Theory Applied to Practice
CHAPTER 6
Five Contemporary Theoretical Orientations
1) The psychodynamic approaches
2) The experiential and relationship-oriented approaches
3) The cognitive behavioral approaches
4) The postmodern approaches
4) The family systems approaches
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6 (1)
Psychoanalytic Approach
 Longer-term exploration of personality
 Main goal: The restructuring of personality
 Emphasis on transference and countertransference
 Major techniques: Maintaining the analytic framework
free association, interpretation, dream analysis, analysis of
resistance, and analysis of transference
 Many other theoretical models have developed as reactions
against psychoanalytic approach
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6(2)
Adlerian Approach
 Clients are viewed as creative, active, and decisional
 Stresses the individual’s positive capacities to live fully in
society
 Therapeutic relationship is a collaborative partnership
 Social interest: A sense of identification with humanity, a
feeling of belonging, and a concern with bettering society
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6(3)
Adlerian Approach
• Inferiority feelings, the wellspring of creativity, often
motivate people to strive for mastery, superiority, and
perfection
• Focus on challenging clients’ mistaken notions and faulty
assumptions
• Emphasis on examining lifestyle and clients’ functioning
in the life tasks
• Cognitive, behavioral, and experiential techniques are
used (e.g., encouragement, early recollections,
homework)
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6(4)
Existential Approach
 We define ourselves by our choices
 Freedom and responsibility go together
 Anxiety is part of the human condition
 Death gives significance to life
 Emphasis is on understanding the world of the
client
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6(5)
Person-Centered Approach
• Clients are at the center of the helping process
• Clients are able to change without a high degree of structure
and direction from the therapist
• The aim of counseling is to assist clients’ growth process
• Effective helping is based on the quality of the helping
relationship
• Techniques are secondary to the counselor’s attitudes
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6 (5)
Gestalt Approach
 Focuses on here-and-now experiencing and present
awareness
 With awareness, clients are able to change
 Counselors suggest experiments that are done by
clients (e.g., symbolic dialogues, exaggerating a
gesture)
 The approach emphasizes the I/Thou dialogue
 The focus is on doing rather than “talking about”
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6 (6)
Cognitive Behavioral Approaches
 Cognitive behavioral approaches share these
attributes:
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a collaborative relationship between client and
therapist
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psychological distress: the result of faulty cognitive
processes
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a focus on changing cognitions to produce desired
changes in affect and behavior
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a time-limited and educational treatment
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6 (7)
Behavior Therapy
 The focus of this approach is on:
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observable behavior
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current determinants of behavior
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learning experiences to promote change

rigorous assessment and evaluation
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6(8)
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
• Emotional problems are the result of one’s beliefs, not events
• The aim: to change disturbances in thinking, feeling, and
behaving
• Cognitive techniques: teaching clients coping statements,
disputing faulty beliefs, psychoeducation methods
• Emotive techniques: rational emotive imagery, humor, shame-
attacking exercises, role playing, unconditional acceptance
• Behavioral techniques: self-management strategies and
carrying out homework in daily life
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6(9)
Cognitive Therapy
 Changing how people think tends to result in changing
feeling and behaving (schema restructuring)
 Clients are encouraged to weigh the evidence in support
of their beliefs
 This approach emphasizes a collaboration between
counselor and client
 Counselors guide clients to discover the connection
between thinking, feeling, and behaving
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6 (10)
Reality Therapy
• Based on choice theory, reality therapy is active,
directive, and didactic
• Emphasis is on total behavior: acting, thinking, feeling,
and physiology
• Wubbolding (2000) summarizes the procedures for reality
therapy through the WDEP model:
W= wants, needs, and perceptions
D= direction and doing
E= evaluation of total behavior
P= planning and commitment
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6(11)
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
 Techniques focus on the future and how best to solve
problems rather than on understanding the cause of
problems
 Exception questions ask clients to identify times when their
problems did not exist
 The miracle question allows clients to think of their life
without their problem
 Scaling questions require clients to rate their improvement
on a scale of zero to 10
 The approach tends to be brief and collaborative
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6(12)
Narrative Therapy
• Examines people’s stories and the meaning of their stories
• Based on assumption that there is no absolute reality
• Clients are invited to view their stories from different
perspectives and co-create an alternative life story
• Process involves identifying how societal standards are
internalized by the client in a limiting manner
• Therapist collaborates with client and avoids predicting,
interpreting, or pathologizing
• Therapist and client engage in externalizing conversations
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6 (13)
Family Systems Approaches
• Individuals are best understood through assessing
interactions within the entire family
• A client’s problematic behavior may serve a purpose for
the family
• Problems are often passed on over many generations
• Actions by any individual in the family influence other
family members
• This approach focuses on here-and-now interactions in
the family system
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6 (14)
An Integrative Approach to the Helping Process
 Each theory has something unique to contribute to a
counselor’s style
 Remain open to the value inherent in each of the
theories of counseling
 It is possible to draw techniques from most of the
contemporary theoretical models
 Developing an integrative perspective takes much study
and clinical practice
©2011, Brooks/ Cole Publishing, A Division of Cengage Learning, Inc.
Becoming A Helper - Chapter 6 (15)
Important Terms to Know
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Adlerian approach
Behavior therapy
Choice theory
Cognitive behavioral approaches
Cognitive therapy
Cycle of counseling
Exception questions
Existential perspective
Experiential approaches
Family systems perspective
Family therapy
Gestalt therapy
Inferiority feelings
Integrative model
Life tasks
Lifestyle
Miracle question
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Narrative therapy
Person-centered approach
Post modern approaches
Pre-therapy change
Psychoanalytic approach
Psychodynamic approaches
Rational emotive behavior therapy
Reality therapy
Relationship oriented approaches
Restricted existence
Scaling questions
Social interest
Solution-focused brief therapy
Summary feedback
Total behavior
WDEP model