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Course Outline and Structure

The text, Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy, introduces ten theoretical approaches. The perspectives presented in the course have been grouped together according to the main “forces” in psychology. These forces represent collections of models with related conceptual frameworks and historical trends in the development of psychological theory.

Psychology 406 comprises six sections. Section I introduces the importance of counselling theory and explores the interplay between the counsellor (as a person) and the theoretical approaches and counselling processes. Sections II through V examine the major theoretical trends in counselling and psychotherapy, emphasizing conceptual understanding and practical application through the use of case studies and personal reflection. Section VI focuses on integration of learning, and it highlights the trend toward eclecticism in theory and practice.

Section I Basic Issues in Counselling Practice
Unit 1 Introduction and Overview
Unit 2 The Counsellor: Person and Professional
Section II First Force: Psychodynamic Theories and Techniques
Unit 3 Psychoanalytic Theory
Unit 4 Adlerian Theory

The “First Force” refers to the psychodynamic or analytic theories: Psychoanalytic and Adlerian. Proponents of these models emphasize the importance of early childhood experiences and internal forces on human development and functioning. They believe that an understanding of past experiences is essential to growth and change.

Practice Exam (Optional)

Section III Second Force: Behavioural and Cognitive–Behavioural Theories and Techniques
Unit 5 Behavioural Theory
Unit 6 Cognitive–Behavioural Theory
Unit 7 Control Theory/Reality Therapy

The “Second Force” refers to the cognitive–behavioral models that are more action–oriented and that emphasize the importance of changing current thinking and behaviour: behavioural, cognitive–behavioural, and reality therapies.

Midterm Exam

Section IV Third Force: Humanistic Theories and Techniques
Unit 8 Existential Theory
Unit 9 Person–Centred Theory
Unit 10 Gestalt Theory

The humanistic theories, “Third Force,” tend to define human nature more proactively, are more experiential and relationship–oriented, and focus on inherent processes of self–actualization. Included in this area are the Existential, Person–Centred, and Gestalt models.

Case Study

Section V Fourth Force: Contextual and Systemic Theories and Techniques
Unit 11 Feminist Theory
Unit 12 Family Systems Theory
Unit 13 Multicultural Theory

Feminist and multicultural theories illustrate what is currently being referred to as a “Fourth Force” in psychology. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the ways in which socio–cultural or systemic factors related to ethnicity, gender, socio–economic status, and so on contribute to the struggles of individuals and groups.

Also included in the “Fourth Force” is a chapter on Family Systems Theory, since increased attention is paid, in this case, to contextual factors that influence individual well–being.

While Corey (2009) does not include a specific chapter on multicultural theory, a separate unit has been created to address this theoretical orientation.

Section VI Integration and Application
Unit 14 An Integrative Perspective

Personal Reflection Paper

Final Exam

*Note: Sections IV and V may be completed in reverse order, depending on the theoretical model selected for the Case Study assignment.

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