You are here

Contemporary Theory and Practice in Counseling and Psychotherapy

Contemporary Theory and Practice in Counseling and Psychotherapy

Edited by:

May 2015 | 544 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

This comprehensive, topically arranged text provides a contemporary account of counseling theories as practiced by internationally acclaimed experts in the field. Each chapter covers the way mindfulness, strengths-based positive psychology, and the common factors model is integrated into the theory. A special emphasis on evidence-based practice helps readers prepare for their work in the field.

Key Features

  • The text focuses on how each theory presents a useful and effective basis for contemporary practice, providing students with the most up-to-date scholarship on current theories and how these theories guide the practice of today’s counselors and psychotherapists.
  • Chapters are written by internationally acclaimed experts offering a truly global and complete perspective of the field.
  • Discussion of the pros and cons of each theoretical approach allows students to explore all sides of an approach, offering an opportunity for balanced, critical analysis of the material. 
  • Brief therapies or “manualized” approaches, developed in response to the limits imposed by insurance companies on the number of reimbursable therapy sessions per client, are addressed, as many theoretical approaches offer strategies for providing these therapies.
  • Careful discussion in every chapter of the applicability of theories to a diverse client population allows readers to address the specific needs of a broader clientele while acknowledging gender, race, age, sexual orientation, religion, etc.
  • Integrated coverage of and a separate chapter on evidence-based practice introduce students to what is becoming the expected standard for effectively working with clients.
  • Lists of additional resources from expert contributors allow students to further explore the concepts presented.
Part I: Contemporary Theory In Its Historical and Empirical Context
Howard E. A. Tinsley, Suzanne H. Lease, Noelle S. Giffin Wiersma
Chapter 1: Introduction.


The Therapy Process

Research on Counseling Effectiveness

The Common Factors Model

Who Needs A Theory

Ethical and Legal Issues


Britt-Marie Schiller
Chapter 2: Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and the genesis of psychotherapy

Historical Background

Freud’s Basic Theoretical Constructs

Jung’s Basic Theoretical Constructs

Basic Personality Dynamics - Freud

Jung’s Psychology of Personality Development and Personality Types

Fundamental Principles of Treatment

Fundamental Principles of Contemporary Treatment

Other Resources


Everett L. Worthington Jr., Nathaniel G. Wade, William T. Hoyt
Chapter 3: Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology

Evidence-Based Practice in Psychology: What Psychotherapists Can Learn from Research on Treatment and Psychotherapist Responsiveness

An Evolution of Evidence-Based Practice

Current Thoughts about Integrating Common Factors and Specific Treatments

A Model of Treatment and Responsiveness to Treatment

Research on client characteristics: Expectations for psychotherapy.

Research on evidence-based relationship factors.

The Complex Interactions among These Factors

Status of the Field—What Is Now Needed?

Additional Materials

Websites listing EBPs:


Part II: Theories Emphasizing Client Upbringing And Family History
Jon Carlson, Patricia Robey, Martha Mason
Chapter 4: Alfred Adler and individual psychology


Alfred Adler

Basic Assumptions

Theory of Personality

Stages of Adlerian Counseling

Techniques to Encourage Reorientation

Extensions of the Theory

Applications of Adlerian Therapy

Limitations of Adlerian Counseling


Additional Resources


Anna L. Dickerman, Elizabeth L. Auchincloss
Chapter 5: Neo-Freudians and ego-analytic, object-relations, attachment, and brief psychoanalytic theory


Historical Origins of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Principles of Contemporary Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Contemporary Psychodynamic Approach to Understanding Psychopathology

Goals and Procedures of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Core Concepts in the Practice of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Limitations of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Research and Evidence-Basis in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Common Factors and Areas of Overlap

Overlap Between the Psychoanalytic Model and Cognitive Science

Cultural Factors in Psychodynamic Psychiatry

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy in Atypical Treatment Settings


Additional Materials


Part III: Theories Focusing On Client Actions
Joseph J. Pear, Heather D. Simister
Chapter 6: B. F. Skinner, Albert Bandura, and behavioral modification


Basic Principles of Behavior

Behavioral Techniques

Overview of Major Behavior Therapy Approaches

Special Behavior Therapy Techniques

Treatment Applications to Specific Disorders

Special Considerations in Diverse Populations


Additional Materials


Robert Wubbolding
Chapter 7: William Glasser and reality therapy

Overview of Reality Therapy

Choice Theory: Human Motivation and Personality

Reality Therapy: Applying Choice Theory

Choice Theory/Reality Therapy and Mindfulness Interface

Potential Criticisms Related to Reality Therapy

Research Support for Reality Therapy


Additional Resources


Sheila Crowell, Kendrick Rith
Chapter 8: Marsha Linehan and dialectical behavior therapy



