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Theories of Counseling and Techniques as a School Counselor

Learning institutions incorporate programs of counseling that aid the learners’ progress. The programs exhibit counseling theories and techniques as a roadmap for inexperienced school counselors. Various counselors rely on particular theories while providing direction and advancing their effectiveness with clients (Dollarhide & Lemberger-Truelove, 2019). They facilitate the integration of both self and external knowledge. The study explores diverse theories applicable to school counselors in-depth.

As a school counselor, the preference is for learners in the grade level of high school from 9th to 12th grade as the level that exposes them to their future aspirations and careers. The primary population is Asians and Hispanics, considering my location in the Central Valley of Northern California. As a Latina working in education as a first-generation student, counseling service delivery to the mentioned population is achievable. My diverse experiences in various types of groups, schools, private institutions, and therapies will suffice the initiative for the population and grade level.

Some Asian and Hispanic high school students have special needs with exclusive underrepresentation since their parents are field or cannery workers who do not speak English and can advocate for them. The population comprises Hispanic non-English-speaking families, thereby compromising their education. Also, they experience low incomes with first-generation college students, a challenge towards equitable counseling service delivery.

Existential Therapy

Irvin Yalom, Rollo May, and Viktor Frankl are prominent therapists. The theory’s purpose is to enable students to recognize ways they do not live fully authentic lives while making choices that will foster their capability of being. The theory’s selection emphasizes helping students take responsibility and live dependable lives while overcoming anxieties. In a diverse view, particular cultures fail to embrace the idea that individuals possess absolute freedom, thereby dramatically conflicting with existential ideology. In a school counseling situation, the theory will encourage a student who feels lost without a sense of direction in their life.

Adlerian Therapy

The prominent therapists include James Robert Bitter, John D. Carlson, and Alfred Adler. The theory’s fundamental goal is to help students identify and change their mistaken beliefs about life, other people, and self while fully participating in a social world (Adler, 2019). It is significant in school counseling, enabling therapists to express individual trends in their lives. They will provide suggestions that improve clients’ feelings and behavior. The choice of the theory depends on its flexibility and quick establishment of a solid therapeutic alliance, goal alignment, and rapid assessment and treatment application. Multicultural issues that hinder the theory’s use encircle birth order based on a traditional western nuclear family that may exclude them and makes them feel wrong about their upbringing. In a school counseling situation, it would encourage a student who experiences challenges in joining college by showing them positive strengths and attributes.

Reality Therapy

Prominent therapists in this theory include Robert E. Wubbolding and William Glasser. Its primary purpose is to help students connect or reconnect with individuals of their choice to incorporate into their quality world. It has a goal of helping them to fulfill their needs, including fun, independence, or achievement. The choice of this theory relies on its ability to promote a positive relationship. It also encourages the voice of a student in the process of decision-making. The approach integrates multicultural issues, including its limited concentration on helping learners handle homophobia, sexism, and racism concerns (Proctor & Rivera, 2021). A school counseling situation will encourage the design of a lesson that enables students to select an objective and orient them on how to achieve it successfully.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Prominent therapists include Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis. The theory’s goal is to be realistic and adaptive, eliminating natural stressors likely encountered by students. The theory selection depends on its ability to provide relief by reducing students’ use of negative thoughts. It will help students develop strategies for regulating their emotions, solving problems, and establishing helpful patterns of thought and behavior. Issues including ambivalent attitudes of patients and staff and limited resources hinder the theory’s success. In an example of school counseling, I would ask questions to students, listen carefully to their responses, and guide them to the point where they understand their purpose.

Narrative Therapy (not to use in school counseling)

Whereas the theory separates an individual from their problem by relying on their skills, it lacks absolute truths in life and is not suitable for everyone (Ratts & Greenleaf, 2018). An individual’s unique needs are different from another who may not be ready for narrative therapy if trauma limits their language, intellectual and cognitive skills. The theory fosters culturally sensitive counseling that disorients learners from their goals. For instance, it exhibits only diverse interpretations of reality whereby people generate meanings via narratives. It limits an individual’s focus on self with no one knowable self but existing several selves. Based on the theory, an individual is never the problem, a concept that limits counseling attention to learners’ personalities yet is vital.

In conclusion, school counselors use the theories mentioned above and counseling techniques to understand the dynamics of human behavior while selecting therapeutic procedures that align with particular situations and clients. Also, the theories aid counselors’ ability to develop the psychological approach necessary for responding to complicated feelings among learners in school.


Adler, A. (2019). Adlerian Theory. Contemporary Case Studies in School Counseling, 45.

Dollarhide, C. T., & Lemberger-Truelove, M. E. (Eds.). (2019). Theories of school counseling for the 21st century. Oxford University Press.

Proctor, S. L., & Rivera, D. P. (Eds.). (2021). Critical Theories for School Psychology and Counseling: A Foundation for Equity and Inclusion in School-based Practice. Routledge.

Ratts, M. J., & Greenleaf, A. T. (2018). Counselor–advocate–scholar model: Changing the dominant discourse in counseling. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development46(2), 78-9


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