Theories of Counseling

Depending on where you look, you might see theories of counseling grouped numbering from four to one hundred thirty.

I will present a basic list of counseling theories on this page, and open a little wider discussion on linked pages.

I think that most of the theories that clinicians subscribe to are going to be in need of revision soon, given what fMRI (and other brain imaging tools) is revealing about blood activity in the brain when certain activities are being engaged in.

For example, Dr. Daniel Amen and spect scans are revealing a great deal about human brains and Helen Fisher, Ph.D. is describing the phenomenon of love as a function of activity in certain areas of the human brain.

In fact, Dr. Amen is tailoring individual treatments to clients brains, including psychotherapeutic, nutritional, biofeedback, stress management, and exercise components, for example, in large part based on his interpretation of 'spect' scans.

Will the poets soon write about dopamine and its lack thereof rather than sunsets and flowers? I think that could happen, but it would be a shame.

But here is our list.

1. Psychoanalytic.

2. Analytical/Jungian.

3. Adlerian.

4. Self-Psychology.

5. Time-Limited Dynamic.

6. Client-Centered.

7. Existential.

8. Gestalt.

9. Behavioral.

10. Cognitive.

11. REBT.

12. Reality.

13. Family Systems.

14. Biofeedback.

Very Helpful Information from PagerankStudio

Theories and Therapies

Theories and therapies of counseling are the building blocks of the profession. Probably every counselor has had at least one course in theories of counseling, and the names of the leading theorists, such as Sigmund Freud, Albert Ellis, Carl Rogers, and others, are both legendary and familiar. This entry will address what constitutes a theory of counseling, why counseling theories and therapies are so important, and how these theories have evolved.

Common Characteristics of Theories of Counseling Estimates are that more than 350 counseling theories and therapies have been advanced. Although most of these have received little attention or validation, a core group of about 10 major theories, and fewer than 50 secondary approaches or modifications of the major theories, dominate the counseling profession. Most of these theories are characterized by the following important ingredients:

• A concept of how people develop throughout the life span. Typically, this involves a sequence of stages and describes important factors that are likely to influence development. • Criteria for mental health, with characteristics of unhealthy or disordered emotional functioning either explicitly or implicitly stated. This information is important in helping people set realistic treatment goals and in assessing progress. • Information on how to promote healthy development and help people reduce symptoms and enhance their coping skills and satisfaction with their lives. • A description of the role of the effective counselor and the desired relationship between client and counselor. Nearly all theories of counseling currently recognize the powerful impact of the therapeutic alliance and offer clinicians ways to collaborate effectively with their clients. A safe and healing environment and a caring, skilled, and trustworthy counselor are essential to successful treatment. • Strategies and interventions that counselors can use to help people achieve their counseling goals. Examples include reflections of feeling, modification of cognitive distortions, and systematic desensitization. • Information on treatment parameters such as duration and frequency of sessions; whether to use individual, group, or family treatment; and benefits of medication and other adjunct services. • Delineation of those people who are most likely to benefit from this treatment approach.

Theories of Counseling-Psychoanalytic 


Theories of Counseling-Adlerian

Theories of Counseling-Self Psychology

Theories of Counseling-Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive Behavior Therapist

Integrative Counseling

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