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THEORIES OF COUNSELLING

A theory is a way of organizing ideas and leads to suggested plan of action. Theories come from practice
and are heuristic (researchable and testable). All counselling theories:
Have long history, have gone through revisions and have been supported (to some degree) by
research
Arises from a theorists view of human nature (describes the reasons individuals are motivated to
do the things they do)
ounselling theories offers a comprehensive system of doing counselling. Theories of counselling assist
therapists understand their clients, in the application of techni!ues, and in predicting change. Having a
theory, which allows a counsellor to e"amine the motivations of a client, is the first step in developing
techni!ues for wor#ing with an individual. Therefore, counsellors must have a theoretical base with which to
approach clients.
There are many therapies available today and each approach defines a district theoretical and technical
approach to therapy. The differences between these approaches are real and important, but not absolute.
They are more a matter of focus and emphasis $ of adopting particular perspective of human problems and
their causes, and on the remedy for them.
The many theories of counselling and psychotherapy can be placed into four ma%or orientations of human
nature. A theory is placed in one of these orientations if it shares #ey concepts related to an orientations view
of human nature. The orientations are:
&sychodynamic
'ehavioural
Humanistic
ognitive
There is no approach to therapy that is better than the others or even best to every client problem, and none
of the broad orientations is right or wrong. Actually, therapists often disagree on how clients( problems should
be approached in therapy and which techni!ue is more effective. However, all the approaches seem to have
some validity, and all add something to the counsellors( understanding of clients.
A therapist may specialize in one well$defined method, but his or her thin#ing and practice will be informed
and guided by these broad$based orientations. )ost therapists tend to use one of therapy approaches even
if they describe themselves as eclectic
1.0 Approaches to Clients
1.1 Indiid!al ers!s S"ste# Approach
*ndividual approach assumes that:
+ach person is an island into him,herself
Although social forces might influence a person, the change process should focus on how the person
can change his or her conditions in life.
-upport for individual approach
A person(s reality is a construction of internal messages.
&eople create their attitude.
.or e"ample, survivors of difficult circumstances maintain a sense of hope and self$dignity, and create their
contentment through their search for meaning. A person who search for meaning is successful is capable of
coping with life(s difficulties, even when faced with devastating conditions (lac# of meaning leads to
devastating conse!uences).
-ystem approach assures that:
&eople lives are the result of social conditions such as family dynamics, poverty, crime, racism, and
se"ism.
*t is important to wor# with the system to effect any significant change in the person.
-upporting for system approach:
To a large e"tent, social forces determine the ways in which people respond to situations.
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&eople must respond to social concerns with socially oriented actions.
.or e"ample, what are the chances for survival and hope for the future for a person besieged by poverty
surrounded by drug abuse, living in crime$ridden slum, and has been abused/ -ystems approach would
argue this person is unli#ely to develop any sense of inner strength or hope
1.$ %eter#inistic ers!s Anti&deter#inistic Approach
0eterministic view asserts that forces, such as instincts and early childhood development e"periences are so
great, that there is little ability for the person to change.
0eterministic proponents are often adherents of medical model. They believe that must li#ely a
genetic,biological predisposition cause mental illnesses. They postulate that temperament and character,
and resulting emotional problems can be viewed as 1illness2 to be diagnosed and treated li#e a disease.
Anti$deterministic proponents have strong belief in the ability of the individual to change
Anti$deterministic view uses a wellness model that re%ect the nation that early childhood development and
genetic, biological factors determine psychological problems.
1.' %irectie ers!s Non&directie Approach
*n directive approach, the counsellor believes that clients need direction or guidance in the change process.
The counsellor, therefore, tends to teach about and direct the client toward healthier ways of living.

*n nondirective approach, the counsellor trusts in the client(s own ability to ma#e change. The counsellor
focus, therefore, is to provide a safe, helping environment that enables the client to define own strategies for
change. The counsellor, in their facilitation of client growth, uses empathic understanding and respect for the
client(s own change process.
1.( Inte)ratie Approach
*n this approach, also #nown as eclectic, the counsellor reflect on their own view of human nature from
varying viewpoints
$.0 Approaches to *s"chotherap"
$.1 Introd!ction
&sychotherapy is an emotionally charged, confiding interaction between a trained therapist and a client
(someone who suffers from psychological difficulties). &sychological therapies use structured interactions
(usually verbal) between a trained professional and a client with a problem.
