Theoretical orientation is used to assist clinicians in understanding client behavior, treatment plan development, and evaluating treatment progress. Though the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) places a great emphasis on the importance of using theory in counseling, there is significant research that points to the existence of a gap between counseling theory and the application of theory within the therapeutic process (Murray, 2009; Proctor, 2004). This paper reviewed the barriers that counselors face when applying theory in community mental health settings, schools, medical settings, and, correctional facilities. The literature suggested that there are often distractions in community settings, such as video games and television (Lawson, 2005). As a result, clinicians may experience challenges establishing healthy boundaries (Lawson, 2005). School counselors play a multifaceted role in their profession which can lead to time limitations (Gingerich & Wabeke, 2001). In medical settings, clinicians should assess client needs, medical personnel environment, and any special conditions that the client may have (Karademas, 2013). Considering the climate of correctional facilities, counseling providers are faced with the possibility of clients experiencing role confusion defined as a lack of understanding of the true nature of the therapeutic alliance (Haag, 2006). It is important that researchers and clinicians examine the specific contextual challenges associated with non-clinical settings to better understand the barriers to theory application that counselors face in these settings. Further research focused on other non-clinical settings besides schools, hospitals, prisons, and homes would be a valuable addition to the literature.
"The Theory-Application Gap in Non-Clinical Settings,"
Louisiana Journal of Counseling: Vol. 27:
1, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalscholar.lsuhsc.edu/ljc/vol27/iss1/7