Meaning of counseling
- Counseling is a process which takes place on one-to-one relationship between an individual overwhelmed by problems which he/she cannot cope with alone and a professional worker whose training and experience have qualified him/her to help others reach solutions to various types of personal difficulties (Ilahn and Machean, 1955)
- It is a helping process that uses the safety engender by a special kind of relationship to help the individual to get access to a greater part of their personal resources as a means of responding to the challenges in life. It uses special skills and techniques in threat relationships to help people become more competent, more contented and more creative. It does not deal with the mentally ill but with normal individuals facing all the difficulties involved in domestic, work oriented and social life. It is about helping people grow in emotional fitness and health (Mc Guiness , 1998)
- Inskipp and John in 1984 defines counseling as away of relating and responding to another person so that the other person is helped to explore his thoughts, feelings and behavior to reach a clear self understanding and to find and use his strengths and cope more effectively in life by making appropriate decisions or ,taking relevant action.
- The British Association of Counselors (BAC) (1990) defined counseling as the skilled and principled use of relationships which develop self knowledge and acceptance, and growth of personal resources.
- Counselling is not a process of giving advice, but it is a process of helping your patient who is genuinely in need.
- It aims to help an individual to help himself to overcome his problem.
The overall aim of counseling is to live more fully satisfying lives. It may be concerned with:
- Addressing and resolving specific problems,
- coping with crisis through feelings and inner conflicts,
- decision making, and
- Improving the relationship with other people.
As a profession, counseling focuses on helping ‘normal’ people with personal, family, educational and career issues through individual, couples, family, or group therapy.
Counseling therefore is that interaction between two individuals called counselor and counselee.
The counselor here is the one who has attained professional training and experience in the relevant area.
The counselee – is an individual who is overwhelmed with problems which s/he cannot solve
Counseling and other closely related terms
Guidance is a continuous process concerned with determining the end and providing for the developmental needs of other people. Guidance is a broad area of educational activities which are aimed at assisting individuals to make and carry out adequate plans and achieving them. It helps in adjustments in life (Petterson , 1971)
Guidance and counseling are similar in that they both involve a process and they are both helping in nature.
However, there are distinct differences between the two that may be summarized as shown in the table hereunder:-
Psychotherapy and counseling
Psychotherapy is a long term process to assist with serious psychological problems.
Psychotherapy and counseling are similar in that they both involve a process and are psychological in nature.
However, they are different in the following ways;-
Social work and counseling
Social work is a profession which promotes social change, problem solving in human relationship and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well being. Utilizing theories of human behavior and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work.
Social workers and counselors work towards helping individuals develop, adjust to a change in life circumstances, or find new opportunities and resources.
The key difference is that while people come for counseling through choice, those using social work services are often compelled by societal or legal mandates to address a particular area of their lives, or are driven to ask for help by poverty or some other type o disadvantage. The dimension therefore that clearly differentiates counseling from social work is context.
Another difference is that counselors do not have to engage with service delivery directly with their clients’ social environments.
Counselors can offer confidentiality in a distinctive way and can operate in neatly contracted hourly sessions within discrete agencies. Confidentiality is not necessarily offered in social work and there are no contracted sessions.
What counseling is not
Counseling is not: –
- Information giving
- Advice giving
- A conversation or a good chat
- Exchange of opinions
- An interview
Goals of Counseling:
- listening keenly to the client is the main goal.
- Identify the need of the client. E.g., parents need counseling for their children’s behavior problems.
- To make the patient to ventilate his emotions properly and help him to be aware of his own emotions and encourage him to be independent.
- Main problem should be focused so that the sub-problems should be identified by the patient himself.
- Make the patient to accept himself with his problem and help him to adjust with it till it gets over.
- To focus on his strengths by studying the case and produce positive attitude in him and ultimately help him to reduce his negativity.
Importance of counseling
- Counseling enhances greater self awareness of the individual. According to Blocher (1996) counseling helps an individual become aware of him/herself and the way he/she is reacting to the behavioral influences of his environment. He/she is able to establish personal meaning to the behavior and to develop, clarify a set of goals and values for the future behavior.