&sychotherapy is any psychological techni!ue used to facilitate positive changes in personality, behaviour, or
ad%ustment3 some types of psychotherapy:
$.$ The *s"chod"na#ic Approach
The approach was first formulated by -igmund .reud (4567 $4898). His general theory, psychoanalysis,
proposed that unconscious conflicts account for all forms of psychological functioning. &sychoanalysis use a
conversational approach where, as clients e"plore their unconscious (under the guidance of psychoanalysis),
they would come to terms with the conflicts they discovered there. The concept of unconscious motives and
conflicts as the causes of emotional problems remains the foundation psychodynamic approach.
:oal of psychodynamic therapy is to understand and resolve conflicts that originate in our earliest
relationships and repeat themselves in our later e"periences. The role of therapist is to help the client
understand the conflicts and come to terms with them.
The psychodynamic approach loo#s at people(s internal dynamics and conflicts. *ts theorist believes that a
person(s behaviour is determined by underlying psychological forces of which the person is not consciously
aware. These forces are considered dynamic, that is, they interact with each other, and their interaction
shapes an individual(s behaviours, thoughts, and emotions. ;nusual behaviours are viewed as the
conse!uences of conflicts between these forces, as the unconscious attempts to solve such conflicts and
lessen some painful turmoil.
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;nresolved conflicts (desires, fears, fantasies, images) sabotage our ability to learn, to love, and to wor#.
-ince conflicts are painful and threatening, we repress them into our unconscious and use defence
mechanisms to avoid facing them. <epression and other defence mechanism then distorts our perceptions of
ourselves and significant others. ;nfortunately, repression is never totally successful. onflicts continue to
e"press themselves in disguised form (and demand our attention) in dreams, symbol, slips of the tongue,
%o#es, memory lapses, art, or relationship patterns. -trong conflicts may show up as psychopathology or
emotional distress.
The distinctive features of psychodynamic approach are:
*ts emphasis on the subjective meaning of e"perience
The use of the therapeutic relationship itself to e"plore, illuminate and transform the clients sub%ective
world.
$.$.1 Conte#porar" Schools o+ *s"chod"na#ics
a) Object relations theory
According to this theory (ob%ects = humans), relationships play an important role to satisfy fundamental
drives. &eople, therefore, are motivated primarily by a need to establish relationships with others.
<elationships are central to personality development and to the emergence of psychological problems.
hildren must have appropriate relationships with their parents to progress effectively through the stages of
development. +ach stage of development is characterized by processes of attachment and separation or
building and brea#ing bonds. -evere deficiencies in the relationship between child and caregiver may result
in fi"ation, abnormal development, and psychological problems
b) Self (psychology) theory
This theory focuses on the role of self (the unified personality that defined one(s sense of identity) rather than
on the various components of personality, such as, id, ego, and superego.
The self is conceptualized as an independent, integrating, and self$motivating forces and the basic motive is
to preserve and on hence its wholeness. >ther persons (self ob%ects) help the self to define address its
needs and grow. Thus, a health self re!uires relationship with empathic and affirming self ob%ects throughout
life.
$.$.$ *s"chod"na#ic techni,!es
&sychodynamic techni!ues, li#e .reud(s psychoanalysis, understand current symptoms by probing supposed
repressed, emotion$laden information3 they gain insight into the unconscious roots of problems and wor#
through newly resurrected feelings. However unli#e .reud, sessions are face to face (rather than out of the
line of vision), once a wee# (rather than several times wee#ly), and for only a few wee#s or months (rather
than several years).
&sychodynamic techni!ues include:
a) Free association ?A non$directive techni!ue where the therapist as#s the client to describe any
thoughts, feelings, or images that comes into mind, even if they seem unimportant or irrelevant. The client is
responsible initiating and leading each discussion.
)eanwhile, the therapist probes the client(s associations, e"pecting that they will eventually reveal
unconscious events and unearth the dynamics underling the client(s personality.
b) Therapists interpretation $ Although therapists allow free association, they listen carefully, loo#ing
for clues, and drawing tentative conclusions. @hen they thin# the client is ready to hear the interpretations,
they share them with the client.
Therapist(s interpretations (the suggestions of underlying wishes, feelings, and conflicts) aim to provide
insight. The interpretation of resistance, transference and dreams is particularly important.
i) Resistance occurs when clients encounter a bloc# on their free associations or when they change the
sub%ect so as to avoid a potentially painful discussion.
ii) Transference occurs when client acts and feel toward the therapist as they did toward important
figures in their childhood, especially parents and siblings. The client transfer to the therapist emotions
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lin#ed with other relationships (such as love or hatred for a parent). Transference ma#es the therapist
understand how the client feels toward significant others. *t ma#es the client(s relationship with therapist
very crucial than in other therapies.
