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THEORETICAL ORIENTATION PAPER

TheoreticalOrientationPaper
EmilyJames
DrakeUniversity
BengErgnerTekinalp
December7th,2013

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THEORETICAL ORIENTATION PAPER

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Whilereadingaboutandresearchingthedifferenttypesoftheoreticalmodelsof
counseling,IdiscoveredIwasunabletoconnectwithjustoneofthem.Instead,Ifound
myselflikingbitsandpiecesofafewdifferentones,pullingthemtogethertocreatemy
owntheoryofcounseling.Therefore,Ithinkaneclecticapproachtomytheoreticalviews
ofcounselingwouldsuitmeasapersonandaprofessionalthebest.

WorldView
Whenconsideringapersonsworldviewofcounseling,youmustfirstconsiderthe
differentaspectsthatmakeupaholisticworldview.Viewsofhumannature,health
(mental,emotional,andphysical),andpsychopathologyvs.normalbehaviorareall
aspectsthatcompleteaworldviewofcounseling.SinceIdonotconnectwithonlyone
theoryofcounseling,myholisticworldviewisveryeclectic.Atthistime,Ileantowards
AdlerianTherapy,ExistentialTherapy,PersonCenteredTherapy,andCognitive
BehaviorTherapy.
MyviewofhumannaturemostlystemsfromAdlerianandExistentialTherapy.
Ashumanbeings,wearemotivatedbysocialinterest,goals,hierarchalneeds,and
feelingsofinferiorityorsuperiority.AdlerianTherapytouchesonalloftheseaspects,
andaddsthat,humanbehaviorisnotdeterminedsolelybyheredityandenvironment.
Instead,wehavethecapacitytointerpret,influence,andcreateevents(Corey,104).
However,regardlessofwhatmotivatesus,Ibelieveashumanbeingswehaveadutyto
takeresponsibilityforourselvesandforouractions.Inordertodoso,wemustacceptthe
factthatallhumansmakemistakes;itisinournature.Fortunatelyforus,ourworldand

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itspeoplearemostlygoodandforgiving.Second,third,orevenfourthchancescanbe
grantedtoredosomethinginourlifetime.Itisuptoustocapitalizeontheopportunities
giventous.ExistentialTherapytouchesonthisidea,throughitsviewsofhumanability
todiscoverselfawareness,andthefreedomtochooseanddecideonesfate.Finally,
PersonCenteredTherapyshapesmyviewofhumannaturethroughCarlRogersbelief
that,peoplearetrustworthy,resourceful,capableofselfunderstandingandself
direction,abletomakeconstructivechanges,andabletoliveeffectiveandproductive
lives(Corey,178).RogersbelieftiesintotheideasofExistentialTherapy,thathumans
areinnatelygood.
Healthisanotheraspectofapersonsworldviewofcounseling.Healthisdefined
asthestateofbeingfreefromillnessorinjury,andisusuallysplitintothreeparts:
mental,emotional,andphysical.Eachcategoryvariesfordifferentindividuals,butall
threeareneededtomakeuptheoverallhealthofaperson.Thesethreecategoriesalso
combinetoaffecthowanindividualliveshisorherdaytodaylife.Mentalhealthcanbe
definedasapsychologicalstateofmindwhereanindividualfunctionsatasatisfactory
levelofemotionalandbehavioraladjustment.However,itisdeeperthanthat.Apersons
mentalhealthconsidershowtheyfunctiononacognitivelevelwithotherindividuals,
physicalsurroundings,andproblemsorunlikelycircumstancesthatmayarise.Apersons
mentalhealthdeterminesmuchmoreaboutthemthanwhatcanbeassumedbytheir
physicalappearance.
Emotionalhealthreferstohowanindividualisabletomanageandcopewith
theirownfeelingsaswellasthefeelingsofothers.Itcanalsorefertohowemotionally

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stableapersonisincomparisontoothersofthesameage,race,gender,ethnicity,andso
on.Whereas,physicalhealthisthegeneralconditionapersonsactualbodyisin.
Physicalhealthcorrelateswiththeresultsofanindividualsexerciseandnutritionhabits.
Whencombined,allthreehealthcategoriesmakeupanindividual,anddecidehowthey
willbehave.Whetherornotthisbehaviorisconsiderednormalorabnormalvaries
dramatically.
Ashumans,notasingleoneofusis100%alike.Althoughtwinsmaysharethe
samegeneticfeatures,theirpersonalitiesareneverexactlythesame.Therefore,
psychopathologicalbehaviorversusnormalbehaviorisahardconcepttograsp.What
mayseemasnormalbehaviortoonepersonmaybeabnormalbehaviortoanother.
Whenweconsidersomeonetobedifferentfromus,weoftentermthemandtheir
behaviorasabnormal.However,thisisnotacorrectassumption.Behaviorislearnedand
isdirectlyrelatedtoanindividualsculturalupbringing.Itisimportantthatwetakeinto
considerationapersonscultureandbackgroundbeforetermingthemasabnormaland
potentiallyevendiagnosingthemfromtheDiagnosticandStatisticalManualforMental
Disorders.

