Analyzing counseling theories Essay

Analyzing Counseling Theories
Part 1: Chart

Feminist Theory
Transpersonal Theory
Background Theory

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Betty Friedman
The Feminine Mystique (1963)
Feminist counseling (1970s)
Radical, liberal, and moderate
Fourth force
Ken Wilber
Spectrum or integral approach
Human Nature

Gender role expectations’ impact on human development
Traditional theories are not applicable
Prepersonal functioning
Personal functioning
Transpersonal functioning
Major Constructs

Person is political
Commitment to social change
Egalitarian relationships
Women’s experiences and voices are honored
All types of oppression are recognized
Reductionist approach
Humanistic approach

Making choices based on personal experiences and strengths
Self-help skills and tools
Personal level and social level changes
Mystical and peak experiences, and spiritual emergencies
Meditation, initiations and vision questing, ritual and shamanic inductions Intrinsic health, mindful and present centered, act of service and act of work on oneself, recognizing duality Evaluations

Is as effective as traditional counseling
Conscious-raising is therapeutic benefit
Not as clearly defined as a theory
Difficult to obtain adequate training
Not allied with multicultural and social justice counseling
More accepting of other theories
Empirical study difficult
Ethicality and effectiveness with severe mental issues in question Considered dangerous

Part 2: Reflection

I hope to work with teenagers between the ages of 13-18 as a trauma and crisis counselor. Teenagers are very vulnerable in the world today. Since they have so many choices that can bring a negative or positive influence in their lives, they truly need a solid support system in any circumstances. The theory that I feel would be most effective in this population is the Feminist theory. This theory does not conform to societal conditions placed upon gender roles and expectations. Instead it focuses on the client making choices based on their own strengths and personal experiences (Enns 2004 as cited in Herlihy & McCollum 2011).

It is important for teenagers, to recognize and appreciate their differences regardless of the outlook that society’s traditions have assigned to them. The interventions that I would suggest are the reframing and relabeling. Reframing involves changing the standards for judging or deciding how to examine an individual’s behavior (Herlihy & McCollum 2011). Teenagers are very sensitive to how they are viewed among their peers, especially in a negative light. If they are able to change the perspective from negative to positive, they will cease in always blaming themselves for their problems. Relabeling can also turn a negative connotation into a positive. Herlihy and McCollum (2011) stated that dysfunctional behavior can be relabeled as a way of coping with the behavior. This can, in fact, be a positive turning point in their lives. Reframing and relabeling becomes very important for the teenager who has been seen as anything other than “normal” in their lives. With the assistance of these interventions, what was once considered a weakness can be reframed into strength. These interventions would assist in empowering teens to use their own experiences to propel themselves in society. This will also lead them to becoming more sensitive to the growing diversity in the population. By accepting themselves and others outside of societal roles, they can also gain their independence and become leaders in their communities (Herlihy & McCollum 2011).


Herlihy, B., & McCollum, V. J. C. (2011). In Capuzzi, D., & Gross, D. R. (Ed.). (2011). Counseling and psychotherapy: Theories and interventions (5th ed.). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.