|Type of paper:||Term paper|
|Categories:||Counseling Psychological disorder|
A personal counseling theory is a well-established explanation of activities that use social relationships to enhance people's understanding of their future lives. School psychologists play an important role in training and enhancing knowledge in personal counseling theory. This framework, stemming from the highly varied therapeutic counseling approaches available, helps guide the student's practice in understanding the human condition and facilitating change. Although the task of creating a personal theory of counseling cannot be completed within the confines of an introductory counseling course, individuals can begin to integrate and synthesize various approaches to create a counseling theory tailored to their personality (Corey, 2015).
Research indicates that there is no specific type of therapy that has proven to be the most effective approach to counseling. Rather, studies show that variable success is often linked to differences with individual counselors, not the approach used. In recent years, many therapists have begun to move away from a single-school approach towards an integration of psychotherapies. When developing a personal theory within an integrative perspective, Corey (2015) states that it must be an ongoing and well-thought-out practice integrating elements and concepts from various theories. This paper will outline my emerging personal counseling framework to support my future role as a school psychologist. My chosen theory is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
At the beginning of this course, I flipped through our textbook and immediately thought I would be drawn to cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT). As a learning support teacher, I have extensive experience with several CBT programs used in the school environment as well as techniques recommended by community psychologists and psychiatrists. I have witnessed benefits with this therapeutic approach and the overall philosophy makes sense to me. However, I have always felt that something was missing from CBT. There have been children that did not respond to the interventions and many times I have felt that the root of an individual's emotional distress was not always addressed with the CBT approach.
This course has helped me identify my conflicting feelings with CBT, and introduced me to an approach more aligned with my personal belief systems. I have identified that my personal theory is an assimilative integrative approach primarily based on Gestalt therapy, incorporating concepts and approaches of cognitive behavior therapy. According to Corey(2015), the Gestalt perspective of human nature is rooted in experiential philosophy and field theory. I agree with this experiential and humanistic approach that stresses the importance of holism with a belief that people cannot be understood separate from their environment or interpersonal relationships (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). This is an important component to remember as a school psychologist, particularly when assessing, interacting and working with children as well as communicating with parents and colleagues.
It is true that self-does not exist without other (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). I agree that when we examine the self, it is in relation to experiences and contact with other people that influence the formation and function of who we are. I also agree with the assumption that people have the power to regulate themselves in their surroundings if they have an awareness of the entire environment. As Yontef and Jacobs state, the Gestalt approach integrates components from the effective, sensory, cognitive, interpersonal and behavioral aspects. I appreciate this holistic outlook and find that it fits well with my current philosophy of working with children. I believe that the quality of the therapeutic relationship is the most important factor in successful counseling. In fact, research suggests that the most significant factor in the efficacy of counseling may be the level of the relationship established between a client and individual therapist. This relationship needs to be open, engaging and honest where the counselor genuinely cares about their client's feelings, thoughts and life experiences.
It is within this type of respectful relationship where an individual will feel free to explore a new sense of self. I agree with the Gestalt philosophy that therapists must be comfortable with the differences between themselves and their clients (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). My personal philosophy would be to be very thoughtful with my level of disclosure to help ensure that it did not take away from the client's needs or time. However, I do feel that it is important for therapists to allow themselves to be affected by their clients, and to actively engage with their clients in the here-and-now. I believe that a strong therapeutic relationship is one that changes both the client and the therapist. According to research, the counselor observes the client while directing them to increase the awareness of their thoughts to explore different ways of thinking. The counselor's role is helping elucidate a client's awareness of self and their environment (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011).
Counselors must be responsible for the quality of their presence, have a strong understanding of self and remain open to their clients at all times (Corey, 2015). I feel that it is important that counselors do not get lost or caught up in a role or bound to specific techniques, rather they are authentic with their clients. This is why I am drawn to assimilative integration. I believe that methods need to be based on a client's response to treatment goals, and fit both the client and therapist. Therefore, in my personal experiences, I find the relationship between people's thoughts and their feelings being an essential component of my personal counseling theory. I would encourage people to create awareness toward the present environment, to learn about themselves by attempting new behaviors and noticing what happens (Corey, 2015).
