Step Three - Putting Together Theory and Practice in Sample Sessions

Mobile device users may find easier to access.

These simple sample sessions are a way for you to see how Counseling Techniques and Counseling Theories come together. Example of more complex sample sessions are available elsewhere but are beyond the scope of student, volunteer and new counselors. (This link is to The Mental Health Desk Reference: Visual Guides and More for Learning to Use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual edited by Carlton E. Munson.)

What is most important of all in your practice is that you are there and you care. You listen with empathy, acceptance and genuineness.

You create the nurturing environment (and sometimes get the information or resources for them that they might not know about or have access to) and tra-da! A difficult corner in the road of life will have been rounded.

Since you are a student, volunteer or “general practice” counselor, if your client needs more than this, you may need to refer. My family doctor once said to me – and I treasure her wisdom:

“If you refer and the referral was not necessary, people will forgive you. But if you don’t refer and the referral WAS necessary …”

Well, you get the picture. The pictoral theme for this Section is sunflowers because they are heliotropic - they follow the sun.

Yes, living on earth can be wearisome, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year. - Unknown

You are now going to get to be a "fly-on-the-wall" in a series of sample sessions. Counselor Joan is in her mid-fifties, works in Student Services at a college, and has an "eclectic" approach to counseling - using the theories and techniques most appropriate for her client in any given meeting.

Mary is a third year college student who is feeling depressed and anxious and has "relationship issues" - the most common reasons for seeking help. She has never had counseling before and is not quite sure what to expect.

This is a fabricated series and any resemblance to actual people or events is coincidental and unintended.


Mary has felt “down” and "testy" for some time. She saw a student services poster in the women’s bathroom and decided to give them a call. At this center the reception only asks:

1. If the person is a college student or alumnus

2. Name

3. Phone and email

4. Counselor preference – gender, language, etc.


To see how things are going, click on the following SAMPLE SESSIONS buttons on the left hand side.

1 - Client Centered (Carl Rogers)

2 & 3 - A "No Show" and a Cancellation (It happens!)

4 - Strength Based (Positive Thinking / Learned Optimism)

5 - Cognitive Behavioral (ABC Method)

6 - Holistic Health (Biopsychosocial Model)

7 - Solution Focussed (Where do I want to be?!)

8 - Existential (What am I here?!)

9 - Becoming Unnecessary (Learning to Let Go)

Still feeling a little anxious? Maybe you need to watch "The Worst Counseling Session Ever!" :)

Make yourself a good person, then you can be certain there is at least one less bad dog in the world. - Unknown

Bassett Hound Pup with Sunflowers
Buy at