DefinitionandPersonalGoalsforCounseling
Thewordcounselingisaveryvagueterm.Counselingcanmeananythingfrom
givingafriendadvicetoseekinghelpfromaprofessionaltosolvepersonalissues.
However,Iliketothinkofmydefinitionofcounselingassomewhatmoreconcise.
Throughreadingaboutthedifferentcounselingtheoriesandcompletingalittleresearch
ontheinternet,Ihavecometodefinecounselingastheactofgivingassistanceand

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guidancetoanotherindividualorgroupinordertohelpresolveanypersonal,social,or
psychologicalproblemsanddifficultiestheymayhave.Thisdefinitionleadsmetoafew
personalgoalsforcounseling,whicharebasedoffofmyeclecticapproach.
MymaingoalofcounselingisonethatalignswiththeviewofPersonCentered
Therapy.AsacounselorusingthistherapyIhopetoprovideasafe,openenvironmentfor
allofmyclients.Thisenvironmentwillbeconducivetoclientsselfexploration,
allowingthemtocontinuallylearnandgrowasanindividual.Itwillalsoallowmyclients
todiscoverandexperienceaspectsoftheirpersonalityorlifethattheywereunawareof
beforeenteringcounseling.PersonCenteredTherapyalsocallsforcounselorstoenable
clientstolearntotrustthemselvesandtofindmeaningintheirlife,whileatthesame
timeexperiencingitfully.Usingthistherapy,myclientswillbecomeselfdirected,well
roundedpeoplethathaveconfidenceinthemselves.
ThesecondgoalIhaveforcounselingisformyclientstodiscoverandaccept
responsibilityfortheirownactionsandbehaviors.LikeExistentialtherapytoucheson,I
believecounselingshouldchallengeclientstodiscoverwhetherornottheyareliving
fullyauthenticlives.Oncethisdiscoveryhastakenplace,clientscanthenlearntomake
choicesthatwillleadthemtobecomingwhattheyarecapableofbeing.Thisgoalfor
counselingincludeshavingclientspracticetakingresponsibilityfortheirincorrectways
ofthinkingandbehaviorasaresultofthatthinkingoutsideoftherapysessions.Having
clientspracticewhattheylearnintherapyoutsideoftheirsessionswillonlystrengthen
theirlearningandchancesofcorrectinginappropriatebehavior.

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ThethirdgoalIhaveforcounselingisformyclientstolearntoengageinmore
realisticthinking.CognitiveBehavioralTherapytouchesonthisidea,andexpandsupon
itwiththeconceptsofcatastrophicthinkingandovergeneralizationbyclients.When
clientstendtogetcaughtupincatastrophicthinkingorovergeneralizingasituation,they
begintocreateselfdefeatingthoughts.Theseselfdefeatingthoughtsonlygrowtoother
aspectsoftheirlife,creatinganeverendingcircleofselfdoubtandnegativity.Asa
counselor,thisissomethingIwanttoavoidwithclients.Mygoalistohelpthemdiscover
theirselfdefeatingthoughtsandbehaviorsandtotransformthemintomorerealistic
thinking.Havingclientsdososhouldgreatlyimprovetheiroutlookoncertainsituations
andlifeingeneral.

CounselorRoleandTherapeuticRelationship
Whileeachcounselingtheoryhasadifferentideaofwhatthecounselorsroleand
therapeuticrelationshipshouldlooklike,ItendtoagreewithAdlerianTherapy,Person
CenteredTherapy,andCognitiveBehaviorTherapy.Inallthreetheories,thecounselor
playsanimportantrole.InAdleriantherapy,thecounselorsmainroleistomakea
comprehensiveassessmentofaclientsfunctioning.Thisassessmentinvolveslearningto
understandthegoalsandmotivationsoftheclient,aswellasdiscoveringtheirmajor
mistakesintheirthoughtprocessandvaluesystem.Ithinkthisisahugeresponsibilityon
thecounselorspart,butifcompletedcorrectlytheclientwillgreatlybenefitfromthe
process.