A': ounter transference occurs when a therapist listen and interpret with personal bias based on the
feelings, values and history of the therapist.
iii) !rea"s were considered by .reud to be the 1royal road to the unconscious2. Through the
identification of latent content (underlying meaning of a dream, the surface of which is manifest content),
client(s dreams correctly interpreted can reveal unconscious interest, need, and wishes. <epression and
other defence mechanisms operate less completely during sleep
c) Catharsis, which is the reliving of past repressed feelings, is re!uired for a client to settle internal
conflicts and overcome their problems.
#) $or%ing through occurs when the therapist and client e"amine the same issues over and over in the
course of many sessions, each time with new and sharper clarity. Though it creates deep and lasting insight,
it ma#es therapy long term.
$.' The -ehaio!ral Approach
'ehavioural approach is based on the concept of behaviourism, which postulates that our actions are
determined largely by our e"periences in life (same view as psychodynamic). 'ehaviourists concentrate on
behaviours, that is, the responses that organism ma#es to its environment.
*n behavioural view, people are the sum total of their learned behaviours (through associations), therefore
behaviourists see# principles of learning (the processes by which behaviours change in response to the
environment) to e"plain behaviour. According to behaviourists, we have learned our current behaviours, and
that we could learn new behaviours by applying the principles of behaviourism. Hence using classical
conditioning, operant conditioning or modelling, behavioural therapists can e"plore with clients the type
behaviour they wish to change and then use behavioural techni!ues in the change process.
$.'.1 -ehaio!ral techni,!es
Therapy first aim is to identify the behaviours that are causing the client(s problems. *t then tries to
manipulate and replace them with more appropriate ones. There is no need to focus on the clients past3
therapist is more of a teacher.
a) Techni&ues base# on classical con#itioning
lassical conditioning therapies are intended to change client(s dysfunctional reactions to stimuli.
i) Syste"atic #esensiti'ation: *t associates a pleasant rela"ed state with gradually increasing an"iety$
triggering stimuli, and is often used for clients with phobias, or specific unreasonable fears. *t teaches clients
to react calmly, instead of with intense fear, to the ob%ects or situations they dread.
0esensitization procedure
*. Teach the client the s#ill of deep muscle rela"ation (progressive rela"ation of one muscle groups after
another over several sessions)
**. As# client to construct a fear hierarchy (a list of feared ob%ects or situations), starting with the least
feared, and ending with the most feared ones.
***. Have the client, either imagine or physically, confront each item in the hierarchy stimuli (progressively
more an"iety$provo#ing) while in a state of deep rela"ation.
*n step by step (systematic) pairings of feared items and rela"ation, a client moves up the hierarchy until
they can rela" in the presence of all items
ii) ()ersion therapy: The therapy associates an unpleasant state (such as nausea) with an unwanted
behaviour (such as drin#ing alcohol). *t is often used with people who want to stop addictions, such as,
e"cessive smo#ing or drin#ing alcohol (alcoholism), se"ual addiction and deviance, or self$mutilations. *t
helps client to ac!uire an"iety responses to stimuli.
Aversion therapy procedure (e.g. for smo#ing)
*. *n repeated sessions, a client may be given an electric shoc#, a nausea$producing drug, or other
no"ious stimulus whenever they reach for a cigarette.
**. After repeated pairing of this #ind, a client is e"pected to develop an unpleasant emotional reaction
(aversion) to cigarette.
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b) Techni&ues base# on operant con#itioning
>perant conditioning techni!ues are based on the realisation that many problems develop due to
reinforcements (rewards). The techni!ues rely on consistently rewarding appropriate behaviour and
withholding rewards for inappropriate behaviour. They are mainly used with people with psychosis or to
teach children to behave in non$disruptive manner.
Operant con#itioning techni&ues proce#ure
@hen client produce a desired behaviour, they are rewarded with food, privileges, attention, or something
else they value. onversely, they receive no rewards when they display undesired behaviour.
i) To%en econo"y progra"s, where the client(s desirable behaviour is reinforced with to#ens that can later
be e"changed for rewards, such as, food, privileges, e"tra recess time, movie and other rewards. Ta#en
economy programs are very successful in schools.
ii) Response shaping, the rewarding successive appro"imation of desired behaviour, can also be used.
iii) +eha)ioural contracting, a written agreement between the client and other parties (e.g. therapist or
significant other), which specifies the client(s obligations to change and the commitment of the other party to
provide a tangible rewards the client want.
c) Techni&ues base# on "o#elling
)odelling is conditioning through observation and imitation. Through modelling, people ac!uire responses by
observing models and repeating their behaviours. )any of everyday human behaviours are learned through
modelling. &eople usually imitate models they find important or who are themselves being rewarded for the
behaviours.
