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Volume :13 Issue : 49 1998      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Effectiveness of Counseling

Auther : Thomas M. Skovholt & David A. Rivers & Odah O. Al-Rwaie

This article discusses the effectiveness of counseling based on studies and research findings in the United States. To provide context for the discussion and to help demonstrate the need for this effectiveness study, this study begins by defining counseling, briefly describing the growth and development of counseling in the United States, and briefly discussing counseling in a Gulf State, namely Kuwait. It then reviews the literature to address three questions regarding the effectiveness of counseling: (1) how is ``effective defined? (2) is counseling effective? and (3) if so, what makes it effective?

The article defines ``effective as positive change in the client. From the literature, it is clear that counseling is effective and that various common factors across theoretical approaches account for the positive outcomes. These factors are placed into three categories: (1) counselor factors, (2) client factors, and (3) counseling process factors, and described briefly. All of these factors interact to make counseling effective.

Several decades ago, Eysenck (1952) concluded, based on his study of 8,000 clients, that counseling is ineffective and useless. This finding generated much controversy and challenged the counseling profession to demonstrate that it provides a valuable service. Since then, a considerable amount of research has been conducted on the effectiveness of counseling (e.g., Albert, 1997; Lambert & Bergin, 1994; Sexton & Whiston, 1991). This study reviews the American literature on the issue of whether counseling is effective and, if so, what makes it work. First, however, to provide context for the discussion of effectiveness and to help demonstrate the need for this effectiveness study, this study defines counseling, briefly describes the growth and development of counseling in the United States, and briefly discusses counseling in a Gulf state.

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