Which Counselling Approach Is Best?

What Are Counseling Approaches?

A counsellor’s approach is a reflection of their training and coaching philosophy.

Counselling approaches and coaching styles also are differentiated by how therapists interact with clients. For example, client-centred counsellors focus on a client’s innate goodness and use a nondirective interaction style.

Generally speaking, counselling approaches are guided by theory and research, both of which inform the practice method.

Although there are many more, that you can find, we focus on this selection for a start.

1. Humanistic

 Humanistic counselling theories hold that people have within themselves all the resources they need to live healthy and functional lives and that problems occur as a result of restricted or unavailable problem-solving resources.

2. Cognitive

 Cognitive counselling theories hold that people experience psychological and emotional difficulties when their thinking is out of sync with reality

3. Behavioral

 Behavioural counselling theories hold that people engage in problematic thinking and behaviour when their environment supports it. When an environment reinforces or encourages these problems, they will continue to occur.

4. Psychoanalytic

Psychoanalytic counselling theories hold that psychological problems result from the recent day influence of unconscious psychological drives or motivations stemming from past relationships and experiences.

5. Constructionist

Constructionist counselling theories hold that knowledge is merely an invented or constructed understanding of actual events in the world.

6. Systemic

Systemic counselling theories hold that thinking, feeling and behaviour are largely shaped by pressures exerted on people by the social systems within which they live.

Most counsellors will find that some therapy models are a particularly good fit, while others may not be a good fit at all. Consequently, they are most likely to apply those models in counselling practice that fall within their “comfort/competency zone” and avoid those that do not. 

When confronted with client situations that fall outside of their zone of comfort and/or competency, counsellors must decide between (a) working to expand their comfort/competency zone to include alternative models more appropriate to the client’s needs or (b) referring the client to another counsellor who is more comfortable and competent in the needed alternative models.

Above all, this important decision must always be determined by what action is needed to best meet the counselling needs of each client.

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