My Counseling Theory Essay

My Counseling TheoryIntroduction            When we study human behavior, specifically focusing on the development of personality and crucial to how a person or individual conducts him/herself, psychology offers a variety of dimensions. The concept of personality is central to our attempt to understand ourselves and others and is part of the way in which we account for the differences that contribute to our individuality. Psychologists have been particularly concerned with shaping of the personality in relation to genetic and environmental influences. We have been fortunate that the study of human personality has been thriving and fruitful.

We can choose from as many models we can to help us see ourselves better and maintain good relationships.            Firstly, it would be essential to discuss the broad perspectives with which counseling practitioners generally anchor their techniques and approach.-The Behavioral  model utilizes what is termed as the learning theory posited by Skinner and Watson and the rest of the Behaviorism school. It assumes that the principles in learning i.

e., conditioning (Associative and Operant) are effective means to effect change in an individual. Generally, the thrust of this theoretical perspective is focused on the symptoms that a person is experiencing. Just as many of the errors of the patterns of behavior come from learning from the environment, it is also assumed that an individual will be able to unlearn some if not all these by using the techniques as applied based on the learning principles.To a certain extent I believe that this still works: reinforcements are effective to some extent and in some or many people hence I am incorporating this stance separate or distinct from the Cognitive-Behavioral approach.  In behavior therapy therefore, thoughts, feelings and all those “malfunctioning” and unwanted manifestations revealed in one’s activities can be unlearned and the work of a behavior therapist.

The basic concepts include “extinguishing” – utilized when maladaptive patterns are then weakened and removed and in their place habits that are healthy are established (developed and strengthened) in a series or progressive approach called “successive approximations. When these (factors) are reinforced such as through rewards in intrinsic and extrinsic means, the potential of a more secure and steady change in behavior is developed and firmly established (Corey, 2008).- Cognitive-Behavioral therapy. In the cognitive approach alone, the therapist understands that a client or patient comes into the healing relationship and the former’s role is to change or modify the latter’s maladjusted or error-filled thinking patterns. These patterns may include wishful thinking, unrealistic expectations, constant reliving and living in the past or even beyond the present and into the future, and overgeneralizing. These habits lead to confusion, frustration and eventual constant disappointment.

This therapeutic approach stresses or accentuates the rational or logical and positive worldview: a viewpoint that takes into consideration that we are problem-solvers, have options in life and not that we are always left with no choice as many people think. It also looks into the fact that because we do have options then there are many things that await someone who have had bad choices in the past, and therefore can look positively into the future. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy postulated primarily by Ellis and Beck “facilitates a collaborative relationship between the patient and therapist.” With the idea that the counselor and patient together cooperate to attain a trusting relationship and agree which problems or issues need to come first in the course of the therapy. For the Cognitive Behaviorist Therapist, the immediate and presenting problem that the client is suffering and complaining from takes precedence and must be addressed and focused in the treatment. There is instantaneous relief from the symptoms, and may be encouraged or spurred on to pursue in-depth treatment and reduction of the ailments where possible (Corey, 2008).

– Psychoanalytic therapy. The Psychodynamic perspective is based on the work of Sigmund Freud. He created both a theory to explain personality and mental disorders, and the form of therapy known as psychoanalysis.

The psychodynamic approach assumes that all behavior and mental processes reflect constant and often unconscious struggles within the person. These usually involved conflicts between our need to satisfy basic biological instincts, for example, for food, sex or aggression, and the restrictions imposed by society. Not all of those who take a psychodynamic approach accept all of Freud’s original ideas, but most would view abnormal or problematic behavior as the result of a failure to resolve conflicts adequately. Many of the disorders or mental illnesses recognized today without a doubt have their psychodynamic explanation aside from other viewpoints like that of the behaviourist, or the cognitivists. From simple childhood developmental diseases to Schizophrenia, there is a rationale that from Freud’s camp is able to explain (Corey, 2008).- The Existential approach, as put forward by Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger, Rollo May, and Frankl, believes that the individual’s potential may lie dormant but that it is there waiting to be ushered in time.

