There are a great number of different counseling theories that can often be intertwined with each other. For example, Behavioral theory is based on the idea that behavior is conditioned or learned, mostly from the environment. It focuses on an unwanted, unhealthy, or potentially self-destructive behavior of an individual, and the purpose of behavioral therapy is to change that kind of behavior. Positive or negative reinforcement technique can be used to modify it. Behavioral therapies are often used in the treatment of drug or alcohol abuse. Cognitive theory is focused on an individual’s patterns of thinking, and how they can affect the mood, feelings, and behaviors of an individual. Cognitive and Behavioral theories can often be combined and practiced as one form of therapy, which is efficaciously used to treat panic and anxiety disorders (Hofmann & Smits, 2008). Humanistic theory focuses on the positives rather than the negatives and promotes self-acceptance and personal growth, as well as self-determination and responsibility. To decide which approach should be used, a counselor needs to identify and evaluate a client’s problems and their mental state, as well as to set specific goals. However, the distinctions between different theories might not always be clearly defined, and a counselor might have to use a combination of approaches to achieve the required goals.
Hofmann, S. G., & Smits, J. A. (2008). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for adult anxiety disorders: A meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 69(4), 621.