Counselling Skills And Theory

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Advanced Counseling Skills and Theory in Health & Social Care

Advanced Counseling Skills and Theory in Health & Social Care


Theories and therapies of counseling are the building blocks of the profession. Probably every counselor Counseling Theories and Therapies 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. (Capuzzi & Gross 2005)

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. This is most likely to be presented in terms of symptoms and disorders that are amenable to treatment via this approach, but might also discuss such factors as gender, age, cultural background, and other factors.

Purposes of Counseling Theories and Therapies

Although, of course, counselors cannot master all the important counseling theories and therapies, most counselors have a few preferred theories that they use with confidence and competence (Capuzzi & Gross 2005). Their skills in those therapeutic approaches enable them to do the following:

# Decide whether they are likely to be able to help a particular person with a given set of concerns.

# Collaborate with clients in establishing goals that are realistic in terms of the treatment approach that is being use.

# Develop an overall plan for helping people achieve their ...
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