40 Techniques Every Counselor Should Know, A Book Review

This is a Review of the book: 40 Techniques Every Counselor Should Know by Bradley T. Erford (2015).

What I appreciate about this book is its simplistic layout, clarity, and practical descriptions of each of the techniques listed in the book.  For a full list of the techniques covered in the book see the end of this post.  The techniques are grouped together according to their theoretical origins and each theoretical origin has a description of its primary founders and the contextual framework for it’s psychological perspective.

Each of the techniques listed has a section devoted to the origins of that technique, how to implement the technique, an example of the technique (usually in a mock-dialogue format), which is then followed by a section devoted to the usefulness and evaluation of the technique.

In terms of resourcefulness, the book provides a fantastic overview of counseling techniques that would help any counselor be aware of the kinds of techniques counselors may be engaging in.  Whether or not one agrees with the psychological model that provides the contextual framework for a particular technique, it would be helpful to understand the historical and theoretical framework for the techniques counselors use in order that clients who may have experienced some of these techniques with a counselor in the past, feel understood by their present counselor.

The following is the table of contents for this book:

Section 1: Techniques Based on Solution-Focused Brief Counseling

  • Scaling
  • Exceptions
  • Problem-Free Talk
  • Miracle Question
  • Flagging the Minefield

Section 2: Techniques Based on Adlerian or Psychodynamic Approaches

  • I-Messages
  • Acting As If
  • Spitting in the Soup
  • Mutual Storytelling
  • Paradoxical Intention

Section 3: Techniques Based on Gestalt and Psychodrama

  • Empty Chair
  • Body Movement and Exaggeration
  • Role Reversal

Section 4: Techniques Based on Mindfulness Approaches

  • Visual/Guided Imagery
  • Deep Breathing
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation Training (PMRT)

Section 5: Techniques Based on Humanistic-Phenomenological Approaches

  • Self-Disclosure
  • Confrontation
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Strength Bombardment

Section 6: Techniques Based on Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches

  • Self-Talk
  • Reframing
  • Thought Stopping
  • Cognitive Restructuring
  • Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT): The ABCDEF Model and Rational-Emotive Imagery
  • Bibliotherapy
  • Journaling
  • Systematic Desensitization
  • Stress Inoculation Training

Section 7: Techniques Based on Social Learning Approaches Using Positive Reinforcement

  • Premack Principle
  • Behavior Chart
  • Token Economy
  • Behavior Contract

Section 9: Techniques Based on Behavioral Approaches Using Punishment

  • Extinction
  • Time Out
  • Response Cost
  • Overcorrection