Counseling Theory
What Is A Theory?
– It provides structure and a framework from which to apply
interventions.
– It allows us to collect information or data and enables us to make
sense of it through the lens of the theory.
– A theory can be tested.
– A good theory is comprehensive and explains a significant portion
of events and situations.
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Counseling Theory
Arguments For Using Theory
– It allows counselors to work systematically.
– It generates new ideas to be tested.
– Counselors may miss vital information if not guided by a theory.
– Having no theory is a theory all by itself.
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Counseling Theory
Arguments Against Using Theory
– It creates a false sense of security.
– There are too many theories and counselors get confused.
– It can make counseling rigid.
– It makes the client conform to the counselor’s theory.
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Counseling Theory
Basic Theoretical Stances
– Pragmatic: The counselor only relies on personal experience.
– Eclectic: The counselor chooses techniques and interventions from
a number of different theories.
– Personality Theorist: Uses only one favorite theory for every
situation and every client.
– Syncretism: Uses ideas from one or two theories but does not
develop a coherent, consistent personal framework from which to
work.
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Counseling Theory
Commonalities Among Counseling Approaches
– All theories state the belief that people can change.
– Most theories recognize that behavior is not strictly caused by past
incidents but is also influenced by the present and hopes for the
future.
– All theories work better when the counselor has confidence in what
he or she is doing and this is conveyed to the client.
– All theories aim to reduce the suffering of the client.
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Counseling Theory
Differences Among Counseling Approaches
– The counseling process is often different from theory to theory.
– Some theories are more verbal than others.
– Each theory uses different interventions.
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Counseling Theory
Major Theoretical Approaches
Psychoanalysis (Sigmund Freud)
– The unconscious is important.
– People use defense mechanisms when uncomfortable.
– Utilizes the concept of transference and countertransference.
– People find relief through catharsis.
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Counseling Theory
Major Theoretical Approaches (continued)
Cognitive-Behavioral Theories
– Behaviorism is systematic and utilizes interventions that produce
observable and measurable results.
– It is based on research and its principles are empirically tested.
– People who contributed to this field are: Ivan Pavlov, B. F. Skinner,
Joseph Wolpe, John Watson, Albert Bandura and many more.
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Counseling Theory
Major Theoretical Approaches (continued)
Humanistic Theories
Person-Centered (Carl Rogers)
– Believes in the power of nurturing relationships.
– Believes in genuineness, trust, acceptance, caring and warmth.
– Believes in exploring unexpressed feelings, clarifying experiences
and helping the person feel understood.
– Goal is to create greater self-awareness, self-responsibility and
congruence.
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Counseling Theory
Major Theoretical Approaches (continued)
Humanistic Theories
Existential Theory
– Believes in the development of insight.
– Helps people create meaning in their lives.
– Addresses issues of freedom, individual responsibility, alienation
and death.
– Helps people explore who they are and where they are going.
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Counseling Theory
Major Theoretical Approaches (continued)
Humanistic Theories
Gestalt (Fritz Perls)
– Stresses the importance of unfinished business.
– Uses active strategies such as role-playing.
– Goal is to help people become more integrated and high-
functioning.
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Counseling Theory
Major Theoretical Approaches (continued)
Adlerian Theory (Alfred Adler)
– Emphasizes the social context of behavior.
– Emphasizes the role of choice in personal decision making.
– Addresses feelings of inferiority.
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Counseling Theory
Major Theoretical Approaches (continued)
Reality Therapy (William Glasser)
– Action-oriented and problem-solving.
– Helps people look at the consequences of their behavior.
– People are helped to make responsible choices that will better fulfill
their needs and get them what they want.
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Counseling Theory
Major Theoretical Approaches (continued)
Transpersonal Theories
– Examines the spiritual dimensions in individual growth.
– Goes beyond the personal.
– Takes into account spiritualism, intuition, mysticism, and psychic
phenomena.
– Uses meditation, yoga, biofeedback, and imagery among its
interventions.
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Counseling Theory
Major Theoretical Approaches (continued)
Eclectic Approaches
– E.g. Lazarus’s Multimodal Approach (BASIC ID)
– Eclectic approaches tend to be holistic.
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Introduction To Counseling