- Counseling enables the individual meet vocational and personal problems of adjustments to their life. People are constantly facing adjustment problems brought about by the rapid social change caused by industrialization and urbanization. Change is being required in all life aspects – educational, vocational, marital, parental, personal and so on. These changes at times bring them heavy demands causing tension and conflicts to the individual.
- Counseling assists individuals to enhance their personal, social, emotional and intellectual development thereby making themselves sufficient and self directed.
- Counseling improves personal effectiveness where the individual is able to define and solve problems. He/she attains originality and creativity in his/her thinking. An effective person is also able to control impulses and respond appropriately to frustrations, hostility and ambiguity and not commit him/herself to projects, to invest and time, to take appropriate economic, psychological and physical risks.
- Counseling improves decision making thus fostering personal growth. Counseling stimulates the individual to evaluate, make, accept, and act upon his/her choice. Vague goals are clarified and their implications appreciated. Clients are able therefore to make informed and responsible decisions.
- Counseling assists in modification of behaviorg. removal of undesirable behavior or action. Counseling also assists in the reduction of irritating symptoms enabling individuals to attain satisfaction and effectiveness.
- Counseling is also therapeutic in nature. The counselor provides a suitable environment that enables and allows for purging of emotions by the counselee. These are emotions that have been suppressed for a long time and in most cases have had a bearing on present non effective behavior. Once these are released, the counselee feels relieved, free and better able to control their lives.
Branches of counseling form
This counseling deal with the individual who seeks to be helped to deal with his/her issues. These range from relationship problems, domestic or work related problems.
Family group counseling
Family group counseling reaches out to families of counselees with behavioral problems. They provide social services and assistance to improve the social psychological functioning of families and to maximize their well-being.
This counseling deals with families that are in problems. It is concerned with the family system and changes that can be made in that system. The client is the family. The goal is to create a new way of living – express emotion, healthy family relations and responding (not reacting) to the system.
Child, family, and school counselors/social workers
This counseling provides social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the well-being of families and the cadmic functioning of children.
In schools counselors often serve as the link between students’ families and the school, working with parents, guardians, teachers, and other school officials to ensure students reach their academic and personal potential. They also address problems such as misbehavior, truancy, and teenage pregnancy and advise teachers on how to cope with difficult students.
Counseling the delinquent (Rehabilitation Counseling)
Delinquency is a symptom of emotional immaturity leading to socially unacceptable or reprehensible behavior of youth e.g. petty offences, gangstarism, horror, crime, drug addiction and other antisocial behavior.
It consists of three areas; pre-marital, better marital harmony and to eliminate or forestall a marriage from breakup. The client is the marriage relationship. Marriage counseling is usually a crisis intervention. Preventive aspect is dealt with first then intervention. Crisis is mainly caused by intrusion of third party casing emotional turmoil, change of family structure and illness in the family among others.
This counseling is concerned with empowering the individual to face the challenges of transition in life situations. The challenges have been brought by the impact of education, wide and attractive career and employment choices, affirmative action policies and self sufficiency in economic empowerment. The counselor must be creative, innovative and ingenious.
Counseling for weaker and less privileged sections of the society
This counseling is concerned with the social economically weaker sections such as the street children and families and those living in the slums. These are people with serious feelings of inferiority that contribute to a dented self image. Special attention and care is needed. The relationship must be mutually responsible with good communication and establish a dynamic emotional bond and sustain it.
Counseling for addictions
This counseling deals with individuals with substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. Such services include individual and group therapy, outreach, crisis intervention, social rehabilitation and teaching skills needed for everyday living. They also may help plan for supportive services to ease clients’ return to the community. Substance abuse counselors are likely to work in hospitals, substance abuse treatment centres, individual and family services agencies, or local governments.
Medical and public health counseling
This is counseling that provides psychosocial support to people, families or vulnerable diseases they can cope with chronic acute terminal illness such as diabetes,
Counseling at the work place
This is counseling for common problems as they occur at the workplace. Such problems include performance related problems, relationship problems, career problems, stress and anxiety, redundancy and retirement, organization change, and so on.
FORMS OF COUNSELING
Person-centred (general) counselling
This broad term covers most one-to-one meetings with a counsellor. Change comes from giving the person space to talk, often in weekly hour-long sessions that provide a structure and clear boundaries. People are assisted to reflect on their situation and find their own answers from the resources they have. This approach is good for the issues of life (debt, divorce, bereavement) and for general distress. There’s less evidence it works in mental illness, but it can be helpful if the person is well-motivated.
