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The Stellarian Theory: Personal Philosophy of Counseling Term Paper Abiola Stella Oloyede Georgia Southern University COUN 7332: Theories of Counseling November 28, 2012

Nature of Mankind Abiola Stella believed that human nature is composed of two simple concepts: People want to love and be loved, and people are not dumb; they are just lost. These two concepts are what bring understanding to what can be a very confusing existence for many people. It is important to understand an emotionally (or mentally) disturbed client from that realm of existence. For, within that understanding will come the path to healing for the client. The Stellarian Theory focuses a majority of its premises on the young woman client. The familial makeup of a client is extremely important to her competence and mental disturbance, namely the clients personal relationships with the primary caregivers/parents. Her loss stems from the aforementioned relationships, and has an uncanny way of manifesting itself in other non-familiar relationships such as working and friends. For the client, Stellarians believe that the extreme absence or extreme presence of the parent(s) can prove to be developmentally crippling. Stellarians separate and determine parenting styles by two categories: Overprotection (helicopter parents) vs. negligence (absentee parents). For clients whose parents parenting styles were too overprotective, she is emotionally lost due to too much dependency upon her parent and not enough encouragement of autonomy during her rearing. For clients whose parents parenting styles were too negligent, she vies for affection and attention from both her parents and whomever she attaches to. She most often suffers from separation anxiety, as well as General Anxiety Disorder. In both cases of parenting styles, the child is so lost that he or she yearns and looks for guidance, acceptance, and love from anywhere. One of the main avenues that such individuals look for love in is her romantic relationships. She will use her relationships as ways to get the love and bond that she did not have with her parents, or that she never learned how to evolve from with her parents. She will either capitalize on the relationship style she is used to

with her parents (being catered to; cossetted), or she will try to compensate for the lack of care (rationalize abuse; cling onto partner desperately). The development of a healthy individual stems from her individual relationship with both parents. However, the importance of each parents role in the childs life is dependent upon the childs developmental stage. As a child grows, there is a desire by both the child and parent to strive for the childs welfare and independence, and the parents nurture. The parent wants the child to be taken care of and well-off. Regardless of if the parent is the mother or the father, he or she is looking to ensure the welfare of his/her child. However, sometimes that desire can evolve into suffocating and babying the child. Because the parent does not want anything to go awry with the tending and development of his/her child, (s)he may be strict concerning certain things: going out with friends, personal hygiene, etc. The parent may not allow the child to do ordinary or risky activities alone: cooking, going outside to play, ironing clothes, etc. Many daily tasks and activities are thus ruled over and done by the parent, without any type of facilitation of/from the child. This stunts the childs development of autonomy and sense of personal trust. The child never learns how to trust herself and what she is capable of doing/choosing. If the child does not become rebellious, the child may wind up feeling lost and uncomfortable about making her own life decisions. From birth until age three, an individual is completely dependent upon her mother. All the child wants to do is be wrapped in her mothers arms; tended to by her mother; just like her mother. Furthermore, her relationship with her mother from birth to young adulthood is the determining factor of whether or not she will have healthy maternal instincts and success in her romantic relationship(s). If her mother is too overprotective, or a Smother Mother, the

daughter will become resistant to wanting to do anything that emulates her mother and/or her mothers actions. The daughter must be able to breathe (psychologically, emotionally, and physically), or else she will move to detach herself from all maternal reminders. The mother cannot be too detached, or appear to be neglecting her daughter. If she does, the daughter will yearn and search for that void to be filled; further straining her sense of self and ability to love and care for another, maternally and romantically. In both cases, the daughter has no healthy maternal figure to show her how to be confident, empowered, independent, and nurturing. Therefore, she knows no true emotional balance within her femininity. The father-daughter relationship is just as important as that of the mother-daughter. The relationship the daughter has with her father from toddler years to young adulthood is a major determinant of her self-worth, stress levels, and success in romantic relationships (Auer, ByrdCraven, Granger, & Massey 2012). Her father either sets the standard of man that she is worthy of, or set the bar low concerning the standard of man that she deserves. The client will either understand her worth to be on the level that her father treated her, better, or worse. If he was an absentee father, she will look for men that either makes her feel abandoned and worthless, or men that are overprotective. If her father was a great example of what a good father is, she will set her standards to such unrealistic or unattainable heights that match up to that of her fathers. This may sometimes lead her to not understanding that such ideals are hardly realistic for the men (that are attracted to her) to ever meet. Each parents role has great, specific influence on the client. However, both parents involvement in the clients life is necessary for a healthy psychosocial development. Identifying

