An integrative approach to counseling, ideally, entails a combination of different elements of distinct therapies. Many therapists believe that each client brings a unique set of problems that may require different approaches. Each individual is treated as a unique entity meaning that counseling techniques ought to be structured to personal needs and individual circumstances. Under integrative counseling, no theory holds the ultimate key to understanding and exploring the human psychology. All theories are posited as equally important as much as their basic tenets may differ hence the need for integration. The integrative approach further focuses on the infusion of an individuals needs and personality. This entails the integration of behavioral, affective, physiological and cognitive elements within an individual. It also seeks to address an individuals spiritual and social elements (Corey 11). Overall, counselors under this approach do not focus solely on the issue of what works but the reason as to why it works. This essentially means that they ought to tailor their therapy to suit their client rather than the individual to the therapy
Through integrative approach to counseling, counselors incorporate a number of theories in therapy. The theories are essential in establish the cause and development of problems and how they can be resolved best. Through theoretical orientation all this can be achieved. It is the key tool that many therapists can use in the treatment organization and information provision on the interaction between the client and the therapist. Through theoretical orientation a discourse ensues between the client and the therapist that ensures that the approaches employed are tailored to the formers needs. There are a number of theoretical orientations that may be encountered along therapy. There are a number of theories advanced under theoretical orientation. Some of them are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitizing and Reprocessing, Family Therapy, Feminist Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Humanistic Approaches et cetera (Corey 27).
The role of a counselor under theoretical orientation is multifaceted. The first role associated with counselors under this framework is focus on strengths. Many clinical therapists focus on the problems or pathology. Under theoretical orientation, however, the counselors are tasked in the identification of strengths of an individual, which they in turn incorporate into therapy. The counselors are also tasked with the duty of advancing self-psychology where the client idealizes and mirrors certain behaviors and traits. These are essential in successful therapy (Corey 33). A counselor is further tasked with the role of altering a clients behavioral and belief errors. The cognitive restructuring is an integral part in counseling. The counselor further embraces and enhances interpersonal accounts or experiences of clients. This allows the client to tap in his or past unresolved issues and subdue them greatly.
To arrive at therapeutic goals in counseling under theoretical orientation a number of factors are observed. Inherent beliefs and behaviors must be put in sharp focus. The deep-seated beliefs and behaviors can bring about undesirable cognitive distortions that may affect one psychologically. The clients past experiences are also considered in theoretical orientation. Past experiences play a pivotal role in an individuals psychological well-being. The past experiences may point to deeper issues and offer ways to counter them with ease through therapy. The need for empathy is another element that determines therapeutic goals. Some clients posit problems that require motivation and reflective attention.
The relationship issues that a counselor may be forced in theoretical orientation are several. Interpersonal effectiveness, mistrust, and self-esteem are some of the prominent ones. Interpersonal effectiveness involves the enhancing of communication between two parties. Many relationships fail due to lack of effective communication and interpersonal skills. Mistrust, on the other hand, stems from feeling that another partys motives, views, perceptions and behaviors are sinister. It is a great inhibitor of cooperation in relationships (Choudhuri, Santiago-Rivera, and Garrett43). Self-esteem, on the other hand, dwells on an individuals subjective evaluation of ones worth based on experiences, thoughts, beliefs and assumptions. An individual with a low self-esteem may affect relationships negatively as individuals with self-esteem issues may propagate the negating assumptions and feelings to other parties. Through various approaches to counseling, the above issues can be resolved and avoided.
Cultural diversity is an interesting area in counseling. Many counselors have notably been ineffective in addressing issue surrounding cultural diversity issues. This is due to overreliance on traditional approaches and the under-representation of different minority ethnicities in traditional clinical populations. Due to cultural bias and misunderstanding, many minorities receive substandard treatment, negative psychiatric diagnoses and differential and inferior counseling services. In order to be effective in handling cultural diversity issues it is prudent for counselors to establish effective techniques (Choudhuri, Santiago-Rivera, and Garrett 78). The first is the performance of a person-specific yet culturally informed assessment of a client. This is key in avoiding cultural bias without taking into considering an individuals unique attributes. Self-education on cultural ethics and norms is essential for therapists in order to reduce miscommunication and enhance client confidence. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a technique is effective in managing cross-cultural issues. The client can partake in a self-analysis into behaviors and beliefs that may be affecting him or her negatively within the cultural context(Choudhuri, Santiago-Rivera, and Garrett80). Individual psychology is another technique that can be used in countering cultural diversity issues. This technique focuses on a clients developmental years in the backdrop of a cultural setting. It may help a therapist understand how best to guide a client through a presenting problem.
Choudhuri, Devika D, Azara L. Santiago-Rivera, and Michael T. Garrett. Counselling & Diversity. Belmont: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.
Corey, Gerald. Case Approach to Counselling and Psychotherapy. Belmont: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
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