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Personal Theory on Counseling

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My Personal Theory of Counseling

How can one become an effective therapist? Is it enough just to be a good person according to society and encourage our clients to do so as well? Indeed, being a good person and striving to help others is an admirable trait, becoming an effective therapist means much more than this. Our clients look up to us and value our opinions. If we make life-oriented choices, radiate a joy for life, and are real in our relationships with our clients, we can motivate them to develop these same life-enhancing qualities (Corey, 2009, p. 17). Additionally, we must be well grounded in the various theories of counseling. As a professional counselor, we are the one who ultimately decides what we will say to each and every one of our clients. It is our responsibility to define ourselves and create our own theory that we will use when working with our clients without imposing our values on them or forcing them to change. Counselors are not in business to change clients, to give them quick advice, or to solve their problems for them. Instead, counselors facilitate healing through a process of genuine dialogue with their clients. (Corey, 2009, p. 6) My own personal model for counseling will effectively integrate aspects of Person-Centered Therapy, Feminist Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Human Nature

I believe that humans are naturally inclined to do good, however, through certain circumstances and life events, they might get setback or choose to make decisions that might harm themselves or others. I believe that when working with a client, they themselves are not the problem, the problem is the problem and that all clients have the means to solve their own problems with a little guidance from us as the counselor. The two theories that resonate with most regarding my views of human nature would be Person Centered Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy. Corey (2009) stated, "His (Roger's) professional experience taught him that if one is able to get to the core of an individual, one finds a trustworthy, positive center." (Rogers, 1987a) As previously stated, I firmly believe that all humans have a yearning to do good, but when placed in certain situations they might find themselves making decisions which put them in some predicaments. When attempting to help clients, I will focus on my client's strengths rather than weaknesses, allow them to set goals for themselves, assist them in achieving these goals. Finally, utilizing the Solution Focused model of therapy, I will focus on what is working in my client's lives rather than what is not working. Metcalf (2001) informed us, "Solution Focused therapists promote hope by helping clients discover exceptions, times when the problem is less intrusive in their life." As O'Hanlon (1999) states: "It (Solution Focused Therapy) encourages people to move out of analyzing the nature of the problem and how it arose and instead to begin to find solutions and take action to solve it" (p. 11).

Changes in Behavior

Incorporating Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (which is a form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy), I believe that all behavior is purposeful and that cognitions drive behaviors. Internal dialogue plays a central role in one's behavior. We have a strong tendency to make and keep ourselves emotionally disturbed by internalizing self-defeating beliefs such as these, which is why it is a real challenge to achieve and maintain good physical health (Ellis, 2001a, 2001b). Additionally, drawing from Person-Centered therapy, all humans have an inclination of becoming fully functioning. Humans generally behave in a way that they are able to change and live effective and productive lives. However, sometimes we face challenges which might hinder our behavior. Therefore, we attempt to make changes because we want to live a satisfying, morally sound, productive, successful life.

Therapist-Client Relationship

I establish my definition of the therapist-client relationship based upon concepts of Person-Centered Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, and Feminist Therapy. I place a high emphasis on the therapist client relationship. The relationship between the therapist and the client should be genuine and based upon trust. It is essential to create a sense of trust so clients will return for further sessions. If trust is not established, clients are unlikely to follow through with recommendations (De Jong & Berg, 2008). I believe that the relationship between a therapist and client should be collaborative. The therapist should help empower their client without imposing their own values upon the client (the client is the expert in the relationship) and encourage their client to explore their strengths and create solutions. Including clients from the initial through the final sessions helps to keep clients engaged in the therapeutic relationship as well as helps the relationship to remain as egalitarian as possible. When counselors make decisions about a client for the client rather than with the client, they rob the client of power in the therapeutic relationship. Collaboration with the client in all aspects of therapy leads to a genuine partnership with the client. (Corey, 2009, p. 352)

Role of the Therapist

The therapist's role in my personal theory of counseling is derived from Solution Focused, Person-Centered, Feminist, and Cognitive Behavior (specifically REBT) Therapies. While



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