Existential therapy is an important approach to assisting mentally disturbed persons to realize their full potentials in life. This approach was also referred to as humanistic theory from Maslow's perspective. The existential theory assists clients to develop full comprehension of individual meanings in life as well as their purpose of existence in the world. In this regard, the existence of a wife and a husband makes two complete units by virtue of unity and forthcoming families. In ordinary circumstances, a nuclear or young family like Michaels has major future aspiration in future together. At times, it may involve long-term planning. In this incidence, the death of Michaels wife was unprecedented and therefore subject to trauma on Michael as a result of the loss of a lifetime companion. In particular, Michael was unprepared to face life alone.
Perhaps, there were short-term goals and long-term goals that the family had established together. Suicide cut short such inspiration to achieve the goals as far as the couple is concerned. In this regard, Michael suffers short of hope in life and existence as regarded in the existential therapeutic model (Moon, 2009). Initially, Michael has been able to take care of their child an indication of the shared responsibility in the family and parental love. However, Michael suffers from acute anger and frustrations. This is an indication of low affinity for future live without his wife. He tends to lack importance of his existence and deviate to drinking unintentionally.
On the other hand, Michaels conduct may be perceived from the perspective of cognitive behavior therapy. According to this therapy, the victim is approached through a talk therapy in order to build their conviction of their condition and the way to overcome them. Through this approach, Michael could be perceived as mentally disturbed by the occurrence of his wifes demise. In, talking would expose his intimate feeling and position as far as solitary life is concerned. When addressing his condition, the understanding of his behavior is rooted in the ability to engage him in a conversation that he talks and relieves himself over the issues that appertains to his condition and the challenge facing him among them, bringing up Tom through a fatherly love and avoid stressful engagements. This approach would assist Michael to understand his inaccurate judgment that often elicits anger and dissatisfaction for no sufficient grounds (Kendall, 2011). This approach would enable Michael to manage his stressful situation and align his thinking to a normal perspective.
Approaches to Michaels Condition through Existential and Cognitive Behavior Therapy
In this condition, Michael is suffering from depression. His excessive drinking in the initial stage after the demise of his wife was a symptom of depression and perhaps a move to clear the impact as it is falsely perceived as a solution to curb depressive conditions. Michael has become more existential due to the loss that he incurred through the loss of his wife. As a result, this loss also culminates into depression. For a counselor approaching the condition through existential mode, he should initially establish a collaborative relationship with Michael in order to enhance their mutual engagements. Subsequently, the counselors should then listen empathetically to Michaels condition and then venture into phenomenological context of Michael.
After successfully entering into the contextual situation of Michael, the counselor is able to determine his condition effectively as far as factors influencing his thinking process are concerned. In particular, the counselor should facilitate and avail him or she as Michael tries to define his world after the demise of his patient through this perspective of an inter-relational perspective of therapy (Wedding, 2010). Michael basically feels more existential as a result of this condition of his life after death of his wife. Michael has a feeling of being lost and perhaps life is meaningless to him. Through the existential therapeutic approach, Michael will be effectively liberated from tragic triads of pain and death of his wife paving way for a healing process.
Through this particular fate that he could not change or review, existential therapist provides an opportunity to engage in a futuristic approach and accord value to his future despite the loss of his wife. For instance, the counselor may integrate the notion of an idea that Michael could find comfort in bringing up their kid, Tom. Besides, the counselor may empathetically convince the victim of an equally better option of re-marrying in future and enjoying life just as his dream with the first wife had been. Using existential therapy, the counselor may be able to assist the victim turn his suffering into accomplishment (Lantz & Walsh, 2007). For instance, while alone, Michael has been able to bring up his son, Tom, to adolescence. The counselor may objectively focus on these aspects as a heroic move worth applause. These could eventual turn Michaels agony into triumph over his accomplishment and abide by the situation turning to a normal life as a result.
On the other hand, cognitive behavioral therapist could also approach Michaels condition into a conclusive edge. In particular, this approach would be an effective approach to alleviate Michaels state of depression that is firmly attributed to meditation about his life with his wife. First, the counselor should assume that Michaels mood is directly associated with his pattern of thinking (Barnett, 2008). For instance, his spirited anger is a product of the thinking that perhaps, nobody else is or could be as good as his fallen wife.