the role (overprotective/negligent) that the parents played within the childs life is important. It allows the client and counselor to talk, process, learn, and grow from those life experiences while in counseling. The clients human motivation is, and must be, balanced between nature and nurture. Her nature, in this theory, is her personality; naturally timid or aggressive, or any temperament inbetween. Her nurture, or the lack thereof, is stemmed from her relationship with her parents. If there is an offset balance of motivation, it can become emotionally detrimental for her. Too much nature hinders her from understanding that it is necessary to see how her environment plays a major factor in her development and relationship success. She will find it hard to understand that everything that goes wrong in her life is not her fault. The client also misses out on important social cues that are set and understood by all to help us function suitably in society. Too much nurture that leans towards the overprotective spectrum runs the risk of her losing autonomy. Thus, she imposes her need for guidance and direction onto the counselor. If the nurture is lacking, she becomes impressionable, and susceptible to being taken advantage of, even in the counseling setting. Many times, the only changes in client behavior come from unfortunate events happening to them. The events must be ones that rattle their sense of worth, security, and understanding of what love is. Either the client undergoes another feeling of loss (death, abandonment, etc.) or the client is forced to let go (a terrible breakup, divorce, etc.). Sometimes, the client is fortunate to have loved ones that practice what Stellarians use in counseling, and call The Ever Effect. Researched and developed by Stella, The Ever Effect is the natural inclination by a clients loved ones to help her. It is a form of tough love that is

ever-learning, ever-encouraging, ever-supportive, and ever-examining the clients emotional and behavioral discrepancies. The Ever Effect is usually only prompted when the friends and family member are fed up with the behavior of the client; the emotional nurturing/parental loss has impeded into other relationships, and has consumed the client. The client has become too needy, attention-seeking, and impressionable, forcing her loved ones practice the tough love technique. Nature of Counseling As a counselor, one must strive to understand the counselor client as much as possible; every aspect of his or her personality and life matters to the counselors holistic perception of who she really is. The counselor must understand the client as a person, exploring what he or she is thinking, and how she is feeling. It is not enough to just hear a vague narrative of the life the client has lived. The counselor must be willing to ask questions and pick up on certain tidbits of the counselor clients stories that tap, and further delve, into who that individual really is. Most importantly, the counselor must be willing and exceptional at listening to the client (Kirschenbaum, 2012, pg. 19). Upon doing such, the counselor must be there to support and empathize with the clients past and present situations. The clients decisions matter not to the counselor, as much as her confidence and in her choices. The counselor is not in the session to blame, direct, or approve. As the clients support system, the counselor is there to listen and question the motive and desire of every decision the counselor client makes. The Stellarian belief is that through the counseling process, the client is left uncertain about nothing. Therefore, she is empowered enough to make further sound decisions with confidence in her own voice.

The client must feel empowered both in and outside of counseling. The only way the client can feel empowered outside counseling is if the counselor remains congruent, respectful, loving, and willing to help with her growth while in counseling. Thus, the counseling process is not about you the client or the counselor, but us/we the unit that is bonding to encourage congruence and stability within the clients psyche. It is important to emphasize that the clients success in the counseling process lies within her willingness to be open and communicate. The client must be willing to be open, honest, and cooperative with the counselor. It is also very important that the client learns how to take charge of the counseling session, and further apply such initiative into her own self-healing and learning in her personal life (Bohart and Tallman, 1999). Although this is not to be used to undermine the counselor, this is to compensate for what was missing in the parent-child connection as the client grew up. The client was deprived the ability to be open and honest with her primary caregiver, specifically her mother. Therefore, counseling affords her the opportunities to do so with her counselor, using transference as a means to a psychologically dysfunctional end. As the client talks, she is able to process, learn, and grow as one would do in healthy child-parent relationships. The counseling environment is there to help facilitate a certain growth that was missing in the clients childhood and upbringing. Consequently, the client must clearly define what she wants out of the counseling process. This definition of goals can be at the beginning or at different stages of the counseling process. The outlining of goals is done with multiple reflections about clients progression while in therapy.

