LaGuardia and Watts use a storytelling approach to explore the philosophical and conceptual underpinnings of the different counseling theories covered in the counseling theories course. By doing so, this textbook shows students how to choose a personal counseling theory without being overly focused on technique--something that often happens with students who are anxious about what to do with clients. By first focusing students on the conceptual foundation, the authors thenintroduce a framework for integrating the techniques and clinical interventions for each theory.
Each theory chapter will cover the historical background, philosophical development in relation to other theories/historical trends, biographical information about prominent figures related to the theory, key philosophical constructs related to mental health and change, the strengths and weaknesses of each theory, diversity issues, and current research trends. The theories covered include Psychoanalytic, Behavioral, Cognitive Behavioral, Reality, Adlerian, Existential, Person-Centered, Gestalt, Feminist, Solution-Focused, and Narrative. The book concludes with a chapter on creating your own personal theory.
The emphasis on the philosophical elements of counseling theories is unique amongst counseling theories textbooks. By digging into the philosophy that informed the different counseling perspectives students gain an in-depth, holistic understanding of each counseling theory, how it relates to their own personal philosophical perspecitve, and how theory and techniques developed and can be incorporated into their own practice.