Faith can be one such resource to draw on. Christian counsellors use these skills, but typically supplement this with faith-based contributions, prayer and goals. Biblical counselling explicitly emphasises the role of scripture and biblical world-view in personal transformation.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
The way we behave and think affects our moods. Changing these things can improve how we feel. CBT is good for everyday anxiety and depression, and can be adapted for specific areas of anxiety such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and eating disorders. CBT therapists are quite active in the sessions, almost like a personal trainer in a gym. So-called ‘third wave’ CBT also brings in mindfulness as a skill to help with recurrent intrusive thoughts.
Here the emphasis is on understanding how a person’s upbringing has contributed to their unconscious thoughts and perceptions – and how these affect current behaviours and mental health. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy and Jungian therapy are related terms. They bring about change by helping process the defence mechanisms we use to avoid difficult and disabling emotions.
Other types of therapy
Some therapies are fusions of two of the above types. Cognitive analytical therapy is good for complex and deep-seated depression. Dialectical behavioural therapy and mentalisation-based therapy are good for personality disorders. There are many other forms too, such as art therapy, family therapy, group therapy and couples therapy.
Professional counseling can take the form of:
- Individual counseling is the most common type of counseling that focuses on the growth and mental health of an individual.
- Couples or marriage counseling focuses on assisting couples in overcoming conflict and working towards a stronger relationship.
- Family counseling involves the different familial dynamics and how they affect the family structure.
- Group counseling is the use of group interaction to facilitate growth.
PRINCIPLES OF COUNSELING
- Principle of acceptance — this principle state that the counselor accepts the patient with his physical, psychological, social, economical and cultural conditions.
- Principle of communication—communication should be verbal as well as non-verbal and should be skilful.
- Principle of empathy—instead of showing sympathy put yourself in patients shoes and then give reflections accordingly (Empathy is ability to identify with a person.)
- Principle of non-judge (Unconditional positive Regard (UPR))—mental attitude-do not criticize or comment negatively regarding patient’s complaints.
- Principle of confidentiality —always keeps the patient’s name, and the problem strictly secret and assure the patient about the same.
- Principle of individuality —treat each and every patient as unique and respect his problem as well.
- Principles of non-emotional involvement—not getting emotionally involved with the patient and avoid getting carried away with his feelings.
Listening skills: Listen attentively to the client in an attempt to understand both the content of their problem, as they see it, and the emotions they are experiencing related to the problem. Do not make interpretations of the client’s problems or offer any premature suggestions as to how to deal with, or solve the issues presented. Listen and try to understand the concerns being presented. Most people want and need to be heard and understood, not advised.
Resistance: Changing human behavior is not usually a linear, direct, and logical process. It is very emotional and many habits of behavior and thought that are dysfunctional are difficult to break. People invest a sense of security in familiar behavior, even some behavior that causes them pain. Changing this is often a difficult and tangential process. Many threads of behavior are tied to others and when one thing is changed a new balance must be established, otherwise people couldn’t function. This means people change at different rates depending on how well they can tolerate the imbalance that comes from change. So, when people resist certain changes that one hopes will occur in therapy it is important that the therapist not take this personally and recognize the stressful nature of the process for the client. Some resistance to therapeutic change is quite natural.
Respect: No matter how peculiar, strange, disturbed, weird, or utterly different from you that the client is, they must be treated with respect! Without this basic element successful therapy is impossible. You do not have to like the client, or their values, or their behavior, but you must put your personal feelings aside and treat them with respect. In some institutional settings you made observe some slippage in this principal among staff which is both inadequately trained and overstressed and overworked, but you must try to keep this principal in mind at all times in you want to be an effective counselor or therapist.
Empathy and Positive Regard: Based in the writings of Carl Rogers, these two principles go along with respect and effective listening skills. Empathy requires you to listen and understand the feelings and perspective of the other person (in this case your client) and positive regard is an aspect of respect. While Rogers calls this “unconditional positive regard” it may be a bit too much to ask that it be “unconditional.” Treating the client with respect should be sufficient.