Stellarian therapy mainly focuses its techniques on a more formalized practice of The Ever Effect. Counseling focuses on ensuring that counseling is ever-learning, ever-encouraging, ever-supportive, and ever-examining for the client. During counseling, Stellarians utilize four mini-techniques within The Ever Effect to help maximize the clients healing potential. Parables are short stories that teach a valuable lesson, moral, and/or guiding principle. In Stellarian therapy, parables are used by the counselor to allow the client to see her situation from a different perspective. The counselor changed the names of all the characters involved, alter the problem, and pose a what/how question about the parable to the client. Depending on what the client says in pertinence to the parable, the two will begin to verbally process through the parallels between the clients situation and that of the parable. Hypotheticals are detailed scenario walk-throughs with the client that focus on the What-Ifs of the clients situation. Usually used for major life decisions, Hypotheticals are intended to allow the client the opportunity to see how the different choices made concerning her situation, life, etc. plays out. This enables the client to better weigh her options about her decision before making one in real life. The goal of Hypotheticals is to grant the client a thorough process of how one decision can alter her life in many ways. Empty-chair technique was adopted from Gestalt therapy. The empty-chair technique gets the client to externalize the introjectusing two chairs, the therapist asks the client to sit in one chair and be fully the top dog and then shift to the other chair and become the underdog (Corey, 216). The top dog refers to the aggressive, blaming, righteous, manipulating individual that the client has an issue with. The underdog refers to the passive, defensive individual that manipulates the relationship by playing victim (Corey, 216). Since much of Stellarian therapy is

about verbally processing through the clients problems and emotional loss, this affords the client to say what they have always wanted to say to the absentee or overbearing parent, without the same backlash she would receive from the actual person. Levy and Scala (2012) define transference as a tendency in which representational aspects of important and formative relationships (such as with parents and siblings) can be both consciously experienced and/or unconsciously ascribed to other relationships. Transference is the basic premise of psychotherapy. Stella took the technique developed by Sigmund Freud and amplified its purpose. The clients unconscious is still shifting her feelings and fantasies about significant people in her past onto the counselor. However, once the counselor realizes that the client is experiencing transference, immediately, the counselor has the client sit up and face him or her. Once facing the counselor, the client is instructed to stay within that resurfaced emotion and talk to the counselor (knowingly) as she would to the individual. Unlike with the empty-chair technique, no onecounselor or clientis allowed to speak as the invisible, significant person would. Instead, the counselor asks the client why that emotion and/or person came to the forefront of her mind. Thereafter, the two will work together to point out discrepancies, unsettled problems, true feelings, etc. of the client and that person. Giving the client the opportunity to say and feel everything that she would not ordinarily get to do with the person in front of her.

References

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Bohart, A. C., & Tallman, K. (1999). How clients make therapy work : The process of active self-healing / Arthur C. Bohart and Karen Tallman. Washington, DC : American Psychological Association, c1999. Byrd-Craven, J., Auer, B. J., Granger, D. A., & Massey, A. R. (2012). The fatherdaughter dance: The relationship between fatherdaughter relationship quality and daughters' stress response. Journal Of Family Psychology, 26(1), 87-94. Corey, G. (2009). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy: Eighth edition. Belmont, California: Brooks/Cole, c2009. Kirschenbaum, H. (2012). What is person-centered? A posthumous conversation with Carl Rogers on the development of the person-centered approach. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies. Vol. 11, No. 1, 1430. Levy, K. N., & Scala, J. (2012). Transference, transference interpretations, and transference focused psychotherapies. Psychotherapy, 49(3), 391-403.