What is a Theoretical Orientation?

Updated November 30, 2022 · 1 Min Read

Explore this resource by Best Counseling Degrees to learn all about theoretical orientation.

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In psychology and psychotherapy, theoretical orientation is a key, governing concept. Outcomes, experiences, and more depend on this crucial element of professional practice. To learn more about the power of orientation, read on as we cover the basics of this all-important psyche concept of today.

Orientation Explained

In psychology and psychotherapy, there is a general consensus and standard manner in which most psychologists go about their work. With each client, this practice shows the psychologist talking, listening, identifying problems, and in the end, helping the client to resolve those psychological problems. This is the more generalized approach.

As clients and cases become more involved, this is when we see psychologists begin to employ more specific theoretical orientations. A theoretical orientation is a sort of specialized and individual style or approach for a given situation. There are many professionally recognized as well as alternative orientations out there in practice today. In order to go on and understand these orientations a little better, let's now take a look to some specific, example orientations that can be found in use quite commonly in the US.

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Examples of Real-Life Orientations

Adlerian Psychotherapy

This theory in practice stems from the ideas put forth by Alfred Adler. Here, the patient is approached by a progressive, 12-stage model aimed at affecting current lifestyles and goals and providing an eventual emergence of the improved self.

Emotional Freedom Techniques

Emotional Freedom Techniques, also known as EFT, were created by Gary Craig in the 1990's as a simplified alternative to the thought field therapy, or TFT model. In this adapted orientation approach, attention is given to the client's energy field and how that field affects their current problems and mental state.

Gestalt Therapy

In Gestalt therapy, experiential and existential psychotherapy are used to primarily focus the client on their current state. Concentration is applied on the "right now" as well as personal responsibility at every current moment. This orientation approach was founded between 1940 and 1950 by several studious psychologists.

Jungian Psychotherapy

After his many experiences in the field, in addition to working alongside Sigmund Freud at one time, famed Swiss psychologist Carl Jung cam up with his own theoretical system of theory orientation. Jung established Jungian Psychology, a school of thought that seeks to affect the deepest levels of human behavior by taking a look at cultural phenomenon that can often have a surprisingly strong impact on the individual.

Positive Psychotherapy

This methodology was developed around 1968 by famed psychologist and professor Nossrat Peseschkian. As its name implies, this model of theory orientation works on the premise that all people are innately good and that deviation from that inherent good is a true sign of psychological trouble that should be addressed via the various procedural aligns of this particular method.

The human mind is an extremely complex piece of equipment. As a result, sciences such psychology that work with this complexity must also rise to a certain degree of complexity. Theoretical orientation is one display of that complexity which allows the professional practitioner to have some flexibility in the approach most suitable to their clients' current needs.

See also: The 50 Best Low-Cost Online Master’s in Counseling Programs

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