Counseling Theories

Counseling can be defined as the process of helping others to deal with or adjust to personal problems by enabling them discover for themselves the answer to their problems while receiving attention from a competent counselor (Phil and Charlotte 2001: 56). Counseling is a voluntary process since it is not possible to send one for counseling. There are different models for counseling, different tools or roots, to enable a client to change. Counseling models fall under three main categories: behavioral therapies, psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies, and humanistic therapies (Petruska 1998: 38).
Behavioral therapies focus on behaviors and cognitions. They are based on the way you think and the way you behave. They recognize the fact that it is possible to recondition or change our behaviors and thoughts to overcome specific problems. Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies on the other hand have their focus on the unconscious patterns of relationships that evolve from childhood. Here, therapies are based on an individual’s conscious perceptions and thoughts that have developed right from their childhood, and how they affect their current thoughts and behaviors. Further, humanistic therapies focus on growth, self –development and responsibilities. They help individuals recognize their strength, choice and creativity in the ‘now and here’ (Stern 1997: 59).
Different models and approaches can be used in counseling depending on the client’s needs. An assessment of the client’s problems should be made and an appropriate approach implemented. However, most psychotherapists and counselors use the integrative model. I shall look at the integrative relational model of counseling and compare it to the Cooper and McLeod’s Pluralist Model and Lapworth et al’s Multidimensional Integrative model.

Cooper and McLeod’s Pluralist Model
Cooper and McLeod (2011: 7) adopt a pluralist approach to integration. Her, pluralism connotes the belief that there...