Such thinking could be important leads for the counselor to identify negative and dysfunctional thinking that is influencing his mood leading to spirited incidences of anger. After expressing his past experiences, this would also inform the counselor over the changed behavior of Michael from a sober person before the demise of his wife to a drunkard immediately after the death of his wife and later change that culminated into increased temper or moody existence. Through the implication of the counselors cognitive therapy, Michael is able to recognize his negative thinking patterns and the sensitivity of his actions that arise from negative thinking about life and others (Nanda, 2010). Besides, Michael will be able to evaluate and perhaps replace these behaviors with healthier living conditions of thoughts. The counselor should also sensitize Michael on the fact that negative thinking that results into his aggressiveness or excessive anger could predispose him to depression and virtually negate any approach to curb it in future. The change in patterns of thinking is also associated with subsequent changes in mood.
In order to expeditiously help Michael through cognitive therapy, the counselor should adopt two main approaches to the therapy. First, the counselor should engage cognitive restructuring where both Michael and the counselor together change their patterns of thinking (Jackson & Ford, 2009). Secondly, the counselor may also use behavioral activation method. Through this process, the counselor will introduce some engaging conversations that culminates in enhancing Michaels engagement on enjoyable activities as opposed to his thoughts of loneliness and hopelessness despite the passing away of his wife, for instance, the counselor may develop a conviction on Michael regarding the essence of participating in games and other co-curricular as a mechanism of stress relieving.
Differences between the Cognitive Behavioral therapy and Existential Behavioral Therapy
One of the ultimate differences in the two approaches in Michaels condition is that cognitive behavioral therapy focus on the short-term impacts as opposed to existential therapy that focus on the long-term behavior change of the victims with regard to understanding the main importance in life (Beck & Alford, 2009). In particular, Cognitive Behavioral therapy focused on the choices made by Michael with regard to the perception and interpretation of their situation. This poses an immediate impact of the interpretation that Michael gave to his situation of loss. However, with existential modal, the counselor is not only interested in the focus on the interpretation of Michaels current situation and behavior but also its cause. This approach also measures the importance that the victim attached to various incidences of their lives such as Michaels son who could not only be a source of happiness but also an inspiration for a hopeful future. In this regard, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has a short-term future projection relative to Existential therapy that projects a long-term future perspective and the importance that a victim attach to their future (Hughes, 2008).
The main ideal of the cognitive behavioral therapy as applied to Michael was to align his thinking with the ordinary parental thinking through adjustment of his informational processing mechanism. This process is highly demanding as well as involving as it entailed the recognition of the challenges that Michael had been experiencing in order to define the best position of the talk between the counselor and the victim (Spinelli, 2014). Through adjustment of information processing via conversation with the therapist, Michael is in a position to embrace positive change through acting in line with the cognitive system. On the other hand, the main focus on the existential therapy is to apply apprehensive existence and crave for mechanism to assist the victim cope with the challenge facing them. Existential approach is anchored on existential philosophy that focus on promoting good health of the victim through increased consciousness and a focus on psychological worthlessness that is highly entrenched in majority of mentally challenged persons, Michael notwithstanding (Van Deurzen, 2007).
Similarly, the two approaches share various aspects in common bearing in mind that the two are intended to inculcate change in Michaels behavior. In particular, both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Existential approach assisted the victim in defining his world (Fairburn & Palmer, 2009). This implies that both helped him to position himself in the society as a worthy being and to understand his real direction in life as far as desires and convictions are concerned. Another major impact that the two modals introduced is the ability of the victim to adjust his thinking process by attaching significance to his life in order to change personal behavior as deduced from the cognitive approach and fit in the society through the conceptual virtues of existential therapy. In particular, the two therapies generated an impact that is futuristic in the sense that both are characterized with eminent behavior change.
In addition, existential therapy began through the change in the existential area. This implies that all subsequent changes on psychological levels also impacted to change the dimension taken by the free choice guided by understanding of the consequences. This is the same ideal that was pursued with the use of cognitive behavioral therapy. In particular, the understanding of the actual position and attributes of Michaels behavior particularly emanating from the fact that he had been suffering from a loss of his wife culminated into a steady decline in trust on anyone around and eventual frustration. In this regard, the CBT was an effective turning point through adjustment in the modest behavior that facilitated Michael fitting in the society (Craske, 2010).
Accepting the situation and making a d...
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