Knowledge And Foundations Of The Field


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Knowledge And Foundations Of The Field

  1. 1. Running head: COUNSELING 1 M7A2: Counseling Christopher Ruper Argosy University
  2. 2. COUNSELING 2 AbstractThis paper is on the advantages and disadvantages of an integrated approach to psychology. Itwill also cover the positive elements successful therapist’s posses. I will also reflect on my ownbeliefs of being a good therapist, what approaches I would use, and how I would approach clientseffectively.
  3. 3. COUNSELING 3 Counseling There is not one approach that is better than another. The best approach is one that atherapist can use effectively to assist the client. Thompson said, “Essentially, no single theorycan account fully for the myriad of [phenomena] that characterize the full range and life span ofhuman experiences. Further, adhering to exclusive models of counseling and psychotherapycould be perceived as limiting therapeutic options when working with clients,” (Seligman, 2006).An effective therapist should learn all approaches and be able to apply them to the right client.Clients can vary and may prefer one approach over another. It also depends on what the clients’problems are. A therapist should utilize their own strengths and stick to approaches that theyknow best; it would be more effective if a therapist used approaches that they know well. Usingapproaches that therapists do not know well can be ineffective and the therapist-client alignmentmight suffer. Clients are also very diverse and using a specific approach all the time will limit atherapist’s effectiveness. A more integrative approach is far more effective because a therapistcan meet the demands of all their clients and build more rapport; by matching their approaches tothe clients’ preferences. “Theorists may use different terms for what may be the same function,”(Argosy University, 2011). The advantages of an integrative approach are the increased options to help clients andmake them feel more comfortable in therapy. It also allows therapists to guide clients and helpthem view their lives from different perspectives. This will help clients better understandthemselves and their environment. Clients with multiple issues, which are common, many needto look at each issue with a different approach. “Research has demonstrated that some treatmentapproaches are more effective than others with particular problems, diagnoses, or types ofpeople,” (Seligman, 2006). Integrating approaches will allow a therapist to help their clients
  4. 4. COUNSELING 4change perspectives and get a better understanding of themselves. Many clinicians use anintegrated approach in modern psychology. “They draw on a variety of theories and interventionsin developing a treatment plan that seems likely to help a given person. In fact, nearly 30% ofpsychologists, 34% of social workers, and 37% of counselors describe their primary theoreticalorientation as eclectic or integrative,” (Seligman, 2006). An integrative approach can also have disadvantages. It is more complicated for atherapist to use different approaches and it requires a higher level of thinking. Therapy should besmooth and effective to the client. A therapist should not stumble around trying to move betweenapproaches. This can make clients uncomfortable. It takes a lot more hours of training for aperson to master different therapy approaches. There are some common themes that are found in every approach. “The fact that someideas are consistent across most of these theories means that there are some elements incounseling that are absolutely essential for successful work with clients,” (Argosy University,2011). One is building rapport, “One of the first things that comes to mind is the relationshipwith clients,” (Argosy University, 2011). Another is, “Clients are striving toward wholeness orintegration,” (Argosy University, 2011). Another is, “Clients are striving toward self-actualization,” (Argosy University, 2011). These two issues are common for clients in allapproaches. Therapists also need to be aware of their clients no matter what approach orapproaches they decide to use. “Therapists need to pay attention to the current behavior of theirclients to determine how the clients are contributing to the problem in the present. It is alsoimportant for therapists to draw the clients’ attention to what is happening presently in thesessions,” (Argosy University, 2011).