The modelling procedure involves demonstration. Therapist demonstrates appropriate for clients. Through a
process of imitation and rehearsal, the client(s) ac!uire the ability to perform the desired behaviour on their
own.
d. Other techni,!es in /ehaio!rs therap"
i) Social s%ills training, which uses a combined strategy of modelling, rehearsal and practice (role playing),
to help client ac!uire or improve their social s#ills.
ii) ,-tinction, which is based on the principle that learned behaviour patterns tend to wea#en and disappear
over time if they are not reinforced. There are two techni!ues that rely on e"tinction:
iii) ."plosi)e therapy, where the client imagines an"iety$ arousing situation (relive aversive scenes
associated with an"iety) in safe setting. Therapist elicits massive an"iety (implosion,) then coaches and
models. >ver time, stimulus loses its power to elicit an"iety.
i)) Floo#ing, which involves placing the client in a real$life an"iety arousing situation, that is, client faces the
situation they would otherwise avoid. Then, therapist actively coaches the client.
)) (sserti)eness therapy, which is used to help people to be assertive in difficulty interpersonal interactions
(because of the an"iety the interactions produce inhibit health interactions)
$.( The Co)nitie Approach
ognitive refers to the intellectual mental capacities to thin#, remember, and anticipate. According to
cognitive approach, cognitions influence behaviour, thoughts and emotions. -o to understand human
behaviour, we must understand the content and process of cognition.
The central insight of cognitive therapy is that thoughts mediate between stimuli, such as e"ternal events,
and emotions. A stimulus elicits a thought, which might be an evaluative %udgement of some #ind, which in
turn gives rise to an emotion. *n other words, it is not the stimulus itself which somehow elicits an emotional
response directly, but our evaluation of or thought about that stimulus.
The cognitive perspective sees our thoughts as the cause of our personality and behaviour. Thus if clients
are having problems it is because they are thin#ing of things wrongly. &sychological disorders are caused by
negative thoughts about the self such as attributions of self$blame, irrational or illogical beliefs, learned
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helplessness, and overgeneralization. ognitive therapy suggests that psychological distress is caused by
distorted thoughts about stimuli giving rise to distressed emotions.
Two assumptions underpin the approach of the cognitive therapist: The client is capable of becoming aware
of his or her own thoughts and of changing them, and sometimes the thoughts elicited by stimuli distort or
otherwise fail to reflect reality accurately.
ognitive therapy aims to help the client to become aware of thought distortions which are causing
psychological distress, and of behavioural patterns which are reinforcing it, and to correct them. The focus of
therapy is to identify, then dismantled negative self$thin#ing and replace these negative thoughts with more
positive thin#ing. Throughout this process of learning, e"ploring and testing, the client ac!uires coping
strategies as well as improved s#ills of awareness, introspection and evaluation. The ob%ective is not to
correct every distortion in a clientBs entire outloo#, but %ust those which may be at the root of distress, after all
virtually everyone distorts reality in many ways. The therapist will ma#e every effort to understand
e"periences from the clientBs point of view, and the client and therapist will wor# collaboratively with an
empirical spirit, li#e scientists, e"ploring the clientBs thoughts, assumptions and inferences.
$.(.1 So!rces o+ *s"cholo)ical *ro/le#s
The cognitive approach proposes that people reproduce and create their worlds in their minds as they try to
understand the events around them. -o, people get psychological problems due to the following cognitive
problems:
a) 0ala#apti)e assu"ptions are the irrational assumptions about ourselves and our world. These
assumptions guide some people to act and react in ways that are inappropriate and that pre%udice their
chances of happiness and success.
According to Albert +llis, the common irrational assumptions are that:
i. >ne is a failure if they are not loved or approved of by virtually every person.
ii. >ne must be thoroughly competent, ade!uate, and achieve in all possible respects to consider
oneself worthwhile.
iii. *t is awful and catastrophic when things are not the way one would very much li#e them to be.
iv. Human unhappiness is e"ternally caused and that people have little or no ability to control their
sorrows and disturbances.
v. >ne needs someone stronger than oneself to rely on.
vi. >ne(s past is an all$important determinant of one(s present behaviour, and that because something
once strongly affected one(s life, it will affect it in the same way indefinitely.
vii. There is invariably a right, precise, and perfect solution to human problems, and that it is
catastrophic if this perfect solution is not found.
b) Specific upsetting thoughts are overwhelmingly negative automatic thoughts or self$statements.
Automatic thoughts are numerous thoughts (unbidden) that come into our minds as we confront the myriad
situations in life, which can be comforting or upsetting, e.g., people thin# am lazy and irresponsible.
