Counseling Theory: Guiding Reflective Practice


Richard D. Parsons & Naijian Zhang

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

    Introduction to the Series

    Counseling and Professional Identity

    Counseling Theory: Guiding Reflective Practice will introduce you to myriad theories and models guiding counselor practice. This text and the theories represented will play an important role in your ongoing development as a professional counselor. Growing as a competent professional counselor requires the acquisition and employment of more complex mental structures—those that help counselors organize information and make meaning of experience in a more comprehensive, integrated, and differentiated manner. Counseling theory is integral to these processes of finding meaning and directing practice. The use of theories to guide practice enables counselors to engage in problem solving from a broader range of perspectives.

    This text provides a learning experience that will foster the development of these complex mental structures. However, one text—one learning experience—will not be sufficient for the successful formation of your professional identity and practice. That will be a lifelong process—one we hope to facilitate through the presentation of this text and creation of our series of counseling books, titled Counseling and Professional Identity.

    Counseling and Professional Identity is a fresh, pedagogically sound series of texts targeting counselors in training. This series is not simply a compilation of isolated books matching those already available in the market. Rather, each book in the series, while targeting specific knowledge and skills and proving valuable in and of itself, gains further value and significance as an integral part of a coordinated series of texts targeting the professional development of counselors. The focus and content of each text within the series serve as a single lens through which a counselor can view clients, engage in practice, and articulate a personal professional identity. This is one lens among the many needed to serve as a competent counselor.

    Counseling and Professional Identity, as noted, is not simply a “package” of traditional texts. Rather, the series provides an integrated curriculum targeting the formation of the reader's professional identity and efficient, ethical practice. Each book in the series is structured to facilitate the reader's ongoing professional formation. The materials found within each text are organized to move the reader to higher levels of cognitive, affective, and psychomotor functioning, resulting in their assimilation in the reader's professional identity and approach to professional practice. The texts included within the series reflect the core courses provided in most graduate counselor education programs (see Table P.1).

    Table P.1 Books and Corresponding CACREP (Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) Competencies
    Counseling and Professional Identity
    Books in the SeriesTypical Courses Served by the Text
    Introduction to Professional Counseling Varunee Faii Sangganjanavanich and Cynthia A. ReynoldsIntroductory
    Becoming a Skilled Counselor Richard D. Parsons and Naijian ZhangBasic skills
    Becoming a Multiculturally Competent Counselor Changming Duan and Chris BrownMulticultural and diversity
    Counseling Individuals Through the Lifespan Daniel Wai Chung Wong, Kim Hall, Cheryl Justice, and Lucy Wong HernandezHuman development
    Counseling Assessment and Evaluation: Fundamentals of Applied Practice Joshua C. Watson and Brandé FlamezAssessment
    Research Methods for Counseling Robert WrightFundamental research
    Counseling Theory: Guiding Reflective Practice Richard D. Parsons and Naijian Zhang (Eds.)Theories
    Ethical Decision Making for the 21st Century Counselor Donna S. Sheperis, Michael Koct, and Stacy HenningEthics—or sections within each course covering ethical issues
    Career Development and Counseling: Theory and Practice in a Multicultural World Mei Tang and Jane GoodmanCareer counseling
    Counselor as Consultant David Scott, Chadwick Royal, and Daniel KissingerConsultation and coordination
    Group Work: An Introduction for Helping Professionals Robert ConyneGroup dynamics, group counseling

    While each text targets a specific set of core competencies (see Table P.1), they all share a common emphasis:

    • Assimilation of concepts and constructs provided across texts in the series, thus fostering the reader's ongoing development as a competent professional
    • Blending of contemporary theory with current research and empirical support
    • Development of procedural knowledge, with each text employing case illustrations and guided practice exercises to facilitate the reader's ability to translate the theory and research discussed into professional decision making and application
    • Need for and means of demonstrating accountability
    • Fostering of the reader's professional identity and, with it, assimilation of the ethics and standards of practice guiding the counseling profession

    Editors' Preface

    “Why?” When asked by a curious observer of human behavior, this question, more often than not, brings responses characterized as “maybes” rather than “absolutes.” Human behavior is complex. Observers of human behavior have drawn inferences and interpretations, and some have developed these into hypothetical constructs and theoretical models—all in the hope they will conform to the real, empirical world of the behavior being observed.

