Bioecological Counseling

George B. Richardson, Blair S. Hanson-Cook, Aurelio José Figueredo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


During the past 20 years, fields such as ethology, behavioral ecology, and evolutionary psychology have drawn upon life history theory to make important advances in our understanding of the ecology of human behavior, building extensively upon the earlier work of Bronfenbrenner and others. In this article, we (a) elaborate on an alternative to the traditional mental health model that is emerging from research informed by life history theory, (b) use a recent extension of Bronfenbrenner’s (2005) bioecological model to integrate applications of life history theory to humans into counseling and psychotherapy, (c) coin the term Bioecological Counseling to denote the resulting framework and chart out how it may be applied in practice at various levels (e.g., via recovery management), and then (d) identify implications for research. We hope this article stimulates interest in bioecological counseling as well as draws attention to the broader utility of evolutionary theory for counseling and psychotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-486
Number of pages15
JournalEvolutionary Psychological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Bioecological systems theory
  • Counseling
  • Ecological systems theory
  • Life history theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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