Our cultures are very diverse, which makes it difficult to do cross-cultural counseling. For instance, every ethnic group has a strong cultural believes that people follow and therefore limiting resulting in poor future lives. In my personal counseling theory, I will embrace the aspect of adaptability to both short-term and long-term therapy. This will enable me to effectively reach all the groups in society. Gestalt therapy has the largest range of styles and types of therapies offered when compared to all other therapy systems (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). This helps increase the options to ensure the right fit for therapist and counselor. I like the flexibility that this offers both the client and the therapist. I also feel that the counseling process should be flexible enough to take as few or as many sessions as needed to foster and facilitate client change. Religion is essential in counseling since it is one of the aspects that shape people's social beliefs and values.
Gestalt therapy originates with the first contact between the counselor and client (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). From that initial meeting, the focus remains on what is happening now and what is needed now. The therapist then moves towards facilitating the client's awareness of self and environment. If the client and therapist are suitably matched, therapy proceeds with the process of increasing awareness (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Gestalt therapists will gather information regarding a client's life circumstances and general history as the information becomes relevant. Gestalt therapy is either individual, couples therapy, or both and is suitable for all ages with recommendations for specialized training when working with children. In my counseling theory, the aspect of education will also be important because it enhances learning and therefore making the process effective.
All techniques within the Gestalt approach are considered experiments (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). They range from common techniques like focusing, enactment, guided fantasy, imagery, body awareness, loosening and integrating techniques (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Although I see great value in many of these techniques, I will incorporate techniques and strategies from other approaches, particularly with the cognitive behavior therapy approach. This is partially due to the extensive resources available to educators and school psychologists that are CBT based programs but that complement the Gestalt approach. The goal of Gestalt therapy is that the client is able to direct the work, integrate problems solving and regulate his or her awareness (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Although this is a suitable goal for an adult, the end of a therapy goal would need to be adjusted slightly for children. My hope is that the added structure of CBT would help meet the needs of the children I support. Most importantly, I feel that therapists need to have a large number of techniques to be able to draw on to meet their client's needs.
Gestalt therapy is a phenomenological approach that is present-centered. Therapists believe that the here-and-now is the most significant tense in Gestalt therapy and a productive place for a change. Unlike traditional psychoanalysis, this approach does not spend a great deal of time exploring past experiences. As Corey states (2015), Gestalt therapists feel that focusing on the past can be a way to avoid dealing with issues in the present. Although, I do not feel that we can ignore the past or future in therapy, focusing on the present allows the client to focus on what is. I agree that many people invest too much energy upset about past mistakes, over-focus on how their life should or could have been different or make endless plans or resolutions for the future without any energy directed towards affecting change in the present. I appreciate that Gestalt therapists ask "what" and "how" questions with a focus on the "now" to help keep their clients connected in the present moment (Corey, 2015).
Gestalt therapists attempt to understand humans by the study of what is experienced and how it is experienced (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). They explore the existential themes of existence, life, and death, choice, and responsibility, connection, and separation (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). I feel that components and interventions from Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy would help facilitate focusing on the here and now. According to research, people's life and way of thinking have been passed down from one generation to the other. This is done through parenting styles where every young generation is natured and taught the same beliefs that exist in our societies. Therefore, in my counseling theory, I would focus and put more emphasis on the good and advance parenting styles as well education of children. This is in accordance with cognitive behavior therapy which stresses on the education of children in order to bring change in our society in the future.
Gestalt therapists feel that emotions are crucial for healthy functioning because they ground a person to their current relationships and environment and signal a person towards self-regulation (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Gestalt therapists feel that gaps in personal awareness and barriers to personal growth are created when an individual avoids expressing or owning upsetting feelings. The central message of Gestalt therapy is that emotional health comes from taking full responsibility for one's feelings and emotions by changing "I can't" to " I won't" or "I must" to " I choose to." (Coon & Mitterer, 2008). This viewpoint aligns with my personal and professional beliefs that people need to be who they really are for change to happen.
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