Counselling and psychotherapy orientations in Australia: Responses from 24 Australian psychotherapists

Richard E. Hicks, Victoria Alexander, Clive Martin Jones

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Counsellors and psychologists worldwide use different theoretical approaches at least sometimes in conjunction. The theoretical orientation of Australian practising psychologists and psychotherapists appears to be following an international trend that emphasises eclectic or integrative use of the orientations. The aim of the current study of 24 experienced counsellors and psychotherapists in Australia was to identify dominant theoretical orientations used in assisting clients and to compare these orientations with the trend towards integration of theories in practice. We were also interested in which of the major theories were most used in practice by these professionals and what strategies or skills they considered most important. Twenty-four counsellors and psychotherapists thus responded to a series of online survey questions about their personal approaches, resources and practices. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) was the most common of all therapies cited, but person-centred approaches were also popular. However, 21 of the 24 psychotherapists adopted an eclectic or integrative approach (using three or more approaches in their practice). This current finding is consistent with some earlier Australian research, though the eclectic trend may be strengthening. This study also provides insight into the key strategies that the 24 psychotherapists indicate as making a difference for clients, and outlines main reasons why they joined the profession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1146-1153
Number of pages8
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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