relating to the model.