Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Case Approach

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2004-01-01
  • Publisher: Allyn & Bacon
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This book examines with clarity and wit theories of counseling and psychotherapy. It is the first and only counseling theories book that begins each chapter with a case study, which is then integrated throughout each chapter. Gender and cultural issues are carefully considered, and the author covers each topic with enough depth that allows readers to easily understand the key ideas being presented. The book describes the approach each theory presented takes to counseling, the counseling techniques it employs, and its views of the counselor's and client's roles in therapy. For each theory discussed in the book the author presents the basic philosophical assumptions, its beliefs about what motivates human behavior, its central constructs, its picture of how humans develop, its ideas about what constitutes mental and emotional health and dysfunction, its perspective on how our relationships with those around us impact our functioning, and its view of how our behavior, thoughts, and emotion impact our functioning. Theories include: psychoanalysis, individual psychology, person-centered therapy, behavior therapy, rational emotive behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, reality therapy, gestalt therapy, interpersonal approaches to psychotherapy, family systems therapy, solution focused therapy, and feminist therapy. An excellent desk reference for counselors and psychotherapists.

Table of Contents

Theory Is a Good Thing
Neoanalytic Approaches
Individual Psychology
Person-Centered Therapy
Existential Psychotherapy
Gestalt Therapy
Behavior Therapy
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive Therapy
Reality Therapy
Feminist Therapy
Family Systems Theory
Solution-Focused Therapy
Narrative Therapy
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.


There is nothing so practical as a good theory. -- Kurt Lewin WHY I WROTE THIS BOOK The quote from Kurt Lewin aptly captures my philosophy on the role and use of theory. I have been teaching about counseling theory for longer than I care to say, and I consider myself something of a theory freak. I admit that I think theory is fun. However, over the years I have learned that theory is not very useful if you don't know how to apply it; application is what makes theory practical and good. I have struggled to teach the application of theory to my students, trying different methods and models along the way. Knowing that it is sometimes difficult for me, how can I expect the application of theory to be easy for students just learning the basics of counseling theory? That's why I wrote this book; it is an effort to demonstrate the value of theory through its application. Theory comes alive when it is used to understand a client presentation. The pitfalls and strengths of an approach are never more evident than when it is put to use in this way. The task of understanding a client presentation in a theoretical structure creates a situation in which you need to know the theory in a way that is different from simply knowing its constructs and techniques. At times it is tempting to give up the attempt to apply a theory to a given client presentation, because the theory under consideration just doesn't seem to fit as well as some other one. My experience has been that when this situation occurs, the potential for learning is great. Clients don't offer their problems in theory-laden terms. They tend to speak in their own language, and it is your job to do the best you can to understand that language in ways that are helpful. In essence, you need to interpret the client's presentation in theoretical terms. I have found that theory is most useful when my clients have me confused. Instead of operating on automatic pilot, I am forced to ask, "Now what on earth just happened here?" In each chapter of this book, I have tried to present the various theories in a straightforward, understandable way. What distinguishes this book from others is that I immediately illustrate the application of a construct or process by showing how it relates to the client case described at the beginning of the chapter. I use different client cases for each chapter for at least two reasons: First, I want to show that theory can apply to clients who range across the broad spectrum of individual and cultural diversity and present with many kinds of distress. Second, I do not want my readers to lose interest from reading about the same case chapter after chapter. In essence, I have tried to make this book interesting without compromising the intellectual quality of the presentations. However, it is an engaging and useful exercise to apply different theories to the same case, so I would urge the users of this book to undertake this task as a way of comparing the approaches in a meaningful way. THE THEORIES I CHOSE A question always arises about which theories to include in a text like this one. Some choices are obvious; others less so. I included classical Psychoanalysis--even though true analysis may not be common these days--because it is the foundation of the profession and the springboard for many other systems. If you ever write something that generates as much love and hate as Freud's work did, you have really created something important. I chose other theoretical approaches based on several criteria: (a) currency--whether the theory is used by professionals in the real world; (b) potential to contribute to understanding of the counseling process even if the reader does not adopt the theory wholesale; and (c) comprehensiveness--the extent to which the theory provides a conceptual structure as well as guidelines for counseling and associated techniques. MY PHILOSOPHY

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