Using Action Research in Counseling Practice

Describe the problem or rationale Post an example of how you would use action
research in a counseling practice or setting. for using action research to address it.
BE SPECIFIC and include what you would want to find and how you would go about
finding it.
Conclusion, in text citations as well as two scholarly references.

Using Action Research in Counseling Practice

Action Research is initiated in problem solving, surveys argues that the problem in
most cases is immediate or progressive. Counseling calls for practical action research and
participatory action research depending on different situations. Action research is more of an
active process geared towards changes, while at the same time carrying out a research
(Kayano & Nishimura, 2011). Result of an action is determined through planning, action
research and finally on fact finding. There are a number of theories explaining action
research, among them being ‘Chris Argyris’ Action Science’, ‘Jack Whitehead’s living
Theory approach on action research’, ‘John Heron and Peter Reason’s Cooperative Inquiry’,
‘William Torbert’s Development Action Inquiry’ and ‘Paulo Freire’s Participatory Action
Research (PAR)’ among others. Action research was first forwarded by Kurt Lewin.
Counseling psychology has a lot to do with action research, it has been noted that
counseling psychology has borrowed significant information from applied work and research
in a number of domains (Mearns et al, 2013). The common domains include counseling
outcome and process; counseling and career development; training and supervision; and in
health and prevention. Psychologists involved in counseling argue along a number of
unifying themes that strongly focus on strengths and assets, interactions of the person with
the environment, career development and education, intact personalities and contact with

brief interactions. In United States, The Counseling Psychologist Journal and the Journal of
Counseling Psychology provide critical information on the relationship between action
research and counseling (Kayano & Nishimura, 2011).
Action research in counseling is relevant in the provision of ideal framework that
challenge, document and review the changes observed in an individual. Discussion and
activity plays a centered path in defining new processes that are out to solve a problem
existing in an individual. Action research in counseling has a similar approach as to class
room lessons (Kayano & Nishimura, 2011). It has been noted that counseling is integral to
processes of action research. A counselor always gears towards constant improvement of the
person being counseled, meaning that counseling is more oriented at obtaining the desired
Recommendations done by a psychological counselor are conducted in one to one
discussion. Although twenty first century is presenting different technology applications that
are encouraging a one to one communication mainly through internet (Mearns et al, 2013).
Counselor in such scenario is in a position to discuss and observe what is happening with the
target patient, a model that is critical in delivering the desired solution to the problem.
Action research in counseling focuses on improving the outcomes of the target
patients, and in the immediate time possible. In some circumstances, action research in
counseling is conducted in teams or groups depending on situations. It can be argued that
action research in counseling is geared towards improved flexibility depending on how the
relevant information is developed, gathered and presented (Kayano & Nishimura, 2011). The
counselor has the rights of choosing the best model of gathering the relevant information
depending on the problems being solved. Action research needs critical thinking which is
influential in problem solving and sound decision making. Counselors are trained to interpret

information, and if things are complex, they can share the information with more experienced
colleagues in order to make informed decisions (Mearns et al, 2013).
Counseling is defined by processes and outcomes, which are shaped by the therapist
variables, client variables, counseling relationship, cultural variables, counseling ethics,
outcome measurement and research methods used in the process and outcomes. There are a
number of issues addressed by counseling therapists that are designed in form of research
questions. Counseling process is more concerned on why and on how the counseling process
progresses and happens, which is directly proportional to action research. Counseling
outcomes are concerned on whether or whether not the counseling processes are effective; in
the same way, the outcomes are measured depending on the response of the target patient
(Mearns et al, 2013). Effectiveness in counseling is measured through behavior changes,
symptom reduction and the life improvement quality.
The main players in counseling are the therapist variables and the client variables that
take different angles depending on situations. Therapist variables that are related to action
research identifies with behaviors, therapists techniques, characteristics of the therapist,
training of the therapist and the theoretical orientation of the therapist (Kayano & Nishimura,
2011). Research and close follow up to therapy models offers detrimental, helpful and neutral
results in reference to outcome and impacts to the client. Experienced therapists deliver
accurate counseling judgments, although it is pegged to minimized anxiety and less focus to
the processes.
Client variables are signaled by the ability of the client to seek professional help,
which is shaped by the attitudes of the clients. The client has preset expectations as well as
outcomes. The counselors have the responsibility of maintaining confidentiality, and cultivate
trust, which encourages high levels of attachment between the therapist and the client

(Mearns et al, 2013). Educating the target client first encourage client treatment, satisfaction
and sound intervention.
Discussions between counselors and researchers are tailor made to improve the future,
in dealing with similar circumstances. Counselors have the ability to focus at the future in
designing future oriented models. Counseling processes are cyclonical, in a way that
encourage deeper research in the exploration of practices, ideas and concepts. It can be
argued that action research in counseling is influential in providing easily integrated and
effective processes (Kayano & Nishimura, 2011).


Kayano, J. & Nishimura, K. (2011). Action Research in Career Counseling. JILPT Research
Report No. 107 , 2-14.
Mearns, D. et al. (2013). Person-Centred Counselling in Action . Thousand Oaks, California:
SAGE Publications Ltd.

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