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Guidance and counseling

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The scientific development of behavioural theory can be traced directly from Pavlov’s 19th century discovery in classical conditioning and important foundations were laid down by J.B Watson (1913).Significant publications about behaviorism were done by Watson, Thorndike and the rest. Behaviorism is a set of learned responses to events, experiences or stimuli in a person’s life history. Behavior can be modified by providing appropriate learning conditions and experiences. Behaviorists stood for the aspects that can be measured and observed.

Behaviorists focus on specific behavioural goals, emphasizing precise and repeatable method. The approach has been successful in the treatment of smoking, weight control and other eating disorders, substance abuse, behavior problems and speech difficulties.(Gibson and Mitchel 2003). Behavioral theory assumes that maladaptive behavior is to a considerable degree acquired through learning through the process of conditioning. Counselling, for a behaviorist involves the systematic use of a variety of processes and procedures with specific goals between the counselor and the client.

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A wide variety of techniques drown from the knowledge of learning processes are employed for the purpose of counseling and therapy such as operant learning; an approach based on the usefulness of reinforcements and timing of their presentation in producing change.(Windy, D and Rhena, B 2008). Strengths of behavioural theory:

Behavioral theory is based observable behavior, it is therefore easier to quantify and collect data and information when conducting research. Effective therapeutic techniques such as intensive behavioral intervention, behavior analysis, token economies and discrete trial training are all rooted in behaviorism. These approaches are often very useful in changing maladaptive or harmful behaviours in both adults and children. Criticism of behavioral theory:

There is no general agreement on the nature and conditions of learning and thus no generally accepted principals or methods which can be automatically applied in behavior therapy. An examination of desensitization (Weitzman, 1967, Murray and Jacobson1970) as well as other techniques indicates that
they cannot be reduced to the principles advanced by behaviorists. Behaviorism ignores the influences of mental processes on learning (Peterson 1970).Behaviorism theory holds that people can only learn from their own experiences. However many studies including (Banduras, social learning theory) show that people are quite capable of observing and learning from the behavior and experiences of others. TRAIT AND FACTOR THEORY.

Drever,(1964)define a trait as an individual characteristic in thought, feeling and action either inherited or acquired that drives that individual to act or react in certain ways. The terms traits and factor refer principally to abilities, interests and personality characteristics. (Super 1962).This system assumes that the matching of an individual’s abilities and interests with the available career opportunities can be accomplished and once accomplished, solves the problem of career choice for that individual.(Osipow 1973).Philosophically this approach focuses on uniqueness of the individual and differential psychology(Crites 1981). At the center of trait and factor theory is the concept of matching (Parson 1908). The theory holds that occupational decision making occurs when people have achieved; An accurate understanding of their individual traits (aptitudes, interests and personal abilities). Knowledge of jobs and the labor market.

Rational and objective judgment about the relationship between their individual traits and the labour market The trait and factor theory operates under the premise that it is possible to measure both individual talents and the attributes required in a particular job. It also assumes that people may be matched to an occupation that’s a good fit. Parsons suggests that when individuals are in jobs best suited to their abilities they perform best and their productivity is highest. In his book “Choosing a vocation” Parsons maintains that personal counsel is fundamental to the career search. He notes the following stages for a career counselor to work through with the clients. Personal data; create a statement of key facts about the person, remembering to include every fact that has a bearing on the vocational problem. Self analysis; a self examination is done in private and under the instruction of the counselor. Any tendency and interests that might impact on the choice of a life work should be recorded. The clients
own choice and decision; the counselor must bear in mind that the choice of the vacation should be made by the client. Strengths of the trait theory

Objectivity; the biggest strength of this theory is its reliance on statistical or objective data. Unlike many other theories, the subjectivity or personal experiences of theorists like Freud’s childhood experiences with his mother plays no role in trait theory. Ease of use and understanding; trait theory has been used to develop a number of assessment devices. It provides an easy to understand continuum that provides a good deal of information regarding a persons’ personality, interaction and beliefs about the self and the world. Understanding traits allows us to compare people, to determine which traits allow a person to do better in college, at work or in relationships. Criticism of trait and factor theory;

Poor predictor of future behavior; while we may be able to say that a person falls in the high end or low end of a specific trait, trait theory fails to address a person’s state. A state is a temporary way of interacting and dealing with the self and others. For example an introvert may be quiet, reserved, intellectual, and calm in most situations, when around friends he may seem quite outgoing, fun loving and excitable. The same could be said of an extrovert who when presented with a job interview may act more introverted, shy, reserved and intellectual. Contributions of person centered approach to counseling

Carl Rogers (1902-1987) is said to be the founder of the person self- centered approach to counseling. Roger’s basic assumptions were that people are essentially good and given the right conditions have the potential for understanding themselves and resolving their own problems leading to self directed growth(Corey,2001).It is the faith in human nature that lead to the theory being referred to as humanistic(Patterson and Welfel,2005). The basic element of this theory was the self concept or the individuals view, awareness or perception of self. Rogers believed that the self concept of a child is shaped by parental influence. If parents love unconditionally then the child learns to define him/herself in accordance with parental values (McLeod 2003).The counselor’s role, therefore was to be present and accessible to the client, to focus on here and now; to provide conditions such as unconditional positive regard and empathy. The success of person centered approach to counseling is based on three core conditions; genuineness, empathy and unconditional positive regard. Genuineness on the part of the counselor means that he/she is transparent about his/her feelings and thoughts.

The counselor experiences actions and thoughts the he actually experiences rather than those he thinks will help the client open up. In this regard the counselor may at times share personal experiences with the client. The aim of this is to make the client comfortable enough and also to become genuine and fully express themselves. The counselor must also be empathetic towards the client. This empathy must be genuine, accurate and well directed in terms of response. Rogers emphasized the need for the counselor to set aside his views and values and see things the way the client does. He also emphasized that it is important for counselors to ensure that they do not lose themselves in their clients situations. Empathy encourages the client to explore him/herself more fully. Unconditional positive regard means that the counselor respects and accepts the client .He/she should show care and appreciation towards the client regardless of the client’s attitude and behavior. The aim of having unconditional positive regard is to make the client comfortable enough to be him/herself .Without it a client may feel judged and therefore uncomfortable to share his/her inner feelings. The role of the counselor in this theory is to offer the core conditions to the client. In this caring relationship the client feels safe enough to explore the resources within him/her to solve the problems. REFERENCES

Mutie E.K and Kyungu P .M (1999) Guidance and Counseling for schools and colleges; oxford university press; Nairob

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Guidance and counseling. (2016, Sep 30). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/guidance-and-counseling/

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