Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Counseling: A Historical Review of Counseling Theory Development in Relation to Definitions of Freewill and Determinism

By Wilks, Duffy | TCA Journal, Fall 2000 | Go to article overview

Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Counseling: A Historical Review of Counseling Theory Development in Relation to Definitions of Freewill and Determinism


Wilks, Duffy, TCA Journal


This review traces the development of counseling theory in relation to the philosophical constructs of freewill and determinism. Problems associated with the construct of freewill are discussed and an analysis of related theoretical trends and convergent paradigms is provided. Results of the review indicate that: (1) no major theory of counseling includes true indeterminate freewill as a component, (2) no theory of counseling adequately addresses the freewill versus determinism problem, and (3) no grand, comprehensive theory of counseling currently exists.

Because a sound theoretical base is essential to the meaningful practice of professional mental health counseling (Bauman & Waldo, 1998; Ginter, 1996, Schwarzer, 1999), efforts to readdress theoretical issues and systemize inferences drawn from the mounting and often conflicting professional data base continue. Prefaced by the assumption that each counseling theory's philosophical position on the age-old freewill versus determinism debate constitutes a primary component of meaningful analyses of that theory's empirical evidence as well as that theory's primary explanation of causal factors of human behavior (Goodman, 1999), the freewill issue continues to be an important area of investigation and an indispensable component in theory development. Despite numerous investigations into freewill-- determinism issues within counseling, the concept of individual freedom or lack of individual freedom in relation to the etiology of human behavior continues to be an unsolved element (Goodman, 1999; Pereboom, 1997; Siegel, 1993).

Recently, a number of researchers have readdressed the freewill/determinism impasse of the past in attempts to synthesize theoretical inferences (Bandura, 1988; Iturrate, 1990; Nelson, 1991; Vetter, 1991; Goodman, 1999). One of the issues under review concerns the meaning of freewill itself (Sappington, 1990; Tinsley, 1993; Vexliard, 1986-87; Werbik, 1991; Williams, 1991; Vollmer, 1995). Traditionally, determinism has been clearly defined as the view "that the will is not free but determined by psychical or physical conditions" (Runes, 1962, p. 78), and conversely, indeterminism has been straightforwardly defined as the theory that "volitional decisions are in certain cases independent of antecedent physiological and psychological causation" (p. 143). Definitions of freewill, however, have been more ambiguous, with freewill being defined in opposition to determinism, in that freewill "ascribes to the human will freedom in one or more of the following senses:

(A) the freedom of indeterminacy . . . the will's alleged independence of antecedent psychological and physiological conditions;

(B) The freedom of alternative choice. . . the ability of the agent to choose among alternative possibilities of action; and

(C) The freedom of self-determinism . . . decision independent of external constraint but in accordance with the inner motives and goals of the actor" (Runes, 1962, p. 112).

It is perhaps worth noting that Runes' definition of indeterminism is synonymous with the definition of Freewill-A (indeterminacy), and that it is indeterminism that he defines as being opposite to determinism. Runes' The Dictionary of Philosophy (1962) further defines a sense of freedom as "the subjective feeling of an agent either at the moment of decision or in retrospect that the decision is free, and that one might have chosen to decide difFerently" (p. 112).

Using Runes' definitions as identifiers, a review of the literature tracing the general trend and direction of psychological and counseling theory development in relation to freewill and determinism is presented. The review focuses on literature within the frameworks of psychoanalysis, behaviorism, humanism, existentialism and phenomenology, and includes a section on constructivism, cognitive-moral developmentalism, chaos theory and self attribution.

LITERATURE REVIEW

The context of this review is unique in its use of definitions drawn from Runes ( 1962) dictionary to organize the material. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Counseling: A Historical Review of Counseling Theory Development in Relation to Definitions of Freewill and Determinism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.