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Personal Theory of Counseling

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      For the purposes of identifying my own way of exploring the world and making meaning out of it, I have studied a number of counseling theories. In this paper, I dig into my recent reflective and introspective explorations, and the lessons and experiences I have learned in the course of my life. This has enabled me to embrace the specific theory of counseling that I believe fits my needs the most at the present time. Given my personal theory of counseling, I will explore on how to structure therapy as well as how to choose goals for clients in the future. Of the theories that I have learned in the course of this class, I find Existentialism theory suiting me. I have an enormous veneration for psychoanalysis and how it focuses on the examination of the factors that determine an individual’s behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, but I find this approach having a rigid and deterministic view about human nature. Therefore, I employ existentialism which emphasizes a genuine and authentic encounter with clients, recognizes and respects the subjective world of the client, and trusts in the client’s capacity to arrive at positive decisions.

      It is essential to realize that a therapy is meant to enable individuals to become autonomous and successful in the rest of their lives. Individuals learn on how to relate with others depending on their fulfillment. The therapist ensures that the clients have understood their lives well by allowing them to create their own meaning. Existential approach enables the clients to live authentically, live with anxiety and ambivalence, face their life challenges such as fears, live autonomously, have expanded self-awareness, and find their own truth and meaning of life.  

Basic View of Human Nature

      My feelings surrounding human nature and the meaning of life are very relevant with the tenets of existential theory. According to Corey (2009), human nature has been represented as one that endeavors to attain a certain degree of achievement. A remarkable trait of human beings is their capacity to select their stance amongst any circumstance (Corey, 2009). Therefore, human beings are free to control their being which is not dictated by events. Human beings demand responsibility in order to acknowledge and accept freedom.  

Key Factors Accounting for Changes in Behavior

      In my theory, the key factors that account for changes in behavior include self-awareness, responsibility and freedom, awareness of nonbeing and death, searching for meaning, and anxiety (Corey, 2009). These perspectives are derived from the existential theory which I find relevant in my line of psychotherapy. An individual’s self awareness is very essential in determining if there will be any alteration in the current behavior. The clients are challenged to recognize how they have been detached from their identity and therefore accept to acquire positive behaviors (Corey, 2009). Clients are free and responsible for the choices they make during psychotherapy.  Cognitive biases and negative schemas highly influence behavioral changes of individuals. Confidence is another factor that significantly determines the rate at which negative behaviors are replaced with positive behavior (Siegfried, 1995). For instance, a confident client acquires appropriate behaviors faster than the inferior clients.  

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Nature of the Therapist-Client Relationship and its Relative Importance

      Therapy is considered as a journey taken by a client and the therapist. For a successful therapist-client relationship, the therapist is required to establish a friendly relationship with his or her client (Corey, 2009). This will encourage the clients to express themselves freely and let the therapist ask the most relevant questions. The therapeutic relationship requires that a therapist be in contact with his or her own world by listening to the client without any form of interruption, such as giving advice (Corey, 2009). The client is therefore encouraged to expose all thoughts and feelings, both negative and positive that includes defensive, painful, abnormal or hostile ones while not feeling exposed for rejection and condemnation. As a way of strengthening the therapeutic relationship, therapists are required to share their reactions to patients with empathy and concern.    

Key Functions and Role of the Therapist

      The therapist is required establish a friendly therapeutic relationship with the clients so that they can freely reveal their problems (Corey, 2009). According to Corey (2009), during a friendly relationship, the therapist understands a subjective world of the client. This enables the therapist to ask relevant questions that helps the clients to find truth and create a meaning in their lives. Therefore, the therapist facilitates encounter of the client with themselves, and helps the client on the exploration and understanding their own values, ideals, and assumptions.

Key Goals of Therapy

      The therapeutic relationship helps clients envision their preferred future so that they can take suitable measures that may help eliminate the present problem (Corey, 2009). The therapeutic relationship is meant to enable the client understand life by destabilizing the unconstructive narrative in his or her individual life (Siegfried, 1995). Existential approach enables the clients to live authentically, live with anxiety and ambivalence, face their life challenges such as fears, live autonomously, have expanded self-awareness, and find their own truth and meaning of life.

Techniques and Procedures

      Understanding a subjective world of the clients is the primary technique in the therapeutic relationship. This can be achieved when the therapist has established rapport with the client. The therapist should not be authoritative during the therapeutic relationship. Questions are necessary in guiding the therapeutic process because the therapist can be able to know whether the clients are whether or not satisfied with their present life (Corey, 2009). The therapist should ensure that he or she practices authenticity and honesty.       

Specific Populations or Client Issues Best Suited for this Approach, as well as those least Suited for this Approach

      Corey (2009) found existential approach as the most appropriate for treating clients with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Existential approach encourages clients to live with anxiety and ambivalence. The age of individuals with PTSD can range from childhood to adulthood. Therefore, there is no specific age for clients under this therapeutic approach. Existential approach is also useful in grief counseling as it enables the clients to understand death. This approach enables individuals to cope with disappoints in career and family life. However, existential approach has been found inappropriate clients who need a problem-oriented and structured approach. Existential approach ignores social factors that underlie human problems.      

      It is evident that existential approach is suitable in enabling individuals to become autonomous and successful in the rest of their lives. The therapist evaluates the client on whether they have successfully discovered their own freedom and responsibility as well as their strengths. Existential approach enables the clients to live authentically, live with anxiety and ambivalence, face their life challenges such as fears, live autonomously, and create a meaningful life. The therapist helps the clients to trust in themselves and arrive at appropriate life decisions, rather than looking to other people to direct them.

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