    For counselors, theories of human behavior need to be more than just points of intellectual curiosity. Counseling theory is an invaluable tool essential to effective counseling. The value of theory rests in its use as a screen or filter—an orienting framework through which client information can be processed and better understood.

    Counseling theories help counselors distinguish the relevant from the tangential. They give counselors the framework for making predictions about clients' behavior. Counseling theories provide the counselor direction as to the goals and purposes of the counseling as well as the processes and techniques needed to achieve those ends.

    Counseling Theory: Guiding Reflective Practice provides an understanding of the process of change and use of both classical and cutting-edge theoretical models of change as lenses through which to process client information and develop case conceptualizations and intervention plans. This text is unique among the vast array of “theories” textbooks in that it features the following:

    • Expert practitioners as authors: Each of the theories presented within this book is written by an expert in that theory—someone who not only understands the theory presented but also employs it as a framework for client case conceptualization and treatment planning.
    • Insight into professional identity: The authors—who are scholars, academics, and practitioners—share the special value and import of the theories they employ, not just as a guide to their practice decisions but as an essential component of their professional identities.
    • Emphasis on application: This book goes beyond promoting understanding of theories to facilitating their application to guide practice. It demonstrates the truth behind Lewin's statement that there is “nothing so practical as a good theory.”1 The text employs a single illustrative case and the concept of “reflective practice” as the anchor for each author's presentation of a particular theory. While articulating the history, significant contributors, and essential concepts of the theory, the primary focus of each chapter is on the contributor's application of that theory to the illustrative case. Each author will demonstrate, use of the theory as a tool guiding the practitioner in processing client data and formulating treatment plans. This modeling, along with the chapter's guided practices, helps the reader “see” the theory in action and employ it to guide his or her own case conceptualization and practice decisions.
    • Reflection of the reality of increasing globalization: This book presents theories that reflect the increasing globalization and diversity of clients engaged in counseling and the issues they bring. It not only highlights the various lenses through which one must view multicultural issues but also demonstrates how each of the theories discussed, while developed in Western culture, can apply to people from different cultural backgrounds.
    • Presentation of classical and cutting-edge theories: While the classical theories of counseling are fully presented within this text, it also provides the reader with a “peek” into the future of counseling as a profession and practice, as it takes form in emerging, cutting-edge theories that will move counseling well into the 21st century.
    • Address of CACREP competencies: As with all the books in this series, Counseling Theory: Guiding Reflective Practices is most noteworthy in that it has been developed to foster the reader's formative development and professional identity. This book gains value by being a significant part of the integrated series, targeting the professional formation of counselors. As part of an integrated body of work, this book presents theory as an essential component to the counselor's identity formation and eventual professional practice, and to this end is designed to address specific competencies identified by CACREP as essential to developing an understanding of the processes of counseling and development of a counselor's professional identity. Specifically, the goals of this text are as follows:
      • Demonstrate the value of theory to a counselor's reflective practice
      • Identify the historical roots of contemporary theories
      • Present models of counseling consistent with current professional research and practice
      • Compare and contrast the major tenets of affective, behavioral, and cognitive theories
      • Apply counseling theory to material guiding case conceptualization and selection of appropriate interventions
      • Describe the “what,” “when,” and “why” of selecting family and other systems theories and related interventions
      • Highlight the impact of increasing globalization and diversification of the practice of professional counseling and of the clients served

    We are proud to have had the opportunity to assemble such a diverse group of scholar-practitioners to share their chosen theories and unique professional identities. We know you will find their presentation valuable to your own professional practice and developing professional identity.


    First and foremost, our appreciation goes to the scholar-practitioners who have contributed their time and talent to the formation of this text. In addition, we would like to recognize the valuable feedback received from our insightful reviewers: Victor I. Alvarado, Mark T. Blagen, Caroline M. Brackette, Rodney A. Bragdon, Britney G. Brinkman, Laura Cramer-Berness, Kimberly Duris, Leslie Korn, Amie Manis, G. Susan Mosley-Howard, Dale V. Wayman, and Marie Wilson.

    Finally, we would like to acknowledge the word-crafting skills of Megan Granger, our copy editor, and the support, encouragement, energy, and vision provided by the people at SAGE—Maggie Stanley, Elizabeth Luizzi, and, especially, our friend Kassie Graves.

