This chapter has three purposes. First, it aids the reader in understanding the various factors that affect the helping relationship: definitions and descriptions, stages, core dimensions, strategies, and issues of diversity. Second, because we have asked each of our theory authors to discuss brief approaches as applied to the theory under consideration, we provide our readers with an overview of selected brief approaches, because these approaches, plus the impact of managed care, have precipitated an emphasis on using traditional theories in shorter term counseling. Third, because we know that, after reading this book, readers will have questions about whether to be a purist, in the literal sense of the term, and base all of their work with clients on a single theoretical set or somehow integrate the possibilities for working with clients into a more flexible way of helping, we also provide an overview of integrative counseling. We hope that the information presented in this chapter will not only help readers to understand the dynamics of the helping relationship and their application in both theory-specific and brief approaches but also aid them in incorporating these dynamics into an integrative theoretical approach.