Changing views of theory and practice in counselling: Multiple intelligences, eclecticism and the therapeutic alliance

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Mark Pearson1 The University of Notre Dame, Australia and Patrick O’Brien The University of Southern Queensland


In the wake of the movement towards integrative and eclectic practice, and individually tailored treatments, in the field of counselling, the search for unifying theories continues. Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI), only recently applied to the field of counselling, has a contribution to make in evolving a framework for eclecticism. MI theory may also have a particular contribution to make towards helping counsellors strengthen the therapeutic alliance and enhance flexibility in responding to clients’ needs. Gaining an understanding of clients’ preferred cognitive and communication styles, or ‘intelligences’, enhances an ability to tailor treatment. This article argues that practical ways to increase the strength of the therapeutic alliance, as well as new theoretical foundations for eclectic choices, could emerge through the application of MI theory in the form of expressive therapies / creative arts therapies.

Keywords: counselling, eclecticism, expressive therapies, integrative therapy, multiple intelligences, therapeutic alliance.

Mark Pearson
Lecturer in Counselling
University of Notre Dame, Australia
Corner Phillimore and Mouat Street
Freemantle, WA 6959
Ph: 0419 492 713
e-mail: mark.pearson@nd.edu.au