This is a book about the counseling process. When asked what they do in counseling, counselors tend to identify with counseling theories. "I am behavioral," or "I am systemic," etc. However, theory is the cognitive map one uses when working with a client. Theory points to the ways one thinks about problems, about how human beings change their behavior, their attitudes, or their ways of experiencing life. Process, on the other hand, is the means by which one implements a counseling theory—what one does when one is practicing that theory.
Counseling process had its roots in Freud's psychoanalysis. His "talking cure" approach, in which the therapist was a dispassionate listener and interpreter, came to be called the psychoanalytic method. That method, or process, was a broad, macroscopic approach to the patient's internal world. As behaviorism began to impact the counseling movement, and particularly, as the work of Robert Carkhuff and Allen E. Ivey began to influence counseling, the counseling process became much more of a microscopic approach. In fact, Ivey described his method as microcounseling.
Counseling process has taken yet another turn in the past five years. We have come to realize that what works with one client of a particular ethno-cultural background may prove ineffective with a client of a different ethno-cultural background. Consequently, counselors must have some expertise in multicultural processes. This awareness has led counselors back to a macro-method approach to counseling process, which calls upon the counselor to view the client's world through the client's cultural lens, gender lens, and racial lens. The term, multicultural counseling, has come to be identified with this approach.