Divergent Styles, Common Goals: Implications for Counselors
Shirley A. Griggs
The counselor education faculty of St. John's University meets regularly to review the progress and status of matriculated students in the program. Most faculty members had worked with Joya and Mary, fraternal twins who were in their second year of the school counseling program. Dr. Sims opened the discussion of the twins by observing, "It's difficult to believe that these two young women are twins; they are radically different in their perceptions, skills, and general approach to counseling their clients." Professor Harmon followed-up with:
They are both excellent students and will develop into highly effective counselors. In my theories course, Joya embraced cognitive-behavioral approaches to counseling and was a soul-mate of Albert Ellis', whereas Mary was most effective in using creative counseling approaches with clients and demonstrated skill in using art, music, and play therapy with youth.
The discussion concluded when I reported that I would have the twins in my Case Studies in Counseling course that semester and planned to assess my students' learning and cognitive styles to contribute to their selfknowledge and understanding and how their styles impacted the counseling process. My hunch was that their cognitive styles were divergent, with Joya being an analytic processor and Mary being a global processor.
The phenomenon of fraternal twins possessing different learning styles was clarified by Dunn and Dunn, who stated:
Everyone has strengths, although parents' strengths tend to differ from each other's, from their off-springs', and from their own parents'. Thus, mothers and fathers often