Clarification, confrontation, interpretation: These are techniques of therapeutic intervention that are more advanced, although clarification is useful even at a basic level. Clarification is an attempt by the therapist to restate what the client is either saying or feeling, so the client may learn something or understand the issue better. Confrontation and interpretation are more advanced principles and we won’t go into them except to mention their existence.
Transference and Counter-transference: This is a process wherein the client feels things and has perceptions of the therapist that rightly belong to other people in the client’s life, either past or present. It is a process somewhat related to projection. Understanding transference reactions can help the client gain understanding of important aspects of their emotional life. Counter-transference refers to the emotional and perceptional reactions the therapist has towards the client that rightly belong to other significant people in the therapists life. It is important for the therapist to understand and manage their counter transference
COUNSELOR – COUNSELEE RELATIONSHIP
The nature of the counselor – counselee relationship determines the success of the counseling interviewee. An effective relationship is therapeutic and leads to the counselee resolution of problems.
Characteristics of an effective relationship
- Permissiveness, kindness and warmth – the counselor need to have a lot of tolerance and indulgence with the client. As a counselor be open and accept what the client says without judging it as necessarily right or wrong.
- Unconditional acceptance/ Unconditional positive regard of the client – the counselor should not prescribe or demand compliance of the client to his expectations as a condition to accepting the client.
- Genuineness – This is the degree to which the counselor being freely and deeply him/herself. It is also the ability to relate with the client in a sincere and undefensive manner. The counselor’s genuineness encourages and enhances counselee’s self disclosure.
- Expertness and competence. This is perceived from his level of training and experience from his language and from his verbal and non-verbal behavior. The counselor’s language needs to show relevance, concreteness and confidence. His interrelations also need to be relevant to the issue at hand. Are the questions provoking, direct and relevant?
- Counselor’s attractiveness – This refers to the counselor’s friendliness, likeability and similarity to the client. Maintaining an open posture, smiling and head nodding are some non verbal behaviors that contribute to attractiveness similar to those being shared by the client enhance the attractiveness.
- Counselor’s trustworthiness. This is the client’s perception and belief the counselor will not mislead or injure him in any way.
‘Do’s and ‘Don’ts to be followed in effective counselor- counselee relationship:
- Develop good relationship with counselee.
- Develop mutual understanding, respect for counselee.
- Be patient.
- Listen to the grievances carefully.
- Develop cooperative attitude.
- Be simple and have sympathy with the counselee.
- Do make attempts to know the background of worries, threats, anxiety etc.
- Be available to help the counselee.
- Be friendly with counselee and be frank.
The counselor should abstain from or try to avoid the following:
- Should not develop conflict with counselee.
- Do not have any vested interest in counseling.
- Do not be angry with the counselee.
- Don’t resist.
- Avoid being biased, be impartial.
- Don’t exploit the counselee for self interest.
- Do not use pressure tactics
Emergence of counseling psychology
Counseling in some way or another has been used by different people since the beginning of mankind- by parents, teachers, friends, elders and so on (Fuster 2005). In the international scene counseling before 1990 was in the form of advice or information giving. The industrial revolutions of the mid 1800 spurred the development of counseling in the United States of America to improve those affected.
In early 1900, the helping process was dominated by Freud’s psychoanalytic theory. Jesse N. Davis was the first to set a systematic guidance programs in the public schools (Aubrey 1977). Frank Parons founded Boston’s vocational bureau and worked with young people on career choice and decisions. This institutionalized vocation guidance. Clifford Beers advocated better facilities and reform in the treatment of the mentally ill. The 1910’s saw the founding of the National Vocational Guidance Association, he passing of the Smith Hughes Act and the development of psychological instruments such as army alpha beta intelligence tests. Regular bulletins were published by the NVGA and funding for public schools in support of vocational education was given.
The 1920’s gave exclusive emphasis of vocational guidance in education courses for counselors. Counselors were certified in Boston and New York and standards developed for preparation and evolution of occupational materials. Publication of new psychological instruments was accomplished as well as the establishment of the first marriage and family-counseling center in New York by Abraham and Hannah Stone.
The great depression of the late 1930’s influenced the researchers and practitioners to emphasize helping and counseling methods related to employment. Counseling and guidance was incorporated into the school curriculum as a subject at the proposal of Brewer in 1932. the US Employment service was also established.