It recognizes that man is able to achieve great heights and that these are just waiting to be tapped not only by him/herself but that also when helped by a practitioner who is persuaded of this notion. It examines such major issues as free will and the challenges of exercising this free will, the issue of mortality, loneliness and in general, the meaning of life. The Therapy is effective when the practitioner works with elderly care and death and dying issues.

It focuses on the individual needs but takes into consideration the significant relationships and the meanings they bring into the person’s life. Transcending the issues and problems are primary intentions of the therapist at the same time being realistic that certain limitations do exist and may hinder the process of recovery (Corey, 2008).-Humanistic therapy. Allport, Bugental, Buhler, Maslow Rollo May, Murphy, Murray, Fritz Perls and Rogers are those that helped usher in the Humanistic theory and consequent therapy. It holds in view the individual as possessing the options or freedom to choose, creativity, and the capability to attain a state where he/she is more aware, freer, responsible and worthy of trust. Because the human mind has immense potential, the approach assesses as well that forces from the environment bear on with the individual and depending on the interplay that occurs within the individual person, the result will either be destructive or constructive to the person. In sum, humanism takes into the perspective that essentially humans are good and not evil, and that the therapy facilitates by harnessing on the human potential through the development of interpersonal skills.

This results to an enhanced quality life and the individual becomes an asset rather than a liability to the society where he revolves in (Corey, 2008).- Family-Systems therapy. This theoretical viewpoint has been the by-product of the works of Bateson, Minuchin, Bowen, Ackerman and many others. Usually done in pairs or by a team of practitioners, family systems therapy has its roots in behavioral and psychoanalytic principles.

This model understands that the family is a unit and its members or any of its members with an issue or a problem must be addressed in the context of the family as a unit. It puts its emphasis on the relationships among the family members, their patterns of communication more than their individual traits and/or symptoms. The systems theory portion of the therapy indicates that whatever is occurring or happening is not isolated but is a working part of a bigger context. In the family systems approach then, no individual person can be understood when removed from his relationships whether in the present or past, and this is specially focused on the family he belongs to (Corey, 2008).Importance of understanding the approaches and techniques            The therapies are the crucial aspects to the successful reduction or elimination of the illnesses suffered by human individuals. These are the interventions devised and posited by man to address not only the symptoms that are indicative of the problems. The evidence-based researches point to their effectiveness (i.e.

, cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT by Beck and Ellis’ RBT) to various disorders. Psychology cannot advance when the interventions are not discussed or even discovered. One of the goals of psychology is the modification or control of the behavior which may be detrimental to the client and here is where the therapies come in to try to satisfy this goal (Corey, 2008).View of Human Nature            Personality is more than poise, charm, or physical appearance. It includes habits, attitudes, and all the physical, emotional, social, religious and moral aspects that a person possesses.

However, to be more precise, the explicit behavioral styles covered in the course, perhaps, best captivate an individual’s personality and how he/she is understood. With the different behavioral styles, an overall pattern of various characteristics is seen. Like a “psychograph,” a person’s profile is pulled together and at a glance, the individual can be compared with other people in terms of relative strengths and weaknesses (Corey 2005).            It is tempting to distinguish healthy adolescents from adolescents with mental illness problems.  However, there is often a fine line between mental health and mental illness.  It is important to understand that mental illnesses vary in their severity.  For example, many adolescents suffered from various levels of anxiety or depression.

  Others have suffered from serious mental disorders with biological origins.  Education about the adolescents` mental illness is vital for those with mental health problems as well as for the adolescents` friends and family (Corey, 2008).My view of helping clients/Values reflected in the choice            Clients at the very outset I believe comprise of two types basically: the seriously sick who needs t be admitted (in-patient) and those who can come for check-up and consult with his/her mental health practitioner as an outpatient. When properly diagnosed with whatever they may be sick with clients can go through the helping situation similarly with that of those who are physically sick. I view patients with empathy; the understanding that all of us are vulnerable to any disease much like we are vulnerable to any physical illnesses.

