Psychology has made great strides in the development of principles and methods and the discovery of facts which find useful application in various aspects of everyday life. The objectives of psychology are : (1) to understand human behavior; (2) to predict human behavior by means of observation and experiment; (3) to influence or alter the behavior of he individual or group in desirable ways so that he can achieve the goal he desires (McLeod, 1998). Psychology is the scientific of human behavior and mental processes; a study which is of considerable interest to almost all people.
In the pursuit of this study is the important feature of understanding the goals or objectives. To describe, explain and predict behavior and if possible control or modify it, are the main objectives of this scientific discipline. These objectives confine as well as broaden student’s approach towards a deeper perspective of the field in the sense that he/she will have a grasp on the variety of subject matters that psychology provides, the advances or breakthroughs it has attained, its inadequacies and shortcomings, as well as forthcoming challenges the discipline faces.
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Since human individuals are complex and changing, the study is fascinating yet possesses a certain degree of difficulty. Fascinating because it explores all the facets of being human and possessing a certain degree of difficulty because of its multifarious sub-disciplines. Behavior is described and analyzed (McLeod, 1998). On this basis, an attempt to predict behavior is possible, and although this may not thoroughly and completely be accomplished in some endeavours, the basic understanding then is that there are certain expectations concerning how any person would act or decide upon things that are within his conscious awareness.
Psychology is of great importance to man since psychological problems are common to group relations, in whatever framework a person or group of individuals come from (McLeod, 1998). The work of a counsellor is a privilege since the counselee or client will be unfolding his life and makes himself vulnerable to a stranger. It is not an easy choice to make hence, all the training and knowledge would be indispensable to help the client reveal and trust himself to another. Counselling is not a very easy job.
But it can be facilitated well when there is a clear vision of what and how it unfolds in the relationship that is established with the client (Nelson-Jones, 1988). A healthy personality does not mean it does not have any difficulties at all. It means that a person has the capabilities to withstand any turmoil or stress that come his way. He has learned the skills to make him adjust to the internal and external stresses; minimizing conflicts from within and without but in a healthy and normal functioning way.
Personal growth occurs in the context of self-insights; insights concerning the workings of one’s mind in relation to the structures and stimuli around the person. The self-insight is very significant and crucial to the client for him to be able to work well with those who are there to assist in his recovery and eventual personal growth (Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980). The important thing is that of flexibility and resiliency on the counselor’s part when to apply or implement the theory (i. e.
, person-centred in this case) in the context of the client. It starts with the identification of specific problems and especially the root causes (Lishman, 1994). When this is confidently achieved, the therapist is actually midway to attaining his/her goals which includes not only the relief of the symptoms that the sufferer is currently experiencing but especially the reduction of the occurrence if not altogether eliminated. The specific treatment goals are likewise essential and it helps in the remaining aspects or levels of the process.
The diagnostic part by itself in most cases is considered therapeutic since many clients have experienced immediate relief. In addition, another important ingredient in the process is to identify effective reinforcers which help people in crisis for instance or those in acute and chronic mental and emotional anguish to sustain their plan for change and control of their disorders. Helping the client set up a kind of self-help management program is a very effective strategy to pursue within the relationship (Smith 1997, 2004). Nature of the therapeutic approach
Within the person-centred approach human nature is understood as that of the individual possessing to the innate capacity of man towards growth, health and fulfilment which means that man is basically good and equipped to face many obstacles in life. Client-centred therapy avoids the imposition of goals on the patient or client during therapy. It is the client who takes the lead in the session and of the conversation. It is the job of the therapist to create the conditions conducive to the client’s positive judgment of those experiences that are intrinsically satisfying to the client.
The ‘goal’ then is to reach the point where the client desires to be a good and “civilized person. ” Unconditional positive regard enhances this atmosphere however, and although the goal may be difficult to achieve, unconditional positive regard eventually, according to Rogers, encourages even the “`unbehaved” to conform or even transform (Corey, 2004; Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980). Anchored on Carl Rogers’ theory on the person-centered approach of understanding behavior and applying such an understanding to the “healing” process, the concept of congruence is among the highlights of this renowned theorist’s perspective.
It is understood as a concept which usually starts or initiated by the therapist or practitioner and modelled to the client whereby the former displays more of the real person that he/she is and reducing denial of the real struggles or feelings that tend to be kept inside (Smith, 1997; Rogers, 1951; Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980). In the process, the client learns to unveil the real self rather than assume a facade which not only masks the real problems, make the therapeutic relationship increasingly difficult (Rogers, 1959).
Rogers probably in his long years of exposure to different clients or patients, found commonality in his interactions that help facilitate better recovery and congruence as modelled by a therapist eventually gained its place in his approach. Application or Action Point: Case study: “Mrs. Todd was admitted to an elder care home following the death of her husband and at the request of her daughter, aged 70, who could no longer manage. Six months after admission Mrs Todd refused to get out of bed for a week, saying that there was no point.