In the 1940’s Carl Rogers challenged the Freudian psychoanalysis and Williamson’s counselor centered approach. He emphasized on the client and the nondirective approach. The US government realized the need for counselors and psychologists to help in selection and training of specialists for the military, after the advent of world War 2.
The 1950’s have been singled out for the most profound impact on counselors (Aubrey 1977). The American Personnel and Guidance Association an Division of counseling and psychology of the American Personnel Association were established. The National Defense Education Act was passed promoting and funding development of counseling. New theories also emerged such as behavioral theories, cognitive theories and transitional analysis.
In the 1960’s theories on humanistic counseling by Abraham Maslow among others emerged an emphasis was given to behavioral counseling. Sound code for counselors was published by APGA in 1961. The government funded the establishment of counseling and personnel clearing house in the University of Michigan and sponsored conferences in counseling.
After the 1970’s counseling diversified into other settings such as the mental health centers and community agencies. Counselor education programs increased and new concepts of counseling developed. Helping skills were developed. Counselors wee given state licenses through the APGA and educational standard s for masters degree and Doctoral in counseling were set.
In Kenya, the traditional culture and structures in place ensured that guidance and counseling took place throughout the life of a person. This done thorough song, dance, games and co-education. Advisory councils, who represented the community at large offered education, guidance and counseling in a formal way during the rites of passages from one stage in life to another. At circumcision, counseling was done through the sponsor where the initiate opened up to the sponser before the rite so that if he or she has broken any of the prohibitions of the Kikuyu social code the service of a family purifier would be sought Kenyatta (1978).
African people were also ‘notoriously’ religious. Everything they did was ritualized and a prayer offered for it either as an individual or a community. Prayer was an act of pouring out the soul of the individual community. Prayers help remove personal and communal anxieties, fears, frustrations and worries. The medicine man acted not only as a doctor but also as a listener to people’s troubles of all kinds and as their counselor or advisor (Mbiti 1991).
In Kenya, development of formal counseling started in the 1970’s and early 1980’s when the Ministry of Education realized the need for teachers to have some counseling skills to assist their students go through the developmental stages in life. It was then that the unit of guidance and counseling was introduced into the schools’ training curriculum. The Ministry of Education also gave the definition of guidance in 1971.
Counseling was however not taken seriously until in the 1980’s when the reality of HIV/\AIDS pandemic hit Kenya. It is only then that the various institutions such as the church and Health providers realized the need to counsel their members on the impact of the pandemic to the affected and infected. Counseling was introduced as a unit in the training programs for religious clergy and hospital staff. Voluntary counseling and testing centers for HIV were introduced in most health institutions. The Government of Kenya was also actively involved in activities aimed at curbing the pandemic. This was direct interventions being funded by the government, counseling continues to be part of these interventions.
The 1998 incident of the bomb blast that targeted the US Embassy and saw death of thousands of people in and around the affected buildings was a wakeup call for Kenya in as far as disaster management is concerned. The need for counseling skills in the area of debriefing and trauma counseling was greatly felt. This made people start to appreciate the services provided by the counseling institution.
The need to have properly trained counselors from all walks was felt and led to the inception of the Kenya Association of Professional counselors in 1991, whose aim is the provision of training information research and membership activities in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Kenya counseling association was also formed in the 1990’s as a professional body, for counselors in Kenya. It has provided the code of ethics within which counselors in Kenya operate. It has been involved in the development of a core curriculum for counseling training and provides a network where counselors share experiences. In 2007 the psychologists and counselors bill was passed in parliament and this set the stage for its final enactment as an Act of Parliament. This was a major milestone in the development of counseling in Kenya.
FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO NEED FOR COUNSLEING
- To be very dynamic in order to cope and fit. This bound to cause adjustment problems both in the domestic, social and workplace circles.
- Social and vocational mobility due to industrialization. This means that there is more movement among people both locally and internationally in search education and work. There is need adjust to the different culture, languages and people’s was of doing things. This causes anxiety, stresses and other individual problems that require assistance in resolving.
- Economic changes and challenges also contribute to need for counseling. Economic development has led to wide range of occupations to choose from. These are highly dynamic. There is also change unemployment patterns and trends, as well as in industrialization and automating. This leads to confusion in the individual about to the job market, and also the one willing to sustain or advance in his current job.
