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  1. Nancy L. Murdock,
  2. Romana C. Krycak

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0232

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Murdock, N. L. and Krycak, R. C. 2010. Counseling. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Missouri-Kansas City

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


In an early attempt to define counseling, the Society of Counseling Psychology, which is Division 17 of the American Psychological Association, described counseling as a process of “helping individuals toward overcoming obstacles to personal growth, wherever these may be encountered, and toward achieving optimum development of personal resources” (Committee on Definition, Division of Counseling Psychology, 1956, p. 283). A more recent definition, offered by the American Counseling Association (ACA), is more specific: “…a process in which clients learn how to make decisions and formulate new ways of behaving, feeling, and thinking…[and] involves both choice and change, evolving through distinct stages such as exploration, goal setting, and action” (American Counseling Association, 2007). The ACA further elaborates that counseling is “the application of mental health, psychological, or human development principles, through cognitive, affective, behavioral or systemic intervention strategies, that address wellness, personal growth, or career development, as well as pathology” (ACA, 2008).


  • counseling;
  • psychotherapy;
  • therapeutic factors;
  • therapeutic alliance