Counseling Theories Essay

2468 words - 10 pages

Counseling Theories

Jessica A. Williams

Salem College

Counseling Theories

Counseling theories exist so that counselors and therapists have a means with which to better help and understand their clients. Counseling "theories help organize and provide guidelines for the prevention and intervention efforts of counselors and therapists" (Capuzzi and Gross, 2011). It is important for the counselor to know the advantages and disadvantages of the theories that they are using where they can use it flexibly and discriminatingly (Shoben, 1962). Some of the theories are similar and build off each other while others have very little in common. An examination of person-centered theory, ...view middle of the document...

In order for person-centered therapy to be effective, the client must understand that the client is a person with feelings, too. The client may share personal feelings and experiences with the client (Capuzzi and Gross, 2011).
Because each person is different, person-centered therapists cannot use the same intervention or technique with each client, the techniques and interventions are as unique as each client is. Rogers did not think that techniques and interventions were important during therapy sessions. Person-centered therapists avoid “doing counseling” and encourage the client to find his or her own method of healing (Glauser and Bozarth, 2001). The intervention strategies implemented by person-centered therapists include being genuine, actively listening, reflecting content and feeling, immediacy, self-disclosure, and personalized actions (Capuzzi and Gross, 2011). These methods maintain focus on the client and the client’s motivation and direction to promote healing.
The strengths involved in person-centered therapy are extensive and include multicultural considerations as well the ability to counsel whole groups. Because person-centered therapists seek to be empathic with their clients, they can understand the views of people with different backgrounds and form a more trusting relationship with them (Glauser and Bozarth, 2001). Person-centered therapy is also frequently used in group counseling sessions sometimes involving families (Capuzzi and Gross, 2011).
Person-centered therapy has several weaknesses that make it difficult to incorporate in counseling sessions. Primarily, this type of therapy can take long amounts of time to complete. Due to time constraints set forth by insurance companies and government agencies, it is difficult to use this type of therapy on clients who require many sessions (Capuzzi and Gross, 2011). Another weakness in person-centered therapy is that these types of therapists do not diagnose illnesses or diseases. Again, with the demands of insurance companies and government agencies, problems can arise when there is no label to the problem a client is claiming to have (Capuzzi and Gross, 2011). Another weakness is that a counselor using person-centered theory may have a false sense of security during therapy sessions because it seems to be so simple since there are no techniques to remember and it appears to only involve listening and reflecting (Capuzzi & Gross, 2011).
Gestalt theory was made known by Fritz Perls, and later carried on by his wife, Laura Perls, and an acquaintance, Paul Goodman. Like person-centered theory, gestalt theory is focused on the client’s phenomenological perspective also (Capuzzi and Gross, 2011). It also uses principles from psychoanalytic theories and focuses on improving the client’s awareness or subjective experience (Capuzzi and Gross, 2011). Gestalt theory is holistic and seeks to examine the whole person and not just the parts that make up the person...

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