Pluralism in counselling and psychotherapy: An introduction to theory and implications for practice

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Mark Pearson, M.Ed(BEM), PhD., Senior Lecturer in Counselling, University of the Sunshine Coast, and Marc de Bruin, B.Law, Grad.DipMBCT, Dip.C., Post-graduate student at University of the Sunshine Coast 



This article provides an overview of the pluralistic approach to counselling and psychotherapy. It discusses the way the practices have moved from an earlier “schoolism” or “one for all” approach, to an interest in developing and testing integrative practices. Furthermore, the increasingly respectful relating with clients that emerges from taking client preferences and differences into account is discussed. The way pluralistic practice leads both logically and ethically towards an extension of Carl Roger’s person-centred approach, introduced over 60 years ago, is discussed. The need for more detailed outcome research on pluralism is identified, and the inclusion of personal development within counsellor education, to prepare individuals to be flexible in their responses and willing to discover client perspectives is recommended.


Keywords: counselling, personal development, pluralism, psychotherapy


Address for correspondence:
Mark Pearson