Theoretical orientation refers to the system of understanding human functioning and dysfunction applied by the clinician to his or her understanding of client/patient needs.

The commonly used traditional theoretical orientations include: behavioral, brief solution-focused, cognitive , cognitive-behavioral, humanistic , and psychodynamic. Others include existential, feminist psychology of women, reality, and gestalt. Theories are often combined to form eclectic or integrative orientations. Moreover, it refers to theoretical framework that a psychologist relies on to conceptualize and treat clients' problems. Examples of such orientations include psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, systems, and eclectic/integrative.

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