    About the Contributors


    Richard D. Parsons, PhD Full professor, Department of Counselor Education, West Chester University

    Naijian Zhang, PhD Full professor, Department of Counselor Educational, West Chester University

    Contributors (by Chapter)

    Richard D. Parsons, PhD Full professor, Department of Counselor Education, West Chester University (Chapters 1 & 3)

    Dong Xie, PhD Associate professor, Department of Psychology and Counseling, University of Central Arkansas (Chapter 2)

    Naijian Zhang, PhD Full professor, Department of Counselor Education, West Chester University (Chapter 3)

    Faith Deveaux, PhD Associate professor of counselor education, Lehman College/City University of New York (Chapter 4)

    Robyn L. Trippany-Simmons, EdD Residency coordinator, counseling programs, core faculty, MS in mental health counseling, Walden University (Chapter 5)

    Matthew R. Buckley, EdD Core faculty, MS in mental health counseling, Walden University (Chapter 5)

    Kristin Meany-Walen Assistant professor, School of Applied Human Sciences, Counseling Program, University of Northern Iowa (Chapter 5)

    Tiffany Rush-Wilson, PhD Clinical skills coordinator, counseling programs, core faculty, MS in mental health counseling, Walden University (Chapter 5)

    Mark B. Scholl, PhD Associate professor of counselor education, East Carolina University (Chapter 6)

    Michael Walsh, PhD, LPC, CRC Assistant professor of rehabilitation counseling, University of South Carolina School of Medicine (Chapter 6)

    Michelle Perepiczka, PhD Core faculty, Walden University (Chapter 6)

    Marjorie C. Witty, PhD Professor, Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University, Chicago (Chapter 7)

    Ray Adomaitis, PhD Adjunct professor, psychology and counseling, University of Maryland, University College Europe (Chapter 7)

    Joseph Spillman, PhD Core faculty, MS in mental health counseling, School of Counseling and Social Service, Walden University (Chapter 8)

    Christina M. Rosen, EdD Associate professor, Human Development and Psychological counseling, Appalachian State University (Chapter 8)

    Julia Y. Porter, PhD, LPC, NCC, NCSC Professor of counselor education and division head, Division of Education, Mississippi State University, Meridian (Chapter 9)

    Barbara C. Trolley, PhD, CRC Professor, Counselor Education, St. Bonaventure University (Chapter 10)

    Christopher Siuta, PhD, LMHC Assistant professor, Counselor Education, St. Bonaventure University (Chapter 10)

    David A. Scott, PhD Associate professor, Counselor Education, Clemson University (Chapter 11)

    Hannah G. Barfield, M.Ed. Counselor, Greenville Mental Health Center (Chapter 11)

    Brandé Flamez, PhD, LPC, NCC Professor, core faculty for the PhD Counselor Education and Supervision Program, Walden University (Chapter 12)

    Joshua C. Watson, PhD, LPC, NCC, ACS Associate professor, Counselor Education, Mississippi State University, Meridian (Chapter 12)

    Kristi B. Cannon, PhD Field Experience Director for the School of Counseling, Walden University (Chapter 13)

    Jason Patton, PhD Core faculty for PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision Program, Walden University (Chapter 13)

    Stacee L. Reicherzer, PhD Assessment coordinator for the School of Counseling and Social Service, Walden University (Chapter 13)

    Rebecca M. Goldberg, PhD Assistant professor of Counselor Education, Mississippi State University (Chapter 14)

    Adam Zagelbaum, PhD Associate professor, Department of Counseling, Sonoma State University (Chapter 15)

    Maureen Buckley, PhD Professor, Department of Counseling, Sonoma State University (Chapter 15)

    Shana Friedman, MA Graduate and adult admissions counselor, Dominican University of California (Chapter 15)

    Kalia Gurnee, MA Graduate, Department of Counseling, Sonoma State University (Chapter 15)

    Michael G. Laurent, PhD Chair, Marital and Family Therapy Program, California State University, Dominguez Hills (Chapter 16)

    Shengli Dong, PhD Assistant professor, Educational Psychology and Learning systems, Florida State University (Chapter 16)

    • Loading...
Back to Top

Copy and paste the following HTML into your website