Limitations of the Approaches

Overview of Contemporary Counseling Models

Psychodynamic Approaches
Psychoanalytic therapy Founder: Sigmund Freud. A theory of personality development, a philosophy of human nature, and a method of psychotherapy that focuses on unconscious factors that motivate behavior. Attention is given to the events of the first six years of life as determinants of the later development of personality.
Adlerian therapy Founder: Alfred Adler. Key Figure: Following Adler, Rudolf Dreikurs is credited with popularizing this approach in the United States. This is a growth model that stresses assuming responsibility, creating one’s own destiny, and finding meaning and goals to create a purposeful life. Key concepts are used in most other current therapies.
Experiential and Relationship-Oriented Therapies
Existential therapy Key figures: Viktor Frankl, Rollo May, and Irvin Yalom. Reacting against the tendency to view therapy as a system of well-defined techniques, this model stresses building therapy on the basic conditions of human existence, such as choice, the freedom and responsibility to shape one’s life, and self-determination. It focuses on the quality of the person-to-person therapeutic relationship.
Person-centered therapy Founder: Carl Rogers; Key figure: Natalie Rogers. This approach was developed during the 1940s as a nondirective reaction against psychoanalysis. Based on a subjective view of human experiencing, it places faith in and gives responsibility to the client in dealing with problems and concerns.
Gestalt therapy Founders: Fritz and Laura Perls; Key figures: Miriam and Erving Polster. An experiential therapy stressing awareness and integration; it grew as a reaction against analytic therapy. It integrates the functioning of body and mind and places emphasis on the therapeutic relationship.
Cognitive Behavioral Approaches
Behavior therapy Key figures: B. F. Skinner, and Albert Bandura. This approach applies the principles of learning to the resolution of specific behavioral problems. Results are subject to continual experimentation. The methods of this approach are always in the process of refinement. The mindfulness and acceptance-based approaches are rapidly gaining popularity.
Cognitive behavior therapy Founders: Albert Ellis and A. T. Beck. Albert Ellis founded rational emotive behavior therapy, a highly didactic, cognitive, action-oriented model of therapy, and A. T. Beck founded cognitive therapy, which gives a primary role to thinking as it influences behavior. Judith Beck continues to develop CBT; Christine Padesky has developed strengths-based CBT; and Donald Meichenbaum, who helped develop cognitive behavior therapy, has made significant contributions to resilience as a factor in coping with trauma.
Choice theory/Reality Founder: William Glasser. Key figure: Robert Wubbolding. This short-term approach is based therapy on choice theory and focuses on the client assuming responsibility in the present. Through the therapeutic process, the client is able to learn more effective ways of meeting her or his needs.
Systems and Postmodern Approaches
Feminist therapy This approach grew out of the efforts of many women, a few of whom are Jean Baker Miller, Carolyn Zerbe Enns, Oliva Espin, and Laura Brown. A central concept is the concern for the psychological oppression of women. Focusing on the constraints imposed by the sociopolitical status to which women have been relegated, this approach explores women’s identity development, self-concept, goals and aspirations, and emotional well-being.
Postmodern approaches A number of key figures are associated with the development of these various approaches to therapy. Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg are the cofounders of solution-focused brief therapy. Michael White and David Epston are the major figures associated with narrative therapy. Social constructionism, solution-focused brief therapy, and narrative therapy all assume that there is no single truth; rather, it is believed that reality is socially constructed through human interaction. These approaches maintain that the client is an expert in his or her own life.
Family systems therapy A number of significant figures have been pioneers of the family systems approach, two of whom include Murray Bowen and Virginia Satir. This systemic approach is based on the assumption that the key to changing the individual is understanding and working with the family.

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