During the sensitive questioning by the residential social worker revealed that Mrs Todd had never come to terms with the loss of her husband. On top of this she had been unable to put into words her grief, plus the perception that she had lost control independence, despite high-quality care in the home, had resulted in confused thinking, distortion of grief and withdrawal. ” There are some “steps” that had been coined by Rogers to put the theory in “action, so to speak. However, it is imperative that the progression of the helping relationship is not forced or hurried.
The goal in this case is for Mrs, Todd to be “influenced” by the counsellor’s sense of optimism which means that these positive characteristics must somehow rob off on the client. Roger’s understanding is that helping someone can only be most effective when the person is encouraged or has moved on from a state of despondency to vitality regardless of her/his circumstances. This is the primary reason that Roger’s extensive discussion also revolves around the congruent self (Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980).
One important aspect of the person-centred approach is the empathy that should be exhibited by the counsellor/therapist. Carl Rogers (Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980) initiated the model with the premise that within each person is the capacity to eventually surpass any obstacle with the help and support of critical people. The unconditional positive regard which when cultivated by a therapist is believed to be very crucial to the recovery and healing of the patient.
There is curative value to the skills which, importantly, shall comprise the approach that the therapist takes in the course of their healing relationship. In the case of Mrs. Todd whose state of discouragement and grief had not been overcome will be a point of reference for the counselling setting. The person centred therapist is a believer that when given time, a patient-listening-ear and other skills, help for Mrs. Todd is to tap the inner strength that she possesses can be had.
The goals of therapy include the readjustment of a person’s understanding of himself, becoming aware of the discrepancies of his real experiences and real self versus the projection of other’s viewpoints and rubbing these onto him, thereby affecting the person of the right attitude and perspective of what life is truly all about (Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980). Because the emphasis is on the uniqueness of the individual, it goes beyond the mere acceptance of the real worth of the self. It also accepts that there are realities in life that need to be accepted but the individual must transcend above these unwelcoming encounters.
The importance is to accept as well that one’s choices and decisions are important and the person must accept his responsibility of the consequences of his actions (Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980). One important aspect of the person centered approach is the empathy that should be exhibited by the counsellor/therapist. Carl Rogers initiated the model with the premise that within each person is the capacity to eventually surpass any obstacle with the help and support of critical people. The unconditional positive regard which when cultivated by a therapist is believed to be very crucial to the recovery and healing of the patient.
There is curative value to the skills which, importantly, shall comprise the approach that the therapist takes in the course of their healing relationship (Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980). The therapeutic nature of the person centred therapy to help this person get the insights, not only to the death and the sense of loneliness and seemingly abandoned feelings at this point in her life, but especially to the fact that other lives are affected as well is not easy as it may seem when one uses this approach. Mrs. Todd must wade through her confusions, her feelings of despondency and the sense of hopelessness.
What is actually happening when there is a gradual realization of these issues and the hope that the future may hold for her, is that the practitioner is more than a crutch and a pole that pulls the patient. The therapist with or without the conscious awareness of the patient is her source of strength and resolve to weather the seemingly heavy burden ahead of her. That is why for many, this approach has become widely used; it is to an extent a very successful model in the field of psychotherapy (Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980).
The client or person-centred therapy is persuaded that a person is only understood from the point of view of his or her own perception and emotionality or feelings, also known as the phenomenological world. It takes time to be able for the therapist to look into how Mrs. Todd, in this particular case, experience events not just at the events that Mrs. Todd is experiencing; i. e. , her problems and her seemingly hopeless outlook. Mrs. Todd‘s phenomenological world is a major determinant of behavior and what makes Mrs. Todd’s unique from other patients (Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980)
The person-centred therapeutic goals attempt to empower the patients or clients to increasingly be made aware and accepting of the real self’s true beliefs and worth and condition the person to realize these –worth and self-acceptance within the therapeutic relationship. The management then is not impossible but neither is this easy. Specifically, the counselee or patient must want to heal or believe that there is going to be curative effects in the process. It presupposes that he/she must learn to trust the therapist in his/her capabilities as well in leading or facilitating the changes or modifications.
It is very much essential that (in the perspective of a cognitive-behaviourist) that the client understands ownership to the deeds and choices in thought patterns he/she made are crucial to the recurring or occurring condition that s/he experiences (Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980)). Moreover, the identification of specific treatments or interventions according to the diagnosed issue will be accommodated and implemented based on the chosen treatment modalities fit with the therapeutic approach utilized.
Another contention of this approach is that the therapist should never attempt to manipulate the circumstances for Mrs. Todd. What is important is that Mrs. Todd should create conditions that will empower her to make decisions of her own. The premise of this approach lies in the belief that when a person like Mrs. Todd is no longer concerned with the evaluations, preferences and demands that others make upon her, she will then be released to spur on and live according to the expected innate tendency to self-actualize or reach her potential self.
Many of those who use this approach however, do not usually strictly use the pattern that Rogers indicated in his model. In this case, a counsellor’s personality and disposition must merge well with this approach. This is because, the skills needed are at times individual in nature; the crucial aspect then is how some of the strategies must be patient to put up plain unconditional positive regard (Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980). There is no hundred percent guarantee that Mrs.