Care and concern come in variety of ways. It includes both a toughness and patience that consistently must be shown to the client in all of the sessions spent (Corey, 2008).            Despite the many different techniques with each of their own strengths, the bottom-line is the reality that a client’s attitude to a huge degree determines the outcome of the helping experience. Though the therapist can always do something about that, the principle that is placed with importance here is the client’s attitude towards recovery, healing and change (Corey, 2008).

Unless the person does not have intentions to change, or resists all efforts to effect change in the individual, no model of psychotherapy will be ideal or seven sufficient enough. It comes with understanding then that the therapist has enough “weapons” in his/her “arsenal” to address even an unwilling person’s stance on healing and move him/her to change.Theoretical orientationThis model utilizes what is termed as the learning theory posited by Skinner and Watson and the rest of the Behaviorism school. It assumes that the principles in learning i.e., conditioning (Associative and Operant) are effective means to effect change in an individual. Generally, the thrust of this theoretical perspective is focused on the symptoms that a person is experiencing. Just as many of the errors of the patterns of behavior come from learning from the environment, it is also assumed that an individual will be able to unlearn some if not all these by using the techniques as applied based on the learning principles.

To a certain extent I believe that this still works: reinforcements are effective to some extent and in some or many people hence I am incorporating this stance separate or distinct from the Cognitive-Behavioral approach.  In behavior therapy therefore, thoughts, feelings and all those “malfunctioning” and unwanted manifestations revealed in one’s activities can be unlearned and the work of a behavior therapist. The basic concepts include “extinguishing” – utilized when maladaptive patterns are then weakened and removed and in their place habits that are healthy are established (developed and strengthened) in a series or progressive approach called “successive approximations. When these (factors) are reinforced such as through rewards in intrinsic and extrinsic means, the potential of a more secure and steady change in behavior is developed and firmly established (Corey, 2008). Although few psychologists today would regard themselves as strict behaviorists, behaviorism has been very influential in the development of psychology as a scientific discipline. There are different emphases within this discipline though.

Some behaviorists contend plainly that the observation of behavior is the best or most expedient method of exploring psychological and cognitive processes. Others consider that it is in reality the only way of examining such processes, while still others argue that behavior itself is the only appropriate subject of psychology, and that familiar psychological terms such as belief only refer to behavior. Albert Bandura’s social cognitive approach grew out of this movement.

Bandura’s method emphasizes cognitive processes over and above observable behavior, concentrating on not only the influence of the person’s upbringing for example, but also “observation, imitation, and thought processes” (Corey, 2008).Additional theories that explain this orientaion            Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy postulated primarily by Ellis and Beck “facilitates a collaborative relationship between the patient and therapist.” With the idea that the counselor and patient together cooperate to attain a trusting relationship and agree which problems or issues need to come first in the course of the therapy (Corey, 2008). For the Cognitive Behaviorist Therapist, the immediate and presenting problem that the client is suffering and complaining from takes precedence and must be addressed and focused in the treatment. There is instantaneous relief from the symptoms, and may be encouraged or spurred on to pursue in-depth treatment and reduction of the ailments where possible.

The relief from the symptoms from the primary problem or issue will inspire the client to imagine or think that change is not impossible after all. In this model, issues are dealt directly in a practical way (Corey, 2008).In the cognitive approach alone, the therapist understands that a client or patient comes into the healing relationship and the former’s role is to change or modify the latter’s maladjusted or error-filled thinking patterns. These patterns may include wishful thinking, unrealistic expectations, constant reliving and living in the past or even beyond the present and into the future, and overgeneralizing. These habits lead to confusion, frustration and eventual constant disappointment.