  5. 5. COUNSELING 5 There are common personal characteristics among successful therapists. According to Cavanagh they are: o Counselors know themselves well. This is because the skills that they apply to know themselves are the same as the skills they apply to know their clients. o Counselors are psychologically healthy. They ensure that their needs for security, love, power, sex, and affirmation are met outside the counseling relationship. o Counselors are trustworthy. They reflect reliability and dependability by being in time for sessions and keeping their word to clients. o Counselors are honest. They are transparent and genuine. They are able to give feedback to clients in an honest and compassionate manner. o Counselors have the courage to do what they think is most helpful in their personal and professional lives. o Counselors are kind, caring, and compassionate. o Counselors are patient and reflect this by showing more interest in clients than in the results of therapy. o Counselors are sensitive and pick up on the subtle vulnerabilities in themselves as well as their clients. (Argosy University, 2011) People have different motivations and characteristics. I think one can developcharacteristics to become a better therapist. Motivations are a little harder to change. As a personI think I have most of the above characteristics. I have always listened to people and cared abouttheir problems. When I first got into psychology I was more concerned with getting results with
  6. 6. COUNSELING 6clients. I have learned that showing interest in the client is more important than getting results. Ihave learned to not give an opinion if someone is telling me about their problems unless I wasasked. Listening to them can be more important to the person. My motivations to being atherapist are to do something I would enjoy learning about and doing for the rest of my life,doing something ethical, feeling good about helping people, being a respected person in mycommunity, being able to work for myself, and gaining knowledge about people and life. Thehindrances I face are the lack of training I would need to be an effective therapist. I will still haveto get at least a masters degree and complete interning before I could be a therapist. If I were a practicing therapist I would want to understand all approaches and how toapply them. “Thompson’s points seem valid in light of the diversity of people seeking treatmentwho vary according to many dimensions including culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation,intelligence, abilities, interpersonal skills, life experiences, self-awareness, support systems, andsymptoms,” (Seligman, 2006). I would want to be able to use all approaches effectively to treat adiverse group of clients. By understanding my clients’ preferences I could pick the approach orapproaches that would better fit my clients’ needs. I want my clients to feel comfortable with meso they give me useful information. Approaching a client in a way that they would want caneffectively accomplish this. Another advantage to using all the approaches strategically would behelping my clients gain a better understanding of themselves and situation. I believe that viewingproblems from different angles can help a person better understand it. It can also help clients’ inmastering their psychological issues. I do not think I would throw all the strategies into one basket and use them all at the sametime; such as asking different questions to the same thing. I think having different therapysessions with different approach is better; using cognitive therapy one session and behavioral the
  7. 7. COUNSELING 7next session. I would try to use them all in the first part of a client’s therapy and see which onethey liked best. This would help strengthen our alliance and make for happier clients. Evenclinicians who specialize still use an integrative approach. “Even clinicians who adhere to onetheoretical orientation commonly incorporate into their work interventions from other treatmentapproaches,” (Seligman, 2006). This is the right philosophy to have as a therapist. The following 12 factors have combined during the past 20–25 years to move clinicians in the direction of preferring integrative and eclectic approaches over adherence to one specific treatment system (Prochaska & Norcross, 2003): 1. The large and growing number of approaches to treatment; more than 400 treatment systems have been identified 2. The increasing diversity and complexity of clients and their concerns 3. The inability of any one treatment system to successfully address all clients and all problems 4. The growing importance of solution-focused brief approaches that encourage clinicians to draw on and combine interventions from various systems of therapy to find the most effective and efficient strategy for each treatment situation 5. The availability of training opportunities, as well as case studies and other informative literature, that give clinicians the opportunity to study, observe, and gain experience in a wide variety of treatment approaches 6. The requirement of some state and national credentialing bodies that clinicians obtain postgraduate continuing education units; this encourages continued professional growth and development of new skills and ideas
  8. 8. COUNSELING 8 7. Increasing pressure from managed care organizations, governmental agencies, consumers, and others for clinicians to determine the most effective and efficient treatment approach for each client, to plan and document their work, and to maintain accountability 8. The growing body of compelling research demonstrating which treatment approaches are most likely to be successful in the treatment of particular people, disorders, or problems (Seligman, 1998) 9. The increasing availability of manuals, providing detailed and empirically validated treatment plans for specific mental disorders 10. The development of organizations such as the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration that focus on studying and promoting treatment integration 11. The emergence of models providing blueprints or guidelines for logical and therapeutically sound integration of treatment approaches 12. Clinicians’ increasing awareness that common factors among treatment approaches, such as the nature of the therapeutic alliance, are at least as important in determining treatment success as are specific strategies (Seligman, 2006)
  9. 9. COUNSELING 9 ReferencesArgosy University (2011). Counseling Theories. Retrieved on April 19, 2011 from, L. (2006). Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy: Systems, Strategies, and Skills. (2nd ed.). Retrieved on April 19, 2011 from
  10. 10. COUNSELING10