Todd will be able to fully heal in every aspect of her struggling life. Her problems can be real as she has to cope with the loss that can no longer be restored. So much so that it is not easy in the individualistic society that America is and become confined in a home or institution whose caregivers may be distant. When a therapist pursues the client with tenacious determination to enable and empower the patient, it is not impossible that the likes of Mrs. Todd will have her life back and find meaning even in the twilight of her years.
Conclusions It is always worthwhile to spend ample time thinking and studying the many-faceted dimensions of human persona, from physical to moral and psychological areas among others. It has contributed a lot to my personal understanding of self-awareness and the development of the consciousness and sensitivity of what other humans like me are going through. It caters to a deeper understanding as well as acceptance of people’s frailties, and also their strengths. ~Nature and Importance of therapy
Behavior is described and analyzed. On this basis, an attempt to predict behavior is possible, and although this may not thoroughly and completely be accomplished in some endeavours, the basic understanding then is that there are certain expectations concerning how any person would act or decide upon things that are within his conscious awareness Psychology is of great importance to man since psychological problems are common to group relations, in whatever framework a person or group of individuals come from.
Although an immediate relief is very helpful, this may not always be the case in most illnesses. The goal as mentioned is to provide long-term reduction of the symptoms and the occurrence of the disease altogether if possible. The management then is not impossible but neither is this easy. Specifically, the counselee or patient must want to heal or believe that there is going to be curative effects in the process. It presupposes that he/she must learn to trust the therapist in his/her capabilities as well in leading or facilitating the changes or modifications.
It is very much essential that (in the perspective of a cognitive-behaviourist) that the client understands ownership to the deeds and choices in thought patterns he/she made are crucial to the recurring or occurring condition that s/he experiences (Seden, 1995). ~Promoting therapy Psychotherapists believe that therapy contributes a lot to the improvement of the psychological condition of the client (Seden, 1995). Therapy can come in many varied forms and the use of these or any of these has been proven to be of vital significance to clients from various walks of life and with myriads of problems or mental and emotional challenges.
Therapy may be long-termed analytical experiences or encounters or brief problem-oriented treatment/intervention. Whatever the case, these consultations and in-depth interactions and activities between a practitioner therapist and the client in most cases, are beneficial (Burnard, 1992, 1994). The relationship here is that the therapist and client relate in a cordial and friendly manner and the therapist propels the conversation in an energized tone (Hough, 2002). This sets the pace for the client to talk about themselves, how the feel about anything and everything surrounding their lives.
More to that, this intricate relationship and dialogue with the therapist assist the client to hear themselves and how they experience themselves, how the therapist experiences them, how they experience the therapist as an individual and friend and so on Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980) Needless to say this kind of therapy can be very tricky to use especially in the case of two opposite sex. It may yield a counter transference and the therapeutic distance. This may impede on the effectiveness of the therapy.
It is therefore important that the therapist be very self aware of himself and objective through out the whole process of therapy. He should be in close monitoring of the evolution of the relationship with the client and on the look out for potential obstruction or abuse of power during the sessions of therapy (Smith, 1999, 2004; Rogers, 1980). This is not only a requirement in gestalt psychotherapy but basically in all psychotherapies. It is required by law that the therapist should always keep a therapeutic distance from the client because a breach in observing that distance is tantamount to abuse.
This is because in therapy the client is usually vulnerable to the therapist and may feel pressured to please the authority (therapist) although in the real situation, this would be atrocious. This means that if not in the jurisdiction to the therapist to choose for the client what is morally right or wrong since the foundational basic of this therapy is that the client is responsible and is capable of charting his/her own course and behavior. Basically, in this therapy it is not about the ‘should’ and ‘should nots’ so to speak since this impedes on spontaneity and the integration of wholesome self awareness (Brearley, 1996).
Burnard, P. (1994) 2nd ed Counselling Skills for Health Professionals. London: Chapman & Hall. Burnard, P. (1992) Effective Communication Skills for Health Professionals. London: Chapman & Hall. Brearley, J. (1996) Counselling And Social Work. Buckingham: OU Press. Hough, M. (2002) A practical Approach to Counselling, 2nd edn. London: Prentice Hall. Lishman, J. (1994) Communication in Social Work. Macmillan. McLeod, J. (1998). Introduction to Counselling. Buckingham: OU Press. (Chpt 1) Nelson-Jones, R. (1988) Practical Counselling and Helping Skills (4th Ed).
London Cassel Rogers, Carl . R. 1951. Client-Centred Counselling, Boston: Houghton-Mifflin. Rogers, Carl . R. 1959. A theory of therapy, personality and interpersonal relationships, as developed in the client-centered framework. In S. Koch (ed. ). Psychology: A study of science. (pp. 184-256). N. Y. : McGraw Hill. Smith, M. K. (1997, 2004) 'Carl Rogers and informal education', the Encyclopaedia of informal education. [www. infed. org/thinkers/et-rogers. htm. Seden, J. (1999). Counselling Skills in Social Work Practice. Buckingham: OU Press.
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