Integrated Existential Approach to Counseling Theory and Practice

Author: Mobley, Jerry A.
Seven popular counseling theories are presented in this book and integrated into a meta- theory utilizing the common denominator of existentialism. Definition of the particular counseling skills that are involved in each approach and rubrics to measure counselor performance on these skills are provided. While counselor behavior is operationally defined for each theory, this book integrates them together into a theoretical whole. The relationship with the client is more valued than any technique, and the counselor learns to perform an assortment of proven techniques.


“This text is unlike any other textbook of counseling theories. There may be workbooks that accompany counseling theory texts that attempt to accomplish similar goals, but none that are as comprehensive and theoretically grounded. There has been a long-standing need for a model to assist students of counseling to integrate the basic counseling theories to which they are exposed. This text attacks the problem directly and includes a process that students can follow systematically in arriving at their own counseling model. The author makes the case for a common denominator of existential- humanism underlying the counseling process … I view this text as "the first of its kind" and the model that will be imitated by future authors.” – (from the Commendatory Preface) George M. Gazda, Ed. D. Research Professor, Emeritus The University of Georgia

“This book is an alternate paradigm for integrating counseling theory, approaches, and skills … I believe that author presents a strong rationale for why his perspective on counseling would enhance counseling students’ understanding of and application of various counseling theories. The author has provided a sound organization framework of his book, based on the logical flow of his proposed integrative theory. The organization of the proposed text might allow me to use some of the basic concepts on existentialism, especially the applications, in the context of teaching Humanism, the so-called Third Force in Psychotherapy. The author’s greatest asset is his commitment to and passion for his belief in the alternative counseling paradigm proposed. He makes a strong and logical case. . . .He clearly states his rationale for his integrative approach as a framework for presenting counseling theories in depth rather than focusing on the breadth of theories available. The author uses succinct and understandable terminology in describing the attitudes, procedures, and skills which draw from and embellish existentialist tenets and precepts. This is a major strength of the work. Also, the author has “tested” his theories and ideas under girding the proposed Meta-Theory of Counseling with his own students and colleague, both of whom have viewed the materials as positive and helpful. Most students are searching for a way to integrate and utilize a theory or approach to counseling that is comfortable and also broad and sensitive enough to meet the diverse needs of various sized client groups across the lifespan an across cultures. The proposed theory does offer much food for thought and the graphs are informative and thought-provoking. There is definitely a market for the material, especially in the field of counseling and perhaps across disciplines. Based on the author’s overall clarity of purpose, I think that my students could also glean salient points from his discussion of cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic theories.” – Lonnie Helton, Associate Professor of Social Work at Cleveland State University

“Mobley’s text would be an excellent resource for these students [who do not have a background in counseling theory] in order to expand their understanding of how an existential perspective permeates all aspects of counseling. Mobley’s text can also be used in an advanced Seminar class in Counseling Theory that focuses specifically on the application of existential principles to the practice of counseling. . . .This text can also be used in a course focused on developing counseling skills. The stages, as outlined by Mobley as well as the rubrics developed to assess the competencies of students at each of the stages, would make it very appropriate for a course focused on skills development. The material in the first three chapters reflects what is currently taking place in the field of counseling. The unique and diverse experiences of our clients require more than the traditional approach which focuses on using one theory to fit their needs. Currently, there are a number of trends related to a holistic developmental approach to counseling. Some of these trends include the post-modern perspective, social constructionist approaches to counseling and an integrative approach. I like the way the author integrates the overlap among theories and demonstrates an existential basis inherent in the humanistic approaches to counseling. The idea of focusing on the practical and concrete before addressing the abstract is a very unique approach. [I] like the focus on skills development and the idea of using rubrics so that students are clear about what is expected. [His approach] provides a means of measuring whether students meet the expectations.” – Claire Cham Choy, Counselor Educator at California State University Fresno

“ I absolutely love what Mobley is trying to do and what he says about the need and effectiveness of a Meta-Theory with existentialism as the underpinning. I have never seen such a unique way of combining the different theories. Mobley is absolutely right about his criticism of throwing a smorgasbord of theories at students and expecting them to be able to develop a coherent, personal theory. I really like what Mobley is saying and trying to do. . . .Mobley’s text and approach is exactly what I think [the counseling skills] class needs. Clearly accurate and current and very interesting … “[With] the extensive and uninterrupted use of original source material . . . the author’s aim seems to be to step out of the way and let the original theorists speak.” – Charles Arokiasamy, Counselor Educator at California State University Fresno

Table of Contents

Foreword, Preface
1. An Integrated Theory of Counseling
2. Existentialism
3. Stage I: Connecting with People – Roger’s Person-Centered Model
4. Stage II: Cognitive-Behavioral Models
5. Stage II: Cognitive-Behavioral Models – Glassner’s New Reality Therapy
6. Stage II: Cognitive-Behavioral Models – Ellis’ Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy
7. Stage II: Cognitive Behavioral Models – Adler’s Individual Psychology
8. Stage III: Expressive Models – Perl’s Gestalt
9. Putting the Pieces Together
*Bibliography at the end of each section