Types of Counseling Procedures

As in psychotherapy, there are different schools and types of counseling, and the type used depends upon the orientation of the counselor and the institutions with which he is connected. For our purpose it will suffice to mention briefly only two wellknown schools: directive counseling and nondirective counseling, representing the two extremes. Most counseling falls somewhere in between these two extremes. The thoughtful reader of the cases in this volume will have little difficulty in identifying these types as represented by the case material, although it should be borne in mind that very few counselors, except those who are devotees and dedicates, adhere strictly without deviation to either approach.

Few counselors will classify themselves as consistently "directive." Those who disagree with this form of counseling claim that it is authoritarian, that its results, although quick, are often transitory, that it does not seem to build up the counselee's inner strength and resources, that it may call forth the resentment, opposition, and hostility of the client. Some also feel that although directive counseling may occasionally be justified in cases of emergency to gain time or to give specific information, it should be resorted to only under circumstances demanding such procedure.

Similarly, comparatively few counselors will identify themselves as entirely "nondirective." This approach, mainly associated with Carl Rogers, actually had its origin in psychoanalysis, Rankian psychology, passivity, and so on. Rogers now prefers to call his procedure "client-centered" counseling or therapy, having more or less abandoned the earlier designation of "nondirective" as inadequate for describing his processes and aims. This does not mean that he rejects the "nondirective" approach. It means, rather, that as he sees it, directive counseling is interested in problem solving, problems of the client, to be sure, but as discovered, defined, diagnosed, and prescribed for by the counselor with the client having little or no initiative or part beyond coming to the counselor. The counselor directs all activity, and the counselee is the passive recipient of the benefits of the counselor's wisdom and experience.

In "nondirective" counseling, the client becomes the active agent; it is he who endeavors to discover, define, and diagnose the problem and who even prescribes the solution. The counselor serves as a catalyst, occasionally reinterprets what the counselee brings forth, and enables him to draw upon his own resources for the solution of his problem.

Client-centered or "nondirective" counseling also has its critics. They recognize its value because it avoids the weaknesses and dangers of the directive procedure. They admit that it tends to utilize the inner resources of the client and provides more ready acceptance of the client on a nonjudgmental basis than the directive approach. However, they maintain that "nondirective" counseling has the weaknesses of its strengths; for example, that to depend solely upon the inner resources of the counselee is to waste a great deal of time, and that the client usually has neither the time nor the finances nor the patience required in this procedure.

As in psychotherapy, so also in counseling, there are those who would call themselves eclectics; and, as in psychotherapy, unless such eclecticism is based on comprehensive knowledge and discriminating choice, it may be little more than a patchwork of expedients and opportunism. However, when it is based on knowledge, discipline, training, and requisite skill, as well as experience, it can be a broad, flexible, and constructive approach to counseling.

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