Organized around the latest CACREP standards, Counseling Theory: Guiding Reflective Practice, by Richard D. Parsons and Naijian Zhang, presents theory as an essential component to both counselor identity formation and professional practice. Drawing on the contributions of current practitioners, the text uses both classical and cutting-edge theoretical models of change as lenses for processing client information and developing case conceptualizations and intervention plans. Each chapter provides a snapshot of a particular theory/approach and the major thinkers associated with each theory as well as case illustrations and guided practice exercises to help readers internalize the content presented and apply it to their own development as counselors.


  • The text is organized around and adheres to the new CACREP standards of developing professional identity.
  • Early chapters cover understanding the nature of theory and multicultural considerations, while Section II covers all major theoretical approaches (including Freud and Psychoanalysis, Adler, Rogers, Existentialism, Gestalt, Cognitive Behavioral, Reality, Family, Feminist, and postmodern theories). A final section discusses integration of theory and places it into a global perspective.
  • A fully developed case illustration (The Case of Y-Chun) is presented early in the text. Each contributing author then employs his/her theory for case conceptualization and treatment planning as a model for readers. Additional case illustrations throughout the text address specific concepts and constructs found within each theory and facilitate the reader’s application of theory to practice.
  • Guided practice exercises in every chapter, as well as verbatim client/therapist dialogues throughout the text, help students internalize and grow their sense of counselor identity and begin the process of translating theory into practice.
  • Video vignettes on the accompanying website illustrate actual practice and serve as prompts for classroom discussion.

For Instructors Teaching a Single Course

The Series features eleven texts that address each of the foundational skill areas necessary for professional identity development. In each text, you'll find:

  • An emphasis on counseling as a reflective practice in both course progression and professional settings
  • A focus on applying theory to practice
  • An integration of CACREP Standards
  • A diverse and respected group of authors, most of whom are practitioners and educators
  • Instructor resources (password protected) and student resources (open access) that provide robust pedagogical support

For Curriculum Developers

  • A common set of features span all texts in the Series, offering instructors and students a consistent approach to foundational content. Features include:
  • The fostering of the student's professional identity using the ethical guidelines and CACREP standards that guide the counseling profession
  • A blend of contemporary theory with current research and empirical support
  • Case illustrations and guided practice exercises to help students translate theory and research into professional decision making and application
  • An assimilation of concepts and constructs that move students to higher levels of cognitive and affective competence
  • An emphasis on the need for and means of demonstrating accountability
  • Instructor (password protected) and student resources (open access) that provide robust pedagogical support