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Reflection of Original Self-Exploration Paper

Essay by   •  August 4, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,241 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,815 Views

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Theories Final Paper

Reflection of Original Self-Exploration Paper

Almost the entire first page of my original self-exploration page discussed how I "have a strong desire to feel and see things the way that person does" and "the desire to adapt to others' ways of thinking." I realize now that this is simply called empathy, which is useful in any counseling situation. Since empathy is such an important skill in counseling and a skill that cannot necessarily be taught, I am pleased to know that I have a career choice that fits my worldview.

Spirituality is another aspect that I discussed several times in my first paper. I wrote "...the idea that we are part of something bigger than us...is therapeutic." Another revealing thought was "I have free will and that I am to use this free will to serve this higher purpose." I saw my thoughts repeated when I read Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. Frankl explains how some men in his concentration camp survived over others was because they could turn towards their inner spirituality and still get meaning - and a reason to survive - out of life (Frankl, 1962). As I review Man's Search for Meaning, I am again moved by Frankl's words and agree with him in every aspect as he describes logotherapy. I especially am drawn to his explanation on how one can discover meaning in life (doing deeds, experiencing value, and by suffering) (Frankl, 1962, p. 113). Essentially, Frankl attributes spirituality to love because love leads to self-transcendence. He says that love is the "ultimate and highest goal to wish man can aspire." (Frankl 1962, p 36)

His idea of making meaning out of suffering and how our attitude towards the suffering effects the meaning we get from it was something I had not discussed in my original paper but probably should have. I am of the belief that everything happens for a reason, even the bad stuff, and that God has a plan for it all. According to Frankl, I am ready to suffer because my suffering would have meaning to me. Religion doesn't have to play a part in making meaning out of suffering, though: It's simply the attitude taken regarding suffering. Someone else might take the stance that their suffering would help their art, that they are saving someone else from suffering, or that they might be contributing to a cause - all are examples of love and transcendence.

This brings me to my final thoughts regarding existentialism and my original paper. I mentioned in my paper how I believe I have free will and that I should use this free will to do good and serve a higher power. In other words, I have freedom and with that freedom comes a responsibility. This is an existentialist thought and would provide a moral compass for me whether I had religion or not.

As passionate as I am about Frankl's thoughts, I don't always believe that love and spirituality have to be the focus of therapy. This is a breakthrough because in my original paper I discussed how I need to overcome how to deal with someone who has no spirituality to make meaning. (Again, I mimicked Frankl's work in my original paper without knowing it.) A key element to logotherapy is creating cognitive change, or changing the attitude one takes when viewing their current plight (Frankl, 1962). In counseling someone who claims to have no spirituality and if I cannot find out what this person deeply loves, then I can take a more cognitive-behavioral approach to the therapy and still keep my logotherapy philosophy in tact: I can maintain my own worldview and still be able to help my client who has a different one.

The next couple of items I discussed in my original paper contradict themselves in terms of theories, meaning there is not a theory that meets all of my worldviews. In my paper I discussed how I believe what happened to us in the past shapes who we are now. I further explain that I think it's important to connect the past to the present and use the insights from that to grow and change (not to create blame or dwell on it). This worldview sits well with psychoanalysis, Adlerian, humanistic, and, to some degree, existentialist theories. However, in my future career as a school counselor, I will not have the extended time with students to get into the techniques that those theories use, so, as much as I think the past is part of person's present, it's not realistic for me to focus on a theory that spends a lot of time focusing on the past.

However, as I mentioned previously, a client's attitude toward a situation is important in how they see the situation. This worldview - that circumstances can be changed by how the client views and reacts to it - can be seen in reality (choice), behavior, REBT, and cognitive therapies. I like the concept of someone taking responsibility and control of his or her own life and making choices and changes to do so. I also like how several of these theories' techniques allow for measurable, tangible goals, which will be useful as a school counselor. Again, the only issue with these theories is that there isn't value on a client's past, and I believe a theory should make room for that if it's important.

My Theoretical Orientation

I would like to say that logotherapy is my theoretical orientation. I am intrigued, moved, and in agreement with Viktor Frankl's philosophy on life, love, suffering, and spiritually. However, in my future career as school counselor, logotherapy and other existential therapies would not be well utilized or logical.

The most logical choice and the theory that connects with my world view is Ellis's rational-emotive behavior therapy, or REBT. This theory is flexible in philosophy, so I don't have to sacrifice the ideas I share with Frankl. REBT also incorporates goal-setting (Day, 2008), which is a technique of value in the school setting.

View of Human Nature

Ellis has a positive view of human nature: He believes that clients are able to daily choose their own thinking to combat emotional troubles (Ziegler, 2000). In REBT, "clients are seen as being largely (but not completely) responsible for their own disturbances (Ziegler, 2000, p. 72)." Ellis believes that 80% of human behavior is contributed to biology, which a person can choose to change and 20% on environmental factors, which a person can choose to overcome (Ziegler, 2000). I appreciate how the REBT theory takes into account factors such as environment, family, culture, and past events that could lead a personal to anxiety, but, for the most part, he suggests, like Frankl, that it's people's attitudes towards those issues that

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