The discipline of counseling indirectly related to the study of the brain, psychology. The two subjects work hand in hand and regardless of a person’s counseling needs, a counselor must always be able to apply psychological theories to adequately solve a problem. It is for this reason that it is vital for a counselor to master certain practical methods in a bid to offer relevant service to clients. The practice of counseling also requires good communication skills for proper understanding between a counselor and a client. Communication requires a counselor to be well equipped with the ability to identify personal propositions for a successful discussion. It would, otherwise, be hard to influence a client to adopt certain recommendations as helping and guiding principles. This paper identifies three main theoretical approaches, based on psychologists’ theories. These include cognitive, behavioral, and psychoanalytic approaches, which apply in the resolution of issues in counseling.
Behavioral counseling is based on the notion that the best way to primarily make an individual learn is by experience. For a counselor, the starting point in helping a client would be analyzing behavior, come up with the definition of a problem, and adoption of a selected goal. Therapy for analyzing clients’ behaviors includes role-playing, individual management training, and assertiveness training among other methods.
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Psychoanalytic approach involves the analysis of the causes of a problem by studying the behavior of both the conscious and subconscious mind with regard to specific issues that a client seeks counseling. Freudian psychoanalysis is the mainstream theory around which other psychoanalysis theories have been coined. It involves engaging clients in activities that would make them know how their minds function. For instance, use of free association, the power of the dream, and transference among other procedures that would make brain active are psychoanalytic methods in counseling. According to Corey (2011a), “The analytical model provides a conceptual framework for understanding an individual’s history, and in this regard, group practitioners can learn to think psychoanalytically, even if they do not practice psychoanalytically,” (p. 158).
Conventional psychoanalytic involves making a client lie in a relaxed mood; then, a counselor notes down what interpretations client communicates with reading client’s mind. Other methods than the Freudian psychoanalytic therapy include Journal Therapy, object-relations, and Jungian among others. Nonetheless, all the methods deal with the analysis of the unconscious motivation. Whereas the psychoanalytic methods are generally lengthy, in the recent times, modern therapists have come up with therapies that take less time.
Cognitive theory bases its argument on the idea that thoughts of humankind is influenced by how an individual feels. The cognitive therapies are:
- Transactional Analysis
Counselors, intending to use these therapies, ought to resolve clients’ current problems by assisting them in the identification of early events that made them have a distorted thinking. They could be emotional discomforts. Less emphasis is put on the past events, but rather the cause of distress that affects current thinking. Cognitive approaches would include the collaborative relationship between a client and a counselor, use of homework sessions, and monitored tendencies within a specified short duration. The therapies are effective in treating depression, anxiety or hunger management problems.
William Glasser, who was born in the year 1925, developed the reality therapy approach back in the 1960s, but its applicability was tested in the 1970s. In the period, Glasser employed the control theory in order to give an explanation of reality therapy. He, later, changed the name of the therapy to choice theory in the late 1990s, which now explores what ideals Glasser has developed so far. Glasser opines that the theory believes in the idea that all life complexities that can be addressed under choice therapy are similar. This is regardless of whether the issues involved are unsatisfactorily related or not. The therapy would be successful if counselors can assist clients in developing a satisfying relationship that could help them behave in accordance to accepted codes of behavior in the society.
Whereas it would be a violation of human right, the freedom to make a choice, mandatory military is likely to benefit the society for the youth. The idea to keep the immature minds preoccupied with responsible training is vital in stumping out social problems, facing modern societies. In addition, vocational training, offered in the military, is adequate to secure a job position or just start the academic career. The notion that mandatory military service is a violation of basic human right is untrue because the training is recognized under state and federal law.
Mandatory military service for youth can help to reverse increased criminal acts that befell modern societies and improve level of maturity of the group. Rising levels of insecurity is a result of the group’s exposure to social rot in the society. The service will preoccupy them until maturity, where one can enroll to offer service to the national building. The only excuse to mandatory military service should be on health grounds or if an individual is in some other apprenticeship programs. In addition, there is no crime in defending one’s country instead of staying idle and claiming benefits from the central government. The mandatory military service will equip the youth with relevant skills in addressing modern world challenges as envisaged in the reality theory.
The traditional approach of unveiling the undercurrents of racism lies in the ideas of two theories: personality and cognition. To begin with, personality view became popular in the post World War II (WWII), when the theory was used to explain the aftermath of WWII events. The existence of Holocaust was an exemplification of what transpired from hatred that was held by conflicting groups’ interests in the war. This raises upheaval on the likely causes of prejudice as even the most developed societies were caught in the war. This approach has its weaknesses as it relies on emergence of anti-Semitism and fascist perceptions in developing its framework.
In order to understand how racism affects an individual in the current environment, a therapist should understand the historical events that led to the division and cause of racial abuses. One way of analyzing is via the use of cognitive psychology. This approach is significant in psychology studies as it attempts to give an understanding of what informs racist remarks and why it is a global concern. Cognitive account of racism arises from analysis of the social history that gave rise to racial discrimination and economic inequality. For instance, the American racism of the South before the 1950s was based on segregation, where children of the Blacks were not allowed to go to school with the Whites children, even if they came from same neighborhood. Cognitive theory holds that it is possible to change mindset by changing social practices.
The Family Therapy
The family therapy was founded after its relevance in the post World War II era. It was used to resolve after war depression, caused to veterans who returned from war. They had to get back to the society and their families. In addition, there was a need of resolving the mental health spectra by explaining why some patients did not recover from their depression after rejoining their families. Then, therapists initiated programs to address family dynamics by developing psyche against undercurrents outside the detractors.
