Values Clarification

​​Overview ​

“Values clarification is a counseling approach designed to help people

  • ​recognize or establish their goals, directions, and priorities;
  • make choices and decisions to help them achieve their goals, directions, and priorities; and
  • take action to implement their choices and decisions and thereby achieve their goals, directions, and priorities” (Kirschenbaum, 2013, p. 3).

Research

Valuing has been proposed to consist of seven sub-processes tapping each of the three components of a value: affective, cognitive, and behavioral (Raths, 1966, as cited in Simon, Howe, & Kirschenbaum, 1995). 

Affective -- PRIZING one’s belie​fs and behaviors

​​1. prizing and cherishing

​2. publicly affirming, when appropriate

​Cognitive -- CHOOSING one’s beliefs and behaviors

3. ​​​choosing from alternatives

​​4. choosing after consideration of consequences

5. choosing freely

Behavioral --ACTING on one’s beliefs

6. acting

7. acting with a pattern, consistency, and repetition


While Louis Raths began his work on values-clarification in the 1940s, it was not until the 1950s that he first implemented values-clarification as a counseling intervention. Since then, work on the importance of value-clarification in the helping professions continues and has been spurred on by the recent positive psychology movement. The Values in Action (VIA) Project takes values-clarification one step further by focusing on one’s strengths and virtues which underlie several core values (Peterson & Seligman, 2004, as cited in Compton & Hoffman, 2013).

Practical Applications

Steps for Implementing Values Clarification (adapted from Kirschenbaum, 2013, p. 17):

  1. ​Identify a values issue
  2. Use one or more questions or activities to engage the client or group members in reflecting and working on the issue
  3. Encourage the seven valuing processes
  4. Create an atmosphere of safety, respect, and non-imposition of values

Recommended Resources

Related Texts

  • ​* Hendricks, W. (1984). Values: Suggested activities to motivate the teaching of values clarification. Stevensville, MI: Educational Service, Inc.
  • * Kirschenbaum, H. (2013). Values clarification in counseling and psychotherapy: Practical strategies for individual and group settings. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • * Simon, Howe, & Kirschenbaum. (1995). Values clarification. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc.

Note: * indicates that the book is available in the CMU Park Library​

References

  • Compton, W.C. & Hoffman, E. (2013). Positive psychology: The science of happiness and flourishing. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
  • Kirschenbaum, H. (2013). Values clarification in counseling and psychotherapy: Practical strategies for individual and group settings. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Simon, Howe, & Kirschenbaum. (1995). Values clarification. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc.
  • Bonwell, C. C., & Eison, J. A. (1991). Active learning: creating excitement in the classroom. ASHE-Eric Higher Education Rep, 1. Washington, DC: The George Washington University, School of Education and Human Development.
  • Doyle, T. (2008). Helping students learn in a learner centered environment: A guide to teaching in higher education. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
  • Prince, M. (2004). Does active learning work? A review of the research, Journal of Engineering Education, 93(3), 223-231.



Posted by: Dina Battaglia

Original Posting Date: 10/27/14​