Counseling & Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice: Skills, Strategies, and Techniques is an educational video of just under 4 and a half hours prepared by professors John Sommers-Flanagan, PhD and Rita Sommers-Flanagan, PhD based on their textbook Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice, and demonstrates certain techniques and strategies for 11 different psychotherapy approaches throughout theory-based counseling sessions. The theories covered in the video are psychoanalytic, Adlerian, existential, person-centered, Gestalt, behavior, cognitive-behavioral, reality, feminist, solution-focused and family systems. Each counseling session takes approximately 20 minutes and is conducted with real people with real problems. The video has 12 chapters, including an introduction and 11 theory-based counseling sessions. Each segment demonstrates a specific theory and is divided into two parts; during the break within each session, Drs. John and Rita Sommers-Flanagan talk about what happened in the first part and give information about the second part. In addition, before and after each session, the professors preview and review the concepts, techniques and strategies covered in the session.


The concepts of many theories may be confusing for some students and novice counselors. However, real people present with real problems in the video, enabling the audience to make better sense of many theories and the application of their concepts in session. For example, the family constellation concept of Adlerian therapy might seem abstract to some students and professionals. Therefore, in the related section, Dr. John Sommers-Flanagan demonstrates how to implement and use the family constellation concept in a counseling session. Another example is the video’s clear presentation of Gestalt therapy’s empty chair technique. One other advantage of the video is the opportunity to watch sessions with members of varied populations, such as individuals, families and children, as well as clients from diverse backgrounds, such as Muslim clients.


One possible limitation of the video might be that, in order to follow the demonstrated techniques and strategies, a person might need basic information about the theories. Otherwise, it could be difficult to follow and fully understand presented theories. However, the segments do cover some basic concepts of the theories, and it is understood that it is not possible to cover every aspect of 11 different theories in a video.


An instructional manual by Shirin Shoai, MA is provided with the video, which reviews each theory and provides guidelines for instructors and any audience. The manual also provides possible topics and guidelines for role plays, group activities and reflection papers, which instructors can use as classroom activities. In addition, the manual contains recommended readings and Web sites as additional resources. Another important aspect of this video is that earning continuing education (CE) credits is possible. The information about CE credits is presented in both the video and the manual.


This video can be used for educational purposes by counselor educators, instructors, students, supervisors or counseling professionals. An instructor or a counselor educator can easily use the video in theory classes as a classroom or homework activity. The manual is undoubtedly useful and directive for instructors. The video also is a good resource for students for reviewing and seeing the application of presented theories. Students can easily watch the video by themselves without direction. Additionally, supervisors can use the video as a resource for their supervisees. Finally, as mentioned before, CE credits are available for this DVD. Thus, the video is a good opportunity for professionals to review techniques and strategies as well as earn CE credits.


In summary, this video is well-prepared and organized for students, educators, supervisors and professionals. Thanks to this video, it is possible to learn about the application of 11 theories and various techniques and strategies. The video can be easily used in educational settings and for professional development.


Reviewed by: Abdi Gungor, doctoral student in counselor education, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.


Irish Luck Productions (Producer), & Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (Directors). (2014). Counseling & Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice: Skills, Strategies, and Techniques with John Sommers-Flanagan, PhD and Rita Somers-Flanagan, PhD [DVD]. (Available in DVD and video streaming from


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