Theories of Counseling

CSD 5520




Instructor:       Steven R. Conn, Ph.D.             Office:  2112 Buzzard Hall

Phone: 581-7242                                             E-mail:            

Office Hours: TBA



Course Description:  This course provides a survey of major theories of counseling.

Areas covered include history of each theory, theory of personality development, theory of counseling application, research, and use with diverse groups.  Prerequisite:  None.





Sharf, R. S. (1999).  Theories of Psychotherapy and Counseling: Concepts and Cases, 2nd Ed.

Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.



Course Objectives:


            Students will:

a.         Develop an understanding of the historical development of counseling theories.

b.         Survey theories of counseling including the theoretical process of each theory.

c.         Apply knowledge of the development of personality relevant to each theory.

d.         Apply knowledge of legal and ethical issues related to each theory.

e.         Analyze the application of each theory to a diverse population: social class, race, gender, lifestyles, education, and ethnicity.

f.                    Apply theoretical material to case studies.



Method of Teaching:  The learning models that will be used in this course will be an information-processing approach.  Instructional techniques will include dialogue with class members, discussion of assigned readings, individual activities, and cooperative learning.  Attendance is expected, and class discussion and participation will be considered essential.



Notice to Students with disabilities:  If you have a documented disability and wish to receive academic accommodations, please contact the Coordinator of the Office of Disability Services (581-6583) as soon as possible.




Course Activities



1.                  Quizzes.


Quizzes will be given covering each of the eight theories presented in this course.  Your grade for this course will be based on the best 6 of 8 quiz scores.  You may take any number of quizzes greater than 6 if you choose.  Your 6 highest scores will be counted for your grade.  Quizzes will consist of True-False and Multiple Choice items.

            Quizzes will be administered on three occasions during the semester.  See the Schedule for exact dates.  Each quiz will cover only one theory (i.e., separate quizzes will be offered for each theory).




2.                  Mock Staffing.


For the purpose of the mock staffing, students will be assigned to a group of 5 or 6 students each.  Each group will be presented with a client's case and the group will discuss the client's needs both with respect to assessment and treatment planning.  The goal of the group is to come up with questions to ask the client, interpretations gleaned from the assessment information, and possible treatment goals and interventions.

            As a member of a group, you will be assigned two theories from which you will base your input for your client's case.  You will be responsible for applying what you have learned about the theory of personality and theory of counseling relevant to each theory assigned to you.  I suggest that you pay attention to the "Psychological Disorders" section of the chapter covering your two assigned theories to help you develop questions and interpretations.

            For this project, you will be graded on your level of participation in the staffing.  Your input to the discussion should be in response to the following criteria:


1.      comments relating the theory to facts of the case (e.g., personality theory).

2.      comments detailing hypotheses about the client's behavior or personality -- hypotheses are often in the form a prediction about the client.

3.      comments reflecting insights into the client's interpersonal relationships (e.g., how the client’s relationship with others might be affecting present behaviors).

4.      comments reflecting insights into the relationship between the client and the counselor (e.g., how the counselor might interact with the client.

5.      comments addressing treatment possibilities (i.e., treatment goals and/or techniques).

6.      comments identifying limitations of the theory applied to the case (e.g., client attributes that might hinder counseling).





            Your grade for this course will be based on an accumulation of points you make on the course activities described above.  Your final grade will be based on the importance of the following:


                        1.  Quizzes                                           120 points  (20 points per quiz)

                        2.  Mock Staffing                                   15 points


            Grade assignments will be made according to the following point totals:


A:  121 - 135

B:  108 - 120

C:    94 - 109

D:  Below 94