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  • By
  • Sr.Rekha

  • The theory and practice of counseling has drawn
    insights from other disciplines, including
    philosophy, psychology, sociology, and the other
    social sciences. These disciplines have provided
    both data and comprehensive hypotheses that
    counselors have used to clarify the theoretical
    structures underlying the whole counseling
  • Generally, there are three foundations to
    counseling theory
  • Philosophical Foundations
  • Sociological Foundations
  • Psychological Foundations

Philosophical Foundations
  • In a healthy personality the individual has a
    realistic perception of himself he knows what he
    wants and how much he wants it.
  • A goal of counseling is to help individuals to
    reach their maximum potential, which can occur
    only when they develop consistent philosophical
  • Psychologists have often argued that philosophy
    has no place in the scientific study of human
    behavior. However, May (1967) points out that
    every scientific method rests on philosophical

Different Philosophical Positions
  • Belief in the dignity and worth of the
  • One theme is found consistently in the literature
    discussing the philosophy of counseling belief
    in the dignity and worth of the individual, in
    the recognition of the individuals freedom in
    determining his own values and goals, and in the
    clients right to pursue his own life-style
  • A number of beliefs have emerged from Western
    civilization philosophies. These beliefs center
    on the concept of individualism. Its first aspect
    is the importance accorded the individual.
  • Thus, in Western culture a counselor is
    encouraged to help the client to become more
    independent, more autonomous.

  • Arbuckles (1975) Philosophical Model about a
    responsible and free individual
  • A responsible and free individual is one who has
    narrowed the gap between attitudes and behaviors
    the literal meaning of freedom and responsibility
    changes as the culture changes and a responsible
    individual is one who has no need to impose
    himself or his ideas on others.

Blochers grouping of relevant philosophical
  • Blocher (1966) has proposed grouping contemporary
    philosophical systems into three major
  • Essentialism
  • Progressivism
  • Existentialism

  • Essentialistic philosophies assume that humans
    are the only creatures endowed with reason and
    that their chief function is to use this reason
    in order to know the world in which they live. It
    therefore follows that truth is universal and
    absolute, and the individuals destiny is to
    discover truth by distinguishing between the
    essential and the accidental. It refers to a
    belief in the existence of fixed, unchanging
    absolutes of the good, the true, and the
  • Arbuckle (1975) points out that belief in
    absolute values can pose some difficulties for
    counselors. He asks whether the counselor who is
    firmly committed to absolutistic concepts of
    right and wrong, truth and error, beauty and
    ugliness, can allow a client the freedom to
    develop values in the clients own unique way.

  • Such systems begin not with the assumptions of
    universal truths but with specific and particular
    experiences. The question What is true? is less
    important than What will work?
  • A fact is valued for its usefulness, not its
    universality. As a result, values have no
    existence in themselves. Values are individual to
    the observer, and truth is dynamic in a world
    that is always changing. Certainly such a view
    describes the philosophy that underlies
    behaviorism. The behavioral approach is primarily
    pragmatic .

  • Existentialism is concerned with human longing
    and with seeking for importance within the
    individuals self. The existential philosophies
    emphasize the view of reality most meaningful to
    individuals. In a sense, it represents an
    approach that is empathic response by the
    counselor, as the counselor attempts to
    reconstruct the personal meaning structure of the
  • To analyze human behavior in philosophical terms
    is to ask serious questions about what a person
    values, whether he or she should value it,
    whether this value fits in with a pattern of
    values, whether the values of something hampers
    or assists other important values. Philosophical
    questions are directly involved when an
    individual faces a problem whether personal,
    vocational, or interpersonal.

Sociological Foundations
  • Sociology is basically a study of social group
    behavior. A basic premise of sociology is that
    peoples behavior is largely determined by their
    social interactions, their relationships as
    individuals and as group members. Following is
    the description of these influences
  • Influence of social organizations on Individuals
  • Sociologists have examined what impact the social
    structure has on the individual and how the
    individual adapts to these social controls.
    Merton (1957) suggests that individuals can cope
    through five general means conformity,
    innovation, ritualism, retreatism, or rebellion.

Socialization processes
  • This process transmits values and purposes of the
    group to the individual, teaching the individual
    how to fit into the pattern of that social
    organization. Socialization does not typically
    deal with the uniqueness of individuals rather,
    it focuses on those aspects of an individuals
    development that concern the adaptations and
    adjustments to the culture or society. In effect,
    the socialization processes work primarily to
    further the goals of the group rather than to
    further the development of the individual.
    Because the counselors primary commitment is to
    individual growth and development rather than to
    the facilitation of group ends, the counselor is
    particularly concerned with those socialization
    processes that help the individual develop
    identity, self-awareness, values, and goals.

Development of social/cultural values
  • Effective counselors should be able to understand
    how an individuals culture influences his value
    structure and how conflicts between individual
    and cultural values influence development. Values
    and gender roles have changed in modern day
    society. At fault is what sociologists call a
    cultural lag that is, habits and beliefs from
    previous times conflict with the cultural
    patterns brought about by new technology

Psychological Foundations
  • Social Psychology
  • Behavior is a product of the perceptual field of
    the individual at the moment of action.
    Contemporary social psychology greatly concerned
    with perceptual processes in human beings. For
    example, when an individual views a situation as
    threatening, he or she acts as if that situation
    were indeed threatening.
  • The counselor must understand the nature of the
    individuals perceptual experiences. Therefore,
    the person will behave defensively or
    aggressively, depending on what he sees as the
    best reaction to the perceived threat.

  • Psychological Foundations Learning Principles
  • The behavioral theories tend to emphasize the
    idea that learning is essentially a mechanical
  • Field theories emphasize on perception eventually
    forced the behaviorists to stop speaking as if
    the stimuli were purely objective and therefore
    equivalent for everyone.
  • Cognitive theorists conceptualize learning as an
    active restructuring of perceptions and concepts,
    not as passive responses to stimuli.

Thank you