In this chapter we examine how theory and practice intertwine and how this influences both the purpose and form of assessment. Although all counselling practice emphasises increasing clients’ responsibility for their lives by helping them make choices that will help them feel, think and act effectively, formulations that counsellors develop — their working hypotheses — are highly dependent on their theories about the nature of people and their problems. As we have seen in the preceding ‘maps’ chapters, the sorts of questions asked vary enormously, depending on the particular theoretical orientation of the counsellor.The qualities of the therapist will also be different, and thus the ‘coherent narratives’ offered to clients can be very different. Counsellors develop a sense of ‘fit’ with their own practice theory, probably based on their own learning style; that is, how comfortable they are with feelings, thought or actions.This may not match clients’ learning styles and, where the counsellor has adopted an eclectic approach, there are further possible tensions.
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