On Research and Counseling by Tony Astro

(Note: This past week my three-year research on “Counselors using Facebook.” was approved by the school board and it was a life journey, and lots of “lesson learned” not for the subject {counseling nor Facebook} but life in itself on time and patience. However, these are the two subjects I have been through in my academic journey on research and counseling as updated from my previous article in 2008)
Photo Credit:  Counseling Today - American Counseling Association

Coming out with right questions to the client can come about with solid and extensive knowledge. The more information (facts or data) a counselor can get, the more problems or questions are created. Research in the counseling field is compulsory and binding. It is vital to every client that near accurate information is the basis of alleviating the health of every patient. Research can bring about many questions and answers essential to all treatments.
The discussion on research methods in counseling and psychotherapy places great emphasis on what research can offer to advise. It is also worth thinking about what counseling can contribute to research. Any study that involves meaningful contact with people, for example carrying out interviews, running a focus or human inquiry group, explaining what will happen in an experiment, calls on many of the skills and competencies that are central to counselor training. Good researchers should be able to establish rapport, listen, respond non-defensively to questions, and engage in appropriate challenging. Counseling training offers a good grounding in these areas, upon which specific research skills can be built. However, going further than this, counseling theories also provide valuable tools for making sense of the relationship between researcher and informant (McLeod, 2003)
Counselors cannot always offer the best answer, but it can provide the better questions if research is done well. Up-to-the-minute information has changed many perspectives of every researcher and counselors. With the “website” movement accessible to many and modern day technology building up every day in the field of medicine, research has contributed to many processes of a what a counselor can do in a day or a year to each patient.
Research practices have been changing and developing as postmodern thinking has blurred the boundaries between the disciplines of philosophy, psychology, theology, humanities, anthropology, sociology and literature. Counseling practices have also changed and developed, and in the process, some fixed beliefs about psychological concepts of self and identity have been shaken (Ethengton, 2004).
The main thing is, counselors that complete a research can excavate more information to plan a broader perspective of the client and his/her issues without predisposition on few ideas including a personal opinion. When specifying an issue or classifying the client with a group, it helps to get many “arsenal” to prepare for whatever outcome of an interview from a group or an individual.
As you consult the literature, you can get ideas about how to set up and facilitate your group. In some cases, you may find readymade manuals for your particular group, complete with handouts and other media aids. With all the information out there, it is highly unlikely that you will find nothing related to your group idea. The completion of this step arms you with an arsenal of information about how to approach the group. It is your job to sift through the ideas and move to the next step in the planning (Berg, 2006).
Berg, Robert C. Group Counseling : Concepts and Procedures (4th Edition). Florence, KY, USA: Brunner-Routledge, 2006. p 131. Retrieved on 13 November 2008 at: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/capella/Doc?id=10172022&ppg=146
Etherington, Kim. Becoming a Reflexive Researcher : Using Our Selves in Research. London, , GBR: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2004. p 20. Retrieved on 13 November 2008 at: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/capella/Doc?id=10082346&ppg=20
McLeod, John. Doing Counselling Research. London, , GBR: Sage Publications, Incorporated, 2003. p 187-188. Retrieved on 13 November 2008 at: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/capella/Doc?id=10080851&ppg=194


  1. Subject: Peer Response #1 to: Tony Astro, from: Jo Oliver-Yeager Topic: u06d1 Outcome Research
    Author: Jo Oliver-Yeager Date: November 14, 2008 6:49 PM

    Hi Tony:

    Would you say that research in the counseling field actually legitimizes the field? There is always that debate about whether counseling is a science or not. Research in this field is necessary because it allows researchers to evaluate interventions and assessments (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005).

    In what other ways do you think that research is necessary in this field? In some ways, research is needed to help counselors to better the field as well. Do you think there is a better approach to research in the counseling field, such as quantitative versus qualitative?

    Thanks so much,



    Leedy, P., & Ormrod, J. (2005). Survey of research methodology for human services learners. Boston, MA: Pearson.


  2. Subject: Re:Week 6: Jennifer to Tony Topic: u06d1 Outcome Research
    Author: Jennifer Sztalkoper Date: November 14, 2008 7:13 PM

    Hi, Tony

    I enjoyed reading your post. I think you brought up some great points regarding the similiarities between counselors and researchers, such as asking questions to a client and to a research participant. One of the great things that comes from outcome research is that counselors learn ways in which to treat their clients in the most effective manner (Patrick, 2007). For example, if a counselor is treating a client with post traumatic stress disorder, the most effective therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (Clinical Practice Guidelines, 2006). Outcome research also helps the counselor when having to deal with managed care companies. Outcome research help counselors to advocate for their clients when a client needs additional sessions from the client's managed care company (Patrick, 2007). The counselor may have to share research regarding specific techniques or therapies with the managed care company that proves that the methods are effective for treating the specific illness within the client.

    Interesting post.

    Clinical Practice Guidelines. (2006). Posttraumatic stress disorder. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 51(2), 57S-63S.

    Patrick, P. K. S. (2007). Contemporary issues in counseling. Boston: Pearson.

  3. Subject: Re:Week 6: Counseling and Research by Tony Astro Topic: u06d1 Outcome Research
    Author: Lavaun Kelley Date: November 15, 2008 3:23 PM

    How do you feel about the amount of information that is available on the web regarding various mental health issues/treatment? Do you feel there should be regulations in regards to posting of clinical treatments/information?

    In this writer's undergraduate and graduate school, the use of information from websites was forbidden and could equal a failing grade if the information obtained was not a recognized publication which was peer reviewed (usually an APA accredited publication was required). This writer is always amazed at the ease of which people may use information obtained through the internet as fact or research based. That is not to say that information obtained through the internet is helpful and provides an excellent resource as a therapist. However, the therapist/counselor/professional must be able to adequately analyze the source of the information to ensure that the outcomes/research is approrpiate and valid.

    Bringing out the 'website movement' was a very good point.

    La Vaun Kelley

  4. Subject: Re:Week 6: Counseling and Research response karen kizer Topic: u06d1 Outcome Research
    Author: Karen Kizer Date: November 15, 2008 6:25 PM

    Hello Tony,
    I found your response to this discussion very informative.
    This question may be a bit 'off' but do you feel that counseling related research can be taken as exact? It sometimes seems as if though there is a conflict between science, and a field that is not considered 'exact'
    karen kizer


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