Relevant Merits of Theoretical Approaches to Counseling. Traditionally, people suffering from abnormalities in thought or behaviour, if extreme and regarded as mentally ill, were placed in asylums and later in psychiatric hospitals. Such patients are treated by psychiatrists using psychotropic drugs. The biochemical model of mental disorder has helped alleviate symptoms of conditions identified as schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, depression, panic attacks, anxiety and phobias. However, drug therapies almost always result in unwelcome side effects and are therefore optimal in the treatment of only the most intractable psychotic conditions. Moreover, the vast majority of people who are able to function in the everyday world at some level without hospitalization still need the help of psychotherapists or counsellors to overcome their perceived handicaps to leading a normal life. Often described as talking cures they require no biochemical treatment.
Counsellors and therapists need not be medically qualified. Instead, they are in the majority of instances, trained in psychology and go on to specialize in one or more approaches to the treatment of psychological dysfunction. The two words psychotherapy and counselling appear to be used together and at times interchangeably. Psychotherapy antedated counselling and draws upon medical and psychoanalytical roots whereas counselling is a much broader concept developed by psychologists and others from humanistic and existential backgrounds. A recent analysis of the relationship between counselling interventions and theory refers to more than 130 extant theories of counselling’(http://www.ericdigests.org/1992-3/theory.htm).
Most reviewers of the literature agree with three or four basic, yet overarching formulations as the main approaches to counselling and therapy such as Behavioural, Cognitive (usually in combination referred to as Cognitive-Behavioural), Psychodynamic and Humanistic therapies. .