Assistance is needed to make appropriate choice.
- The emergence of human rights movement has emphasized on the concern for an individual’s freedom, rights, dignity and worth as a human being. The highly traditional an conventional lifestyle where the social aspect was emphasized and people assisted and shared each others’ problems has been replaced by the modern way of doing things.
- This liberalization and democracy has left the individual with more anxiety and need for counseling where they can be listened to and offered some form of support as they sort out their problems.
- The need to be mentally healthy is also a factor that contributes to need for counseling. Mental health is not just absence of disease. According to Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow a mentally healthy person has a positive self concept and is motivated to strive for self actualization. Mental health is mandatory is order to able to respond constructively to stress and change. As people become more informed about integrated care for the body, mind and spirit and how each of these parts affects their total health, the more they fell the need for mental health counseling.
- Assessment of client’s problems
- Explore client’s thoughts, emotions and defenses regarding drug use
- Helping client get a perspective about his drug use and its consequences in a protected environment
- Develop individualized treatment plan
Test your understanding
- Define counseling
- How similar or different is counseling from what you expected? Expect your answer fully.
- What is your on the role of giving advice to the client?
- Because I see the counseling process is helping the client I would freely give advice if I thought this is what the client wanted.
- I would rarely, if ever give advice, for even if advice was good, it would tend to make the client dependant on me.
- If I did not give advice I would not feel though I was helping the client.
- I think I would tend to give advice to client when I client when I has strong preference for a direction I hoped he or she should choose.
- All of us need guidance but not all of us need counseling. Do you agree with this statement.
- Guidance can lead to counseling. Discuss.
- Counseling and psychotherapy are terms that are often confused to mean the same thing. What are the similarities and differences of the two?
- List and discuss the principles of counseling.
- Mr. Kamau is a parent in Maji Mazuri High school. His son has dropped in performance and the class teacher says that his concentration in class has also dropped. She recommends counseling for him. Mr. Kamau on the other hand feels that counseling is a waste of time and resources. What would you advice be to Mr. Kamau?
- How many branches are there in counseling? Discuss any two of them.
- A teacher informs as you that one of her students. Mary frequently comes to class with bruises and cuts on her body. She has talked with the other students about Mary’s conditions and they report that she comes from a poor home and that her parents beat her severely. The teacher has tried to talk to Mary about the bruises and cuts, but she will to say a word about them. The teacher is firmly convinced that Mary is suffering from child abuse and wants you as a principal to do something. What do you do?
- You have been asked to give a talk in you local church on the history of counseling. What are some of the issues you will talk about in your speech?
Counseling theories are used as a guideline for understanding human nature and to determine which counseling skills you will use in your counseling sessions.
- Psychoanalytic Theory: This theory was originally developed by Sigmund Freud. It supports the idea that unconscious forces drive human actions. A psychoanalytic therapy session includes skills such as dream analysis, free association, resistance analysis, and transference analysis. Much of the personality is thought to have developed in childhood and similarities are identified and explored in the therapeutic relationship.
- Person-Centered Therapy: This theory is a form of psychotherapy originally developed by Carl Rogers. Sometimes also known as Rogerian therapy, it operates on the assumption that every human being has the ability to fulfil their full potential. A client-centered approach in the therapeutic relationship involves self-actualization, empathy, and unconditional positive regard. When practicing person-centered therapy, the client therapist relationship is very important because the positive interactions are a form of therapy themselves. The relationship should be supportive and the therapist acts more as a guide External link , as the client is the expert of their own life.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a shorter term approach External link to the therapeutic process. This hands-on approach lends its practice to the theory that human problems stem from faulty patterns of thinking. The counseling process primarily involves the challenge of automatic thinking and often negative thought patterns. It encourages the client to find logic in their way of thinking. The counselor plays an important role in challenging these thoughts External link .
- The Family Systems Model: Family Systems view all human troubles and conflicts as a familial unit. The theory, originally developed by Murray Bowen, is focused on the idea that family is the primary source of emotions External link and personality. A family system can be present in many forms, including structural, strategic, and intergenerational. Common techniques used in the therapeutic process include the creation of a genogram, family projection activities, emotional triangles, and the differentiation of self. This counseling theory is often used in marriage and family counseling sessions.