Theoretical Orientation

As a counselor, how do you develop a theoretical orientation? Do you just wake up one morning and—voila—you have your theoretical orientation?

Your theoretical orientation will not magically come to you in a dream or vision. In fact, developing a theoretical orientation is a process that begins when you take your first counseling theories course and continues throughout your master’s program, your field experience, and beyond. As you progress through your studies, you will likely find that you are continually developing a clearer picture of your theoretical orientation. Over the years following your master’s degree, your orientation will begin to solidify as you work and learn from observing other counselors. In truth, the process probably never ends because you will always learn about new theories, work with new clients, and develop a deeper understanding of yourself.

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For this Discussion, you listen to the personal stories of how two distinguished counselor educators, Dr. John Marszalek and Dr. Matthew Buckley, developed their own theoretical orientations. Read your Instructor’s post regarding his or her theoretical orientation in this week’s Discussion Board.

Then, reflect upon the various factors that can influence the development of a counselor’s theoretical orientation. What factors might be influencing your own development process?

Next, you have the opportunity to discuss how you see that two theories may integrate into an effective strategy for you as a future counselor. You may also decide that a single theory feels like it will be the best fit for your future career at this point in your training. Whether you choose to integrate two theories or remain a purist, thoughtfully and thoroughly back up your current position.