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InPersonCenteredTherapy,counselorsusethemselvesasaninstrumentfor
change.Throughthetherapistsattitudeofgenuinecaring,respect,acceptance,support,
andunderstanding,theclientsareabletoloosentheirdefensesandrigidperceptionsand
movetoahigherlevelofpersonalfunctioning(Corey,180).Asclientscontinueto
experiencehigherlevelsofpersonalfunctioning,theyarethenabletotransferwhatthey
learnintherapytootherrelationshipsandtheoutsideworld.Iftherapistsareunableto
accomplishthis,clientsmayhaveahardtimechangingtheirbehavioroutsideofhisor
hertherapysessions.
Liketheothertwotherapies,CognitiveBehaviorTherapycallsforthetherapistto
beateacherandrolemodel.Thecounselorteacheshisorherclienttochangetheir
cognitionsthroughtherapeutictechniquesandhomeworkassignments.Inorderfor
clientstomakechanges,theymustfocusonmaintainingacollaborativerelationshipwith
theircounselor.Doingsowillfosteratrustingenvironmentandallowclientsto
understandhowtheirbeliefsandattitudesinfluencethewaytheyfeelandact.
Overall,allthreetherapiescallforarelationshipbetweencounselorandclient
thatshowcasesrespect,collaboration,selfdiscovery,support,andopencommunication.
Asacounselor,Iwanttohavethetypeofrelationshipthatentailsallofthesethings.
Withoutmutualrespect,clientswillnottaketothecounselorssuggestionsandmay
terminatethesessions.Collaborationiskeybetweencounselorandclientasboth
individualsneedtoworktogetherinordertotailorthecounselingsessionstotheneedsof
theclient.Thecounselorandclientwillalsoneedtoworktogetherinordertoidentify
andmanagegoalsforeverytherapysession.Eachtherapyalsocallsfortheclientto

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eventuallyreachsomesortofselfdiscoveryandinsomecasesevenbecometheirown
counselor.Ithinkthisisakeyaspectofthecounselorandclientrelationshipasit
promotesdeeperlearningforclients.Opencommunicationisalsoimportantinthe
relationshipsothateverythingflowssmoothlyduringandbetweensessions.Clients
shouldfeelliketheycantrusttheircounselorandbewillingtoshareanyinformationthat
maybehelpfulinreachingtheirgoalsoftherapy.Boththeactionsofthetherapistand
clientwillaffecttheoutcome(s)oftherapy.
TheoryofBehaviorChange
Behaviorcanchangeduetoanumberoffactors.Not only can behavior change
because of ones genes and the environment, but can also change because of how one
interprets, influences, and creates events within their life. According to Adlerian Therapy,
behavior is purposeful, goal oriented, and conscious. Adlerian Therapy also states that,
generally, people fail to change because they do not recognize the errors in their
thinking or the purposes of their behaviors, do not know what to do differently, and are
fearful of leaving old patterns for new and unpredictable ones (Corey, 111). Without
being taught how to correct their behavior, clients will continue to be reluctant to change.
However, in order for change to be possible, the client must first recognize what needs to
be changed about their behavior.
Behavior can also be changed through the ideas of Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
This therapy believes that certain things individuals do causes them to think or behave in
inappropriate ways. Overgeneralizations, false or impossible goals of
security, misperceptions of life and lifes demands, minimization or
denial of ones basic worth, and faulty values can all cause behavior

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to either change or remain constant until the individual claiming these


behaviors is taught how to change them (Corey, 117). Through
Cognitive Behavior Therapy, clients are challenged to replace their
irrational ways of thinking with more rational belief system. This helps
clients to recognize their self-defeating behavior and encourages them
to confront it.
Another way Behavior can change is through societal pressures
and expectations. Social norms tend to dictate whether or not an individuals
behavior is termed normal or abnormal. If society disagrees with an individuals
behavior or performance, pressure will be applied until the individual does something to
change or to please those around him or her. In this way, an individuals behavior can be
altered through the positive and negative reinforcement or punishment surrounding them.
In order for a changed behavior to be maintained, warmth, empathy, authenticity,
permissiveness, and acceptance are all needed in conjunction with many other things
from an individuals counselor. In order for a negative behavior to change, the clients
must be able to recognize it themselves and be willing to make an effort to change the
problematic behavior. If the client is unwilling to change their problematic behavior, they
will have a hard time reaching their goals in therapy. However, if an individual is willing
to change their behavior, the change will be maintained when the individual is able to
uphold the new behavior and incorporate it into their every day life. Implementing a new
behavior into ones life is not an easy task. Therefore, individuals attempting to do so will
need continuous reinforcement from their counselor and outside factors. While there are
many factors that can also be incorporated into whether a behavior change is continued,

