Counseling Theories Role Play as a Teaching Tool

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Journal of Counseling Research and Practice

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Transitioning from knowledge and understanding to practical application can be a challenging step for counseling students (Authors, 2016). Although the professional field accepts integration as a working model, the ability to effectively integrate theories is a more advanced skill. Research strongly advocates the importance of graduate students connecting with a specific counseling model or theory as a foundation into the profession (Halbur & Halbur, 2015). Beginning counselors may see this as overwhelming as they do not fully understand each theory well enough to integrate. Firsthand experience, such as seeing a theory in action, not only provides a sense of connection for new counselors to a theoretical orientation, but also facilitates proficiency within it (Sharf, 2012). Thus, a role-play demonstration can transition a new student or supervisor from understanding to practical application of theory. This article offers guidance on how to navigate a live demonstration of counseling theories and how to structure the demonstration while providing a brief overview of theory. The article will also explore reflections of both the counselor and the client in the given demonstration scenario and tips, considerations, and ideas for future teaching techniques will be provided.