Theoretical Orientation in Counseling

Theoretical orientation towards psychology is an important part of counseling. A counselor must excel in at least one of the orientations but must have substantial training in all of them. Aside from this when training future counselors it should also be noted that when preparing as counselors people should “develop their own personal model of counseling as they work toward integration in theory and eclecticism in practice" (Spruill & Benshoff, 2000)

The theoretical orientation that has been adopted by me personally pertains to the cognitive behavioral approach.

“Behavioral approaches assume that people are basically shaped both by learning and socio-cultural environment.” (Corey & Corey, 2002)

This type of therapy is mostly employed to treat disorders related to neurosis and psychopathology like mood and anxiety disorders. The article by Hall (2001) discusses that it is possible to make use of the cognitive behavioral therapy approach in the prisoner counseling and chaplaincy programs. The cognitive behavioral procedures can be used as a form of corrective programs for the prisoners.

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Through this approach the behavior of the prisoner can be changed by changing and influencing their disturbed emotions.

Insight Oriented Approach and Action Oriented Approach

Insight oriented therapy is the type of approach which aids the individual to understand the past events and identify the emotional and psychological drivers that influence the behavior of the person.

The specific kind of therapy which can be referred to as an insight oriented therapy would be the psychoanalytical therapy. “The purpose of psychoanalytic treatment is to make the client conscious of unconscious material and to structure his or her personality in order to attain a healthy balance of energy.

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” (Okun & Kantrowitz, 2007)

Action oriented approach is a less passive approach for therapy. According to this approach the client tends to seek out the problem and attempts to confront it by changing the environment or the situation. The cognitive therapy approach is an example of the action oriented approach which emphasizes the client to think rationally and have a positive outlook.

The difference between the action oriented and the insight oriented therapy is that the action oriented therapy triggers a process for problem solving. Through the cognitive techniques the problem is identifies, and analyzed, the solutions and alternatives and discussed with the result that the most appropriate solution is chosen. Through the insight oriented approach to therapy however the states that the depression that is felt by the client is the result of unconscious psychological conflicts. As a result changing the though patterns, moods and behavior patterns can change the results in the long term

Directive and Non Directive Therapy:

The non directive technique is a client centered technique where the clients tend to direct themselves to change and solve theirs on problems. Through this technique the therapeutic process is usually avoided. The non directive technique allows the clients to be in charge and make a positive change for themselves.

The directive therapy requires a third party of a psychologist to aid the client and guide them about the structured process of the therapy. In this approach the therapists tends to assume complete understanding of he patients needs, requirements, and then strives to change the attitude of the patient as well as their behavior.

The main difference between the directive and the non directive approach is that in the former the client is the one in charge and tends to solve the problem himself and in the latter the session is structured and set up according to the counselor who provides the necessary changes in the behavior and the value system for the client.

If I were to put my counseling techniques on a continuum between insight oriented and action oriented as well as directive therapy and non directive therapy, then I would probably end up choosing the action oriented therapy and the directive therapy. These two techniques make combine together to form the cognitive behavioral approach. My choice would be based on the aspects that action orientation would also be to be less passive in the therapy while directive therapy would give me the room to structure and organize my sessions with the clients. This would aid me in applying the cognitive behavioral therapy techniques which are my preferred choice as mentioned earlier my theoretical orientation as well. 


  1. Corey, M.S., & Corey, R., (2002), “Counseling a comprehensive profession” (5th ed), Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
  2. Hall, T.S., (2001), Faith-based cognitive programs in corrections, Corrections Today, Vol. 65, Issue 7, retrieved on Oct 22, 2007 from
  3. Okun, F.B., & Kantrowitz, R.E., (2007), “Effective Helping – Interviewing and Counseling Techniques” (7th ed), Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
  4. Spruill, A.D., Benshoff, J.M., (2000), Helping Beginning Counselors Develop a Personal Theory of Counseling, Counselor Education and Supervision, Vol. 40 n1 p70-80, retrieved on Oct 22, 2007 from
Updated: Feb 22, 2021
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Theoretical Orientation in Counseling. (2017, Mar 17). Retrieved from

Theoretical Orientation in Counseling essay
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