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maintained, or even effective, clients will not be successful in completely changing


unless concrete goals are set and accomplished along the path of change.
IndicatorsofEffectiveness
AsIhavestatedbefore,clientsandthecounselingprocessvarygreatly.Notone
personisalike;thereforeitishardtocompareoneclienttoanother.Conversely,itis
equallyaschallengingtotesttheeffectivenessofthecounselingprocessandan
individualsbehaviorchange.Inordertolessenthischallenge,concrete,manageable
goalsshouldbedeterminedandsetthroughoutthecounselingprocess.Bothshortterm
andlongtermgoalscanbeusedtoaidindistinguishingwhetherornotthecounseling
processisworking.
Iwillconsidermyclienttobeeffectivelyusingtheirtimewithmeifheorsheis
abletoaccomplishthethreegoalsIhavelistedintheDefinitionandPersonalGoalsfor
Counselingsectionofthispaper.InthissectionItalkedaboutprovidingasafeandopen
environmentformyclients,teachingclientstoacceptandholdresponsibilityfortheir
actions,andforclientstodevelopmorerealisticthinkingduringthetherapeuticprocess.
Providingasafeandopenenvironmentforclientsisaneasiergoaltomeasure.Ifaclient
werecomfortableandrelaxedinhisorhersessionswithme,thentheywouldfeelsafe
andwillingtoshareinformation.Shouldaclientbeanxiousandunwillingtodiscuss
certainthingswithme,mygoalandpracticeswouldnotbeeffective.Togethertheclient
andIwouldneedtoaddresshowtoachievethegoalandmaketheclientcomfortable
duringcounseling.

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Mysecondgoalofteachingclientstotakeresponsibilityfortheiractionsand
encouragingthemtolifeafulfillinglifeisalsomeasureable.Throughtalkingwithmy
clientIwillbeabletodecideiftheyareindeedtakingresponsibilityfortheiractions,
thoughts,andbehaviors,oriftheyarestillblamingothers.Conversationsbetweenthe
twoofuswouldalsoleadtheclienttoaselfrealizationofwhetherornottheyareliving
afulfillinglifestyle.Iftheydonotbelievetheyare,wewillreconsidertheirthinkingand
determinehowtoachievethegoal.
Finally,teachingclientstoholdamorerealisticbeliefsystemthantheonethey
currentlyuseismeasureableaswell.Asthecounselor,Iwillneedtoworkwithmyclient
tohelpthemchangetheirthinkingtoentailamorepositivebeliefsystem.Untilthishas
beenaccomplished,mygoalformyclientwillnotbemet.Shouldmyclientswalkaway
fromtherapyfeelingasthoughtheyaccomplishedthesethreegoals,Iwouldviewour
timetogetherandmyteachingsaseffective.However,ifmyclientscannotendtherapy
feelingasthoughtheyaccomplishedthesegoalsIwouldntbeabletoconsiderour
sessionseffective.
Anotherwaytomeasurewhetherornotcounselingifeffectiveandworthwhile
wouldbetousehomeworkassignmentswithclients.Thepurposeofhomework
assignmentsisforclientstobeabletopracticewhattheylearnintheirtherapysessions
outsideofthecounselingoffice.Practicinghomeworkandotherassignmentsoutsideof
thecounselingofficeallowsfortheclienttomakemorerapidgainstowardstheirgoals.It
alsoenablesclientstotesttheirbeliefsandexperimentwithdifferentbehaviorsindaily
lifesituations.Homeworkisflexibleandindividualized,makingiteasiertofollowand

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discusswithcounselors.Whileusingtherapeutictechniques,suchashomework,is
beneficialtotheclient,Ithinkconcretegoalsshouldaccompanythetechniquetofurther
itseffectiveness.Usingtechniquesandgoalshandinhandwillallowclientsand
therapiststomeasureandmonitortheeffectivenessofthecounselingprocessasthey
proceedfurtherandfurtherintoit.Therapeutictechniquesandgoalswillalsoallow
counselorsandclientstorevisitanideaorlearnedbehaviorshouldtheclienthavea
relapse.

IntegrationofPhilosophy
Throughtakingatheoriescourseandthinkingcriticallyabouteachofthetheories
andhowtheyapplytomylife,Ihavediscoveredmyownpersonalbeliefsandvalues