Biosocial Theory

Assumptions of DBT

Functions and Modes of Treatment

Treatment Targets

Stages of Therapy

Dialectics and Dialectical Dilemmas

Mechanisms of Change

DBT and Mindfulness

Empirical Evidence for DBT

Common Factors in DBT

DBT and Positive Psychology


Additional Materials


Part IV: Theories Focusing On Client Thoughts
Catharine MacLaren, Kristene A. Doyle, Raymond DiGiuseppe
Chapter 9: Albert Ellis and rational-emotive behavior therapy


Core Theory of REBT

REBT Therapeutic Process

Research and Evidence-Basis in REBT

Common Factors and REBT

Cultural Factors in REBT

Specialized Applications of REBT


Brian Johnson
Chapter 10: Aaron Beck, Donald Meichenbaum and cognitive behavioral therapy


Origins and Development of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Core Theoretical Assumptions and Key Concepts of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Common Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

Empirical Support for CBT

Contemporary Applications


Additional Resources


Part V: Theories Focusing On Client Emotions
David Murphy, Catherine Hayes
Chapter 11: Carl Rogers and client-centered counseling


Core Theoretical Assumptions of Person-Centered Theory

Theory of Personality Development and Change

The Practice of Person-Centered Therapy

Empirical Evidence Evaluating Client-Centered Therapy

Extensions of Person-Centered Theory

Application of Person-Centered Theory to Common Factors, Positive Psychology, and Diversity


Additional Resources


Stephen Diamond
Chapter 12: Rollo May, Irvin Yalom and existential therapy


Core Philosophical and Theoretical Concepts

Existential Technique: To Do or to Be?

Psychiatric Diagnosis and Psychopharmacology: A Modern Existential Dilemma

Clinical Applications of Contemporary Existential Therapy

Empirical Support for Contemporary Existential Psychotherapy

Confronting Psychotherapy's Current Existential Crisis

Summary and Conclusion

Additional Materials


Sara Bridges
Chapter 13: Bruce Ecker, Laurel Hulley, and coherence therapy


Main Concepts and Methodology

Guiding Principles

Coherence Therapy Process and Effective Techniques

Mechanisms of Change

Empirical Evidence and Efficacy


Theoretical Extensions


Managed Care


Additional Resources


Scott Meier
Chapter 14: Michael White and narrative therapy


Theoretical Aspects of Narrative Approaches

Process and Technique in Narrative Approaches

Potential Outcomes in Narrative Approaches


Additional Resources


Part VI: Integration of Counseling and Psychotherapy Theory
Philip Brownell
Chapter 15: Contemporary Gestalt Therapy: An Early Case of Theoretical Integration come of age


The Early Integration of Classical Gestalt Therapy

Theoretical Core for Contemporary Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt’s Evidence Base

Gestalt Therapy and Contemporary Issues in Psychotherapy

Suggestions for Further Study


Jeff Harris
Chapter 16: John Norcross and integrative theories of counseling

Integrative Theories of Psychotherapy: The Core Theory

Techniques Advocated by Integrative Psychotherapy

Extensions of Integrative Psychotherapy

Applications of Integrative Psychotherapy


Additional Resources


Noelle Wiersma, Howard Tinsley, Suzanne Lease
Chapter 17: Developing your personal theoretical orientation


Instructor Teaching Site

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:

  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • A Respondus electronic test bank is available and can be used on PCs. The test bank contains multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter and provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding. Respondus is also compatible with many popular learning management systems so you can easily get your test questions into your online course.
  • Editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • Chapter summaries from the book emphasize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help with preparation for lectures and class discussions.
  • Additional resources from the book are included by chapter.
  • An Instructor’s Manual collates resources chapter-by-chapter for use in teaching your course.
Student Study Site

The open-access Student Study Site includes the following:

  • A scales and exercises page provides access to the scales, exercises and assessments from the book, which can be downloaded and edited in Microsoft® Word®.
  • Each chapter includes web resources covering important topics and designed to supplement key points within the text.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide your interpretation.
  • Additional resources from the book are included by chapter-by-chapter.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 9

For instructors

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781452286518

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.

SAGE Knowledge brings together high-quality content from across our imprints, including CQ Press and Corwin titles.