This therapeutic approach stresses or accentuates the rational or logical and positive worldview: a viewpoint that takes into consideration that we are problem-solvers, have options in life and not that we are always left with no choice as many people think. It also looks into the fact that because we do have options then there are many things that await someone who have had bad choices in the past, and therefore can look positively into the future. Just as the cognitive-behavioral model also recognizes the concept of insight as well, this is only a matter of emphasis or focus. In behavioral/cognitive-behavioral therapies the focus is on the modification or control of behavior and insight usually becomes a tangential advantage. Techniques include CBT through such strategy as cognitive restructuring and the current frequently used REBT for Rational Emotive-Behavior Therapy where irrational beliefs are eliminated by examining them in a rational manner (Corey, 2008). Whereas in insight therapies the focus or emphasis is on the patient’s ability in understanding his/her issues basing on his inner conflicts, motives and fears (Corey, 2008).

The role of the therapist            I aspire to be a therapist – counselor whose practice is characterized as empowering and collaborative. By empowering, I understand the limitations of my role and as such I am constrained at the same time to impart my best knowledge and efforts to enable my client/patient to understand him/herself, and lead the treatment to the point where he/she is able to stand on his/her own without my help anymore. Further, it means that I recognize the patient or client as a person who is not only complex, he/she is also is imbued with the nature that inherently can heal, grow and mature. They contribute to the process, and their attitude towards the whole duration of the healing relationship is a crucial aspect to the attainment of their goals. The therapist then must remove by all means any barrier or obtruction to the achievement of goals especially when these come potentially from the therapist him/herself (that’s me).

By collaborative, again because there are set limitations on my capacities, I recognize the availability and expertise of others in realms that I hardly know and that working with them, collaborating with them, gives my client more options, and provides him/her the best and comprehensive interventions that there is in the field. A therapy that is beneficial looks beyond my set style and preferences of diagnosis and treatment; it is progressive and seeks to enhance the initial strategies that had been established and continually expands oneself by learning and researching. Most importantly, by collaboration, my client is the most significant “collaborator” and that notion should not be missed all throughout (Corey, 2008).            The effectiveness of therapy in counselling is dependent substantially on two factors; namely, the patient’s cooperation, and the expertise of the therapist. Many experts in the field of Psychology have observed the significant contribution of the client to the over-all process. The individual’s perception of the therapist is extremely crucial to the ensuing treatment. Without the needed initial positive perception of the therapist on the part of the one seeking treatment, the whole process will not generate a desired momentum that would set the entire scheme in a strategic stance.

Of course, the expertise of the therapist is another major factor – actually, the other half – but it’s a given to the whole package of treatment (Corey, 2008).Therapeutic goals that are important; Some of the central techniques I might us            The goal of the therapy is not just relief to the patient or client. Although an immediate relief is very helpful, this may not always be the case in most illnesses.

The goal as mentioned in the preceding pages is to provide long-term reduction of the symptoms and the occurrence of the disease altogether if possible. The management then is not impossible but neither is this easy. Specifically, the counselee or patient must want to heal or believe that there is going to be curative effects in the process. It presupposes that he/she must learn to trust the therapist in his/her capabilities as well in leading or facilitating the changes or modifications. It is very much essential that (in the perspective of a cognitive-behaviorist) that the client understands ownership to the deeds and choices in thought patterns he/she made are crucial to the recurring or occurring condition that s/he experiences (Corey, 2008).            Moreover, the identification of specific treatments or interventions according to the diagnosed issue will be accommodated and implemented based on the chosen treatment modalities fit with the therapeutic approach utilized. It may be a single modality based on a single approach (e.

g., learning principles and desensitization for a patient with specific phobias) or it maybe a combination of many modalities (CBT, Rogerian, Phenomenological, or Family systems) (Corey, 2008).Reference:Corey, G. (2008) Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy, 8th Ed.,Brooks/Cole: Pacific Grove: CA ISBN: 0495102083

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