INTEGRATIVE APPROACHES

CHAPTER 16. Integrative Approaches: Expressive Arts, Narrative, and Symbolism

For the last two decades, integrative approaches in counseling have been widely viewed as the combining of two or more theories of counseling to more effectively provide service to clients. While it is common practice for many counselors to branch out from a central theory, it is imperative to have a conceptual understanding of human nature, the role of the therapist, and the structure for the helping relationship. Having a personal theory of counseling is vital to being an effective therapist and is not based on theory alone but on how much of herself or himself the counselor is willing to integrate into the helping relationship. The integrative approach in counseling has been tarnished with terms such as eclectic, leading many counselors to the belief that integrative approaches in counseling are a hodgepodge of theories and interventions designed not to meet the clients' needs but to account for the counselor's lack of a theoretical foundation for counseling. For the purposes of this chapter, integrative approaches are considered as models and interventions that may be used from within any theoretical orientation to provide the client with greater therapeutic expression, awareness, and efficacy. In Chapter 16, a generalized overview of three integrative approaches to counseling – expressive arts, narrative, and symbolism – is presented.

: Integrative Approaches: Expressive Arts, Narrative, and Symbolism

Walter Breaux III

Having a personal theory of counseling is vital to being an effective counselor and is not based on theory alone but on how much of herself or himself the counselor is willing to integrate into the therapeutic milieu. For over 25 years, the concept of integrative approaches in counseling has been widely viewed as the combining of two or more theories of counseling to more effectively provide service to clients. Although it is common practice for many counselors to branch out from a central theory, it is imperative to have a conceptual understanding of human nature, the role of the counselor actualization, and the structure for the helping relationship.

Terms like eclectic suggest that integrative approaches in counseling are a hodgepodge of theories and interventions with little significance to therapeutic elements such as case conceptualization effectiveness and the clinical replication of successful intervention.

For the purposes of this chapter, integrative approaches are considered as models and interventions that may be used from within a theoretical orientation to provide the client with greater therapeutic expression, awareness, and efficacy. In this chapter, a generalized overview of three integrative approaches to counseling – expressive arts, narrative, and symbolic – is presented.

 
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