-elf$ statements are inadvertent or unintentional thoughts about ourselves, e.g., * loo# li#e a fool.
c) .llogical thin%ing process is distorted thin#ing, that is, habitually thin#ing in illogical ways and always
drawing self$defeating and even pathological conclusions.
According to Aaron 'ec#, the types of illogical thought processes include:
a. Arbitrary inferences$ negative conclusions based on little or even contrary evidence.
b. )inimization and,or magnification$ minimizing the significance of positive e"periences and,or
magnifying the significance of negative e"periences.
c. -elective abstraction$ focusing on one negative detail of a situation, while ignoring the larger
conte"t.
d. >vergeneralization$ drawing a broad conclusion from a single, perhaps insignificant event.
e. &ersonalization$ incorrectly viewing oneself as the cause of negative events.
$.(.$ T"pe o+ co)nitie therapies
According cognitive therapists, people with psychological problems can overcome them by developing new,
more functions ways of thin#ing. 0ue to the interrelationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviours,
therapeutic interventions fre!uently involve the clientBs behaviour.
a) Rational1 ,"oti)e Therapy (by +llis)
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*n this therapy, mainly used for an"ious clients, the therapist helps clients to discover the irrational
assumptions that govern their emotional responses and then change their assumptions into constructive
ways of viewing themselves and the world.
Therapists are usually direct and active in pointing out client(s irrational assumptions in a blunt,
confrontational way and then model the use of alternative assumptions. Therapist also give clients homewor#
assignments, e.g. to observe assumptions operate and thin# of ways to test the assumptions rationality.
b) Cogniti)e therapy (by 'ec#)
*n cognitive therapy, which is used mainly for cases of depression, panic disorders, and an"iety disorders,
the therapist help clients to recognize the negative thoughts, biased interpretations, and errors in logic that
pervade their thin#ing and cause them to have psychological problems. Then, the therapists guide clients to
challenge their dysfunctional thoughts, try out new interpretations, and ultimately apply alternative ways of
thin#ing.
The therapist initially plays an authority role, by providing problem solving e"pertise, can be BleadingB in their
!uestioning, and somewhat directive in terms of their recommendations. The therapist often uses strong,
confrontational language with the client. lients are often given Chomewor#C.
c) Self1instruction training 3Stress1 inoculation therapy (by )eichenbaum)
According to )eichenbaum people with stress emotional problems ma#e counterproductive self$statements.
-o, the therapist teaches clients to ma#e helpful statements to themselves (positive self$statement) and
apply them in difficult situations. The therapist begins by e"plaining and modelling effective self$ statements.
They then have clients practice and apply the statements in stressful situations.
This therapy is used for clients with impulse disorder, social an"iety, test an"iety, and for pain and anger
management.
$.0 The H!#anistic&E1istential 2odel
Humanistic and e"istential therapists are grouped together because of their common focus on the broader
dimensions of human e"istence. The humanistic$e"istential theories presume that people have the ability to
confront self$awareness, values, meaning and choice, and to incorporate them in their lives. Accordingly,
people(s problems can be understood only in the light of those comple" and challenging philosophical issues.
Thus, psychological problems are due to alienation, depersonalization, loneliness, and a failure to find
meaning and genuine fulfilment.
Humanistic and e"istential therapists assume that people have both the freedom and responsibility to control
their own behaviour, and that people can reflect on their problems, ma#e choices, and ta#e positive action.
-o, the client must ta#e most of the responsibility for the direction and success of therapy, with therapist
nearly acting as a counsellor, guide, and facilitator.
Humanists believe that people are born with a natural inclination to be friendly, cooperative and constructive,
and that people are motivated by the need to self-actualize (to fulfil their potential for goodness and growth).
However, people self$actualize only if they can honestly appraise and accept their wea#nesses and their
strengths as well, and establish a satisfying system of personal values to live by.
+"istentialists believe that from birth each person has total freedom, either to accept their e"istence and give
meanings to their lives or to shrin# from that responsibility. Those who avoid the responsibility and choice will
become helpless and wea#, and may live empty, inauthentic, and dysfunction lives as conse!uence.
$.0.1 T"pes o+ h!#anistic therapies
*n humanistic therapy, the therapist is nondirective, thus allows the client to direct the session rather than
directing it herself. The therapist focuses on the clientBs conscious self, listens to the client without %udging or
interpreting comments, and e"presses unconditional positive regard for the client.
