ERIC Number: ED317909
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Mar-18
Social Commitment and Individualism in Counseling: Theory, Research, and Practice.
Kelly, Eugene W., Jr.; Shilo, Amy Muchnik
Previous research has reported that a pervasive individualism undermines social commitment in American life. This research also found evidence of a counseling attitude which reinforces individualism contrary to social commitment. This study examined counseling and individualism from three perspectives: the philosophical foundations of counseling, the ethical orientation of counseling, and the goals of counseling. The study consisted of two separate research projects. The first line of research, an examination of the goals of counseling as presented in major psychotherapeutic theories, indicated that self-determined self-fulfillment of the individual was perhaps the prominent value in counseling, although interpersonal and social responsibility were also clearly and strongly affirmed in counseling. The second line of research asked how clients would react in actuality to the social commitment as compared to the individualistic orientation; for this study, a roleplay of a marriage problem with children was created with separate outlines for individualist and social commitment counseling approached to the problem. Four student counselors were trained in the two approaches and both approaches were offered to 26 actor-clients. Counselors' behaviors and characteristics were evaluated by the actor-clients. As between the social commitment treatment and the individualistic treatment, the results indicated that subject-clients' perceptions of counselors' characteristics and behaviors were not significantly different. A reasonable inference from these empirical findings is that clients do not perceive counselors using a social commitment emphasis as having behaviors and characteristics contrary to their individual welfare. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Counseling and Development (Cincinnati, OH, March 16-19, 1990).