7Theories of CounselingIf You Don’t Have a Map You Might Get Lost

Nancy L. Murdock and Chia-Chih D. C. Wang

The challenge in teaching counseling theory is to show students how to use it. Kurt Lewin (1951) is reported to have said, “There is nothing so practical as a good theory” (p. 169), but in our observation, many students are more apt to follow the philosophy expressed by Mark Twain: “How empty is theory in the presence of fact” (Think Exist, 1999, Mark Twain section, p. 1). Our philosophy is that we truly learn the value of theory when we know how to apply theory to understand client presentations.

Yet no one theory is right for all students, nor is there one “correct” theory (Wampold, 2001). Surveys of professionals in the field indicate ...

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