Humanistic therapists insist that the present and future more important than past, on feeling now rather than
childhood, and on conscious rather than unconscious thoughts. lients are made to assume responsibility for
feelings and actions, rather than searching for hidden determinants. Therapy aim at promoting growth
instead of 1curing illness2
<emember the humanist approach sees client as having the potential to be healthy if they are %ust given
positive regard and allowed to be themselves. -o the therapist(s %ob in humanistic treatment is to provide
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unconditional positive regard for the client. The therapist provides an environment in which the client feels
safe to reveal the true self and say whatever he,she feels.
a) Client1centre# therapy (by <ogers)
lient$ centred therapy try to create a supportive emotional climate where clients can loo# at themselves
honestly and accept what they discover themselves to be. The emotional climate is more important than the
therapy process.
The primary ob%ective of therapy is to resolve incongruence, that is, to help clients become able to accept
and be themselves. 0uring therapy, the therapist must display unconditional positive regard for the client,
accurate empathy and geniuses,congruence so that clients can feel unconditionally accepted, understood,
and valued as people. *n this type of environment, clients feel free to e"plore their real feeling and thoughts
with honesty and acceptance (e"periencing) and then move toward self$actualization.
b) 5estalt therapy
:estalt means whole. :estalt therapy is, therefore, a form of awareness training of one(s total self and
environment. The therapy emphasizes the unity of mind and body, and integrates thoughts, feelings and
actions. To understand behaviour, gestalt therapy encourages e"pression of feelings.
The main goal of therapy is to increase an individual(s self$ awareness,self$recognition, and self$acceptance.
Therapy goal is achieved by challenging or even frustrating the client
:estalt techni!ues include:
i) S%ilful frustration, where the therapist refuses to meet their client(s e"pectations or even their outright
demands. This techni!ue is meant to help clients see how they try to manipulate other into meeting their
needs.
ii) Role play, where the client act out various roles assigned by the therapist. lients may be told to be
another person, an ob%ect, or even a part of the body. They are as#ed to tal# as the other would, and to feel
what the other would feel. <ole play promotes sell$awareness since clients come to e"perience and
gradually to accept feelings that were previously un#nown to them.
<ole play can become intense, as clients are encouraged to be uninhibited in feelings and in e"pressing
emotions. *t may lead to an impasse, at which point the client must confront their feelings and conflicts.
To ensure that the clients will loo# at themselves more closely, some rules guide role play. .or e"ample:
4. lient ma#e * statements: 1I am frightened2 rather than 1It is frightening((
D. lient re!uired to stay 1here and now2, that is to focus on their needs now and observe them now
iii) ,-ercise an# ga"es, which are intended to help clients recognize the depth of their feelings, the
meaning of particular behaviours, and the effect of their behaviours on others.
)) Ta%ing care of unfinishe# business, by wor#ing through unresolved conflicts. Ta#ing care of unfinished
business is crucial since clients go through life with unfinished or unresolved traumas and conflicts. They
then carry the e"cess baggage of these unfinished situations into new relationship and tend to re$enact them
in their relations with other people.
$.0.$ E1istential therapies
As pointed out earlier, e"istential therapy is concerned about the predicaments of man#ind, brea#down of
traditional faith and depersonalization of individuals in contemporary society, and lac# meaning in peoples(
lives.

+"istential therapy does not follow any rigidly prescribed procedures. *t emphasizes the uni!ueness of each
person and clients are encouraged to accept responsibility of their lives and for their problems. Although
clients have freedom to choose, they are helped to recognize their freedom, so they may choose a different
course and live on authentic life, one fill of meaning and values.
$.3 Eclectic Approach
This is an integrative approach that creates bridges across the four theoretical orientations. *t involves
bridging of concepts and intervention of the various therapeutic approaches (blending of approaches).
+clectic therapists view psychological disorders as interplay of bio$psycho$social influences may welcome a
combination of treatments.
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+clectic approach involves the application of concepts and interventions,techni!ues that cross theoretical
boundaries. The ingredients of different approaches are employed without the underlying conceptual theory.
$.3.1 4h" eclecticis#s5
+clecticism arose from the dissatisfaction and limitations of wor#ing within theoretical constraints of given
orientation. +clecticism offers a broad and a multifaceted view of human behaviour and permits a great
range of choices in therapy and therefore greater fle"ibility.
)oreover, research has demonstrated the lac# of superiority of any one method of psychotherapy and the
importance generic dimensions of treatment. <esearch has also provided support for diverse range of
interventions for specific conditions.
$.3.$ Adanta)es o+ eclecticis#s
+"plain human e"perience in a more sophisticated manner than can simple theories and better
account for the range of human behaviour
Allow greater fle"ibility in the treatment of any given individual or family, and thus offer opportunity of
increased efficacy and acceptability of the care.