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Relevance in Immigration policies
Family relationships play a critical role in immigration and resettlement decision making. However, it is prudent to note that there are a number of reasons that compel people to opt for immigration. Some of these reasons include: economic prospect in another country, political instability in motherland, and the need to connect with relatives who had already immigrated to a given country. This shows how families are affected by separations as result of immigration. This has called for recipient countries to adopt strict measures and policies that are geared towards mitigating the impact of immigration on family members. In this regard, there are legal measures which are put in place to harmonize the immigration issues and arbitrate where there is a need.
Social and economic effect of immigration is far-reaching. Therefore, recipient countries should draft policies, which necessitate the legal framework upon which immigrants from their countries could be protected. This step is crucial in tapping economic benefits for growth and development of their mother countries. This is facilitated by giving immigrants work permits, which allow them to access employment opportunity and contribute to economic growth from proceeds of taxation.
Alfred Adler developed this theory and it is also referred to as individual psychology. The therapy is considered common sense psychotherapy, based on the premise that people become what they move towards in the future. As such, human concerns tend towards subjective aims and goals instead of objective past events. The theory holds that individual actions emanate from the social issues, upon which a person builds interest when dealing with tasks. The theory emphasizes on individual ability to think positively in a bid to attain maximum cooperation in the society. The human race has the capability of interpreting, influencing, and creating events. At an early age, a child is able to create unique perception of life and this perception remains constant in influencing future life. Study by Gobbo and Raccanello (2011) shows that the way an individual narrates past events is associated with the manner in which one copes with negative events in life. Negative events affect the psychological well-being and as such, it would be significant to devise ways to positively influence children’s perception (p. 93).
As noted by Walthall, Konold, and Pianta, (2005), “Poor social skills have been found to be associated with unsuccessful peer play, feelings of sadness, and externalizing behavior problems” (p. 211). Due to this, assessing a child’s social skills is a significant step in psych education or in developing what is known as psychological services. The instrument, used in the assessment of psychological services, is the Social Skill Rating System (SSRS), which measures all domains of social functioning. These are ability to cooperate, self-assertion and self-control. The values that children see in their inner state are difficult to observe by others and this is what informs the relevance of self-reports in assessing children’s own and peculiar perspectives.
The main concept of Adlerian theory is based on the unity of personality, subjectivity of individual perceptions, and the significance of lifetime goals and values that a person holds. These determine the direction of behavior that a person develops. The human race gets motivated by a number of social events that would be of interest in defining what give meaning to life. In addition, the concept of striving to find importance and superiority in the society in a bid to develop unique lifestyle, understanding, and values of family also inform this theory. In these regard, the theory proposes giving therapy by providing encouragement and helping clients change their perceptions through cognitive and behavioral parameters.
- To test an individual’s important perceptions of life goals
- To give encouragement to a person in order to influence adoption of useful and important social behavior
- To encourage a client to develop a sense of belonging
Relationship with approaches to therapy
The theory emphasizes on joint responsibility, determination of mutually inclusive life goals, the equality of human race, and the significance of building trust and respect with others. The Adlerian theory focuses on the identification, exploration, and disclosure of goals that would be mistaken, based on wrong assumptions on a client’s way of life.
The theory is named after book title, written by Fritz and other in 1951. The term Gestalt is a German word that means whole and the theory is based on therapy of here and now. Therapists, using this theory, aid clients in the identification of their attentive parts like posture, and rate of breathing. The therapy works out individual’s unresolved conflicts on the assumption that they are happening now. The therapy emphasizes on personal responsibility that would result to an individual’s wellness via information on the environment influences social interactions.
A person, according to this theory, strives for a sense of wholeness, an integrated thinking, behavior patterns, and feeling. The notion of Gestalt therapy is non-deterministic as it views an individual as one who has ability to recognize current behaviors, which were influenced by past events. It gives an experiential approach towards the here-and-now theory, which puts emphasis on personal choices and responsibilities.
Emphasis is on what and how in the experience of here-and-how, which in therapy helps a client to get to terms with all facets of their lives. Among the concepts of the theory are:
- Process of figure formation
- Need to finish up
- To help clients gain awareness of moment-to-moment life experiences in a bid to encourage capacity for choice making
- To not only analyze but also come up with an integration
Relationship with approaches to therapy
The theory gives central significance to “I” or “Thou” with regard to how effective an individual therapist addresses clients’ needs. It is, however, important to note that a counselor’s attitude is critical in the success of this therapy rather than technique adopted. It is not the responsibility of a counselor to interpret meaning to clients but help them identify ways of making their own interpretation. Clients should resolve their unfinished businesses that result from past events, which interfere with current functioning.
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Carl Rogers developed the theory back in the 1940s on similar basis with Adlerian therapy on the idea that all individuals are “becoming” and advancing towards self-actualization. According to Rodgers, every person has internal ability to reach any height of achievement right from the time a person is born. A newborn child has all it takes to achieve life goals, but this ability is foregone if life experiences at some instant make one lose focus on achieving set goals. Mental illness is a perception that does not hold for this theory as the theory holds that there is always a disconnection from the realization of stipulated self desires. This is the theory of utmost optimism.
Carl Rodgers; author of the Rogerian therapy
- Client is aware of main concepts and this necessitates identification of own problems for an amicable solution
- Thought plays a significant role incongruency of main ideas of self and real self.
- There is a discrepancy in accepting what one is and what one wants to become
- Emphasis is on current issues, affecting a person
- To provide a serene environment for a client to explore self with intent to overcome burdens of the past
- To assist clients move towards embracing openness, trust and morale boost
- Relationship with approaches to therapy
Relationship with approaches to therapy
The theory stresses the need to have human virtues as necessity to understanding client’s attitudes and effective communication. This would create a good relationship with client in order to initiate good client-counselor relationship.