Mental Health Counseling

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Theories play an important role in how a counselor serves their clients. Theories provide counselors with a foundation on which to build their counseling style. “Theories ground us as professional counselors. They provide a means to understand what we are doing, how we are serving clients, and how to explain counseling to clients” (Erford, 2010). Counselors are responsible for being aware of different theories in order to apply them appropriately within their practice. Established and new theories play an important and constant role in mental health counseling. Established theories in mental health counseling are based on “empirical or scientific foundations” (American Counseling Association, 2005). The best way to gain the most beneficial application of a theory is to establish its validity and purpose.

If we look at any professional field, it will be obvious that each professional has their own method of practice. The theories in mental health counseling allow counselors to have a good foundation while allowing them to incorporate their own unique styles into the practice. “Theories represent clients’ realities and what we know to be important and effective elements of the counseling relationship (Hansen, 2006a)” (Erford, 2010). Mental Health counseling understands that all clients are unique and require different types of treatment. “In their extensive review of the subject, Gelso and Carter (1985) stated that "most clients will profit about equally (but in different ways) from the different therapies" (p. 234)” (Hackney, 1992). As our world continues to grow and evolve so do our lives. New theories are important because they provide insight into new and emerging changes in our society.

Students at Walden ar...

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Erford, B. (2010). Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling. In Orientation to the counseling

profession: Advocacy, ethics, and essential professional foundations (pp. 95-123). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

Hackney, H. (1992). Differentiating between counseling theory and process. ERIC Digest , 1-6.

Hansen, J. (2006). Counseling Theories Within a Postmodernist Epistemology: New Roles for

Theories in Counseling Practice. Journal of Counseling & Development, 84(3) , 291-297.

Petrocelli, J. V. (2002). Processes and stages of change: Counseling with the transtheoretical

model of change. Journal of Counseling & Development, 80(1) , 22-30.
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