Counseling Techniques

  • Stephen S. Elliott


In many respects the task of learning what to do when counseling is like learning to paint on canvas. Even when certain specific techniques are mastered, the task is not accomplished, for the focus must then turn to what it means to transcend the technique and develop the art. If this second step is not taken, the use of counseling techniques will be experienced as rigid and manipulative by the patient, and therapy will not necessarily be effective. The “cookbook” approach to counseling overlooks the unique features of the patient, the presenting problem, and the physician’s own interpersonal style or personality. Since research has not uncovered the effective match between these variables,1 the task of teaching technique is difficult at best. Counseling falls more into the arena of art than science; it is more than a collection of techniques or “how to” protocols, and the ambiguity will not disappear any time soon. Nevertheless, there are ways to proceed with some useful techniques and strategies that can be learned. Fortunately, the physician will not have to counsel by the “seat-of-thepants” or by proceeding solely on the basis of trial and error.


Family Therapy Secondary Gain Family System Theory Counseling Technique Cognitive Technique 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

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  • Stephen S. Elliott

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