Evolutionary Psychological Science

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 472–486 | Cite as

Bioecological Counseling

  • George B. RichardsonEmail author
  • Blair S. Hanson-Cook
  • Aurelio José Figueredo
Theoretical Article


During the past 20 years, fields such as ethology, behavioral ecology, and evolutionary psychology have drawn upon life history theory to make important advances in our understanding of the ecology of human behavior, building extensively upon the earlier work of Bronfenbrenner and others. In this article, we (a) elaborate on an alternative to the traditional mental health model that is emerging from research informed by life history theory, (b) use a recent extension of Bronfenbrenner’s (2005) bioecological model to integrate applications of life history theory to humans into counseling and psychotherapy, (c) coin the term Bioecological Counseling to denote the resulting framework and chart out how it may be applied in practice at various levels (e.g., via recovery management), and then (d) identify implications for research. We hope this article stimulates interest in bioecological counseling as well as draws attention to the broader utility of evolutionary theory for counseling and psychotherapy.


Life history theory Ecological systems theory Bioecological systems theory Counseling 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • George B. Richardson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Blair S. Hanson-Cook
    • 1
  • Aurelio José Figueredo
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Human Services, College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, 460R Teachers-Dyer ComplexUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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