Applicable to a broader client population than the more narrowly focused approaches.
Therapist can combine the ma%or benefits of the specific approaches.
Therapists can bring greater ob%ectivity to the selection of strategies for change.
$.0.' Criticis#s a)ainst eclecticis#
Eac# a theoretical basis, a rigor of definitions of concepts, and connection between a conceptualization
of the human condition and practice
Eac# the consistency found in the various schools of psychotherapy.
Eac# the consistency found in the various schools of psychotherapy.
)ay reduce the li#e hood of further development of theory and practice within schools, and reduce
competition for superiority among clearly articulated approaches.

'.0 Approaches to *s"chotherap"
<etrieved on 49
th
)ay DFFGfrom http:,,www.divisionofpsychotherapy.org,student,Approaches.htmHTypes,
'.1 Introd!ction
This article is intended to provide a general overview of the various approaches to psychotherapy. 'eyond a
pedagogical function, this overview may serve as a reminder of the diversity of the field and the many areas
in which a student may see# specific training and clinical e"perience. Aote that this review is intended to be
merely descriptive and does not discuss empirical support for these therapies. .urthermore, we do not
advocate any one particular approach.
There are inherent difficulties in any attempt to classify types of psychotherapy. *n actual practice, therapists
often incorporate elements from several theoretical framewor#s, complicating efforts at classification. *n fact,
eclectic and integrative approaches are becoming increasingly common and popular among therapists of all
persuasions. +ven well #nown therapies may resist simple classification. Aonetheless, a basic grouping of
the various approaches to psychotherapy can be useful. The following summaries are intended to serve as
very basic starting points. *nterested readers are suggested to see# additional sources.
'.$ *s"chod"na#ic Therapies
Although they differ in important ways, traditional psychoanalysis and more modern psychodynamic
therapies share a common .reudian origin. 'asic elements of .reudian theory include the id,ego,superego
structure of personality, the tension between the conscious and unconscious, the use of ego$defence
mechanisms, and the psychose"ual stages of development. .urthermore, both camps view
psychopathology as rooted in unconscious conflict and emphasize the need for insight. >ther important
contributors to the development of psychodynamic therapy include Iung, Horney, .romm, -ullivan, +ri#son,
and Adler. )any of these theorists departed from .reud(s views and incorporated the influence of social and
cultural factors into personality development.
)odern psychodynamic therapy often draws from self$psychology and ob%ect relations theories, which focus
on attachment and the process of individuation. Traditional psychoanalysis relies heavily on the
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development of a transference relationship between the therapist and the client and, in its strict form,
advocates a cool, ob%ective stance on the part of the therapist. *n modern psychodynamic therapy, this view
has been loosened in favour of a collaborative relationship between the client and a therapist who validates
the client(s e"pressions and communicates understanding. 'ecause psychodynamic therapy continues to
focus primarily on childhood e"periences and e"ploration of the past, it may re!uire long$term therapy.
However, modern psychodynamic interventions that are short$term have been developed and are being
applied with greater fre!uency. Although these contemporary approaches also view psychopathology as
rooted in unconscious beliefs and childhood e"periences, the focus of therapy is alleviation of current
problems.
Techni!ues traditionally used by psychoanalytic or psychodynamic therapists include free association and
interpretation of dreams, resistance, and transference. However, other common therapeutic techni!ues may
be used as well, and Adlerian therapists avail themselves of a wide variety of methods to aid clients in
modifying mista#en beliefs and to promote growth and insight.
'.' -ehaio!r Therap"
'ehaviour therapy grew out of the early 'ehaviourist view that psychology should study observable acts
rather than intrapsychic processes. However, modern 'ehaviour therapy does recognize the importance of
cognitive constructs such as thoughts and feelings.
A basic premise of 'ehaviour therapies is the idea that empirical research and principles should guide both
assessment, which is an ongoing part of therapy, and treatment. As such, 'ehaviour therapies typically
involve systematic application of e"perimentally based principles of learning to aid in 'ehaviour modification.
These principles include classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and modelling (or social learning).
The general goals of therapy are to identify problem 'ehaviours, to generate new opportunities for learning,
and to e"pand the array of alternative 'ehavioural responses available to the client. The client plays an
active role, in determining goals for e"ample, and must be motivated to effect changes. The therapist
focuses on conte"tual antecedents, characteristics of the problem 'ehaviour, and conse!uences. A positive
therapist$client relationship, characterized by warmth, empathy, and genuineness, is viewed as a #ey
ingredient in therapy, but it is not considered sufficient for 'ehaviour modification to ta#e place.
ommon techni!ues and tools used in 'ehaviour therapy include rela"ation training, systematic
desensitization, modelling, role$playing, activity scheduling, and homewor#. 'ehaviour therapy may also
ta#e the form of self$management programs, which often involve teaching coping s#ills, or eclectic
approaches (such as Eazarus( multimodal therapy), which often 1borrow2 various techni!ues.

'.( Co)nitie 6or Co)nitie&-ehaio!ral. Therap"
>ver the past DF$9F years, cognitive therapies have developed considerably, and efficacy studies have
proliferated. 'ecause 1cognitive2 therapies often incorporate 'ehavioural techni!ues (and vice versa), it is
increasingly difficult to classify many therapies into one domain or the other. Having emerged out of the
empirical era, many cognitive therapies, li#e 'ehaviour therapies, stress the importance of systematic
assessment.
A fundamental concept of almost all cognitive therapies is the A$ '$ theory of personality. This theory
postulates that the effect of activating events (A) on emotional and 'ehavioural responses, conse!uences
() is mediated by cognitions or beliefs ('). Thus, problematic 'ehaviour can be changed by modifying
maladaptive beliefs. *n rational$emotive therapy (<+T), a form of cognitive therapy developed by Albert +llis,
the therapist employs various cognitive, emotive, and 'ehavioural techni!ues in an effort to challenge
irrational beliefs and to foster development of new patterns of thin#ing. 'ec# developed perhaps the most
well$#nown form of cognitive therapy, which was designed initially as a treatment for depression. *t stresses
the role of automatic thoughts and cognitive distortions, such as arbitrary inference, overgeneralization, and
polarized thin#ing, in maintaining negative thin#ing or negative schema. )any different cognitive therapies
have been developed following +llis and 'ec#, and they often target specific problems. :iven this diversity,
the nature of the therapeutic process varies between individual therapies.
*n <+T, the therapist adopts a more didactic stance and often directly challenges the client(s irrational
beliefs. *n 'ec#(s T, the therapist and the client collaborate to test hypotheses based on the client(s
beliefs. As in 'ehaviour therapy, the client must be committed to modifying their maladaptive beliefs.
ognitive therapists often employ a variety of techni!ues to assist in cognitive restructuring. These
techni!ues may include education, e"amination of thoughts and cognitions, self$monitoring, problem solving,
role$playing, teaching coping s#ills, assigning homewor#, mood ratings, and activity scheduling.
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'.0 E1periential Therap"
The e"periential therapies include client$centred, :estalt, and e"istential psychotherapies. These therapies
were developed separately and are based on the wor# of <ogers, &erls, )ay, Jalom, and others. Although
they may use different methods and stress different issues, they share several important elements, including
a core belief in human beings( inner potential for growth and development. .urthermore, as the name
suggests, e"periential therapies focus on in$therapy e"periencing.
As such, general goals of therapy may be to elicit emotional e"perience, to provide an empathic therapeutic
relationship, and to facilitate the creation of meaning and awareness. @ith regard to the therapist(s role, the
various e"periential approaches differ in the acceptable level of directiveness, but they generally emphasize
1process directiveness2, which involves suggesting productive ways to wor# on a particular type of issue.
.inally, the e"periential therapies stress the essential benefit offered by the therapist$client relationship and
adopt a client$centred approach.
As mentioned above, the way in which these ideas are applied varies among the e"periential
psychotherapies. *n e"istential psychotherapy, for e"ample, awareness develops through detailed
e"ploration of issues such as death, freedom, isolation, and search for meaning within the setting of a
trusting bond between therapist and client. 0uring this e"ploration, e"istential therapists may employ
techni!ues from various approaches.
*n client$centred therapy, the client(s growth and awareness are attained based on a warm, accepting,
genuine, and empathic therapeutic relationship, and the therapist may use s#ills such as 1listening,
accepting, respecting, understanding, and sharing2 (orey, p. D46). :estalt therapy maintains that a client
must accept responsibility for his,her life to achieve maturity and addresses issues such as une"pressed
feelings (guilt, resentment, abandonment, etc.), avoidance, and neuroses with a distinct emphasis on the
here$and$now. Although :estalt methods are often somewhat confrontational, they are not necessarily
harsh. They may be used in group or individual therapy and consist of unconventional 1e"periments2,
dialogue e"ercises (1empty chair techni!ue2), role playing, and several other techni!ues.
'.3 Re+erences7
orey, :. (4884). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. &acific :rove, A: 'roo#s,ole.
Eambert, ).I. (DFFK). Bergin and Garfields !andboo" of Psychotherapy and Behaviour Change (6
th
+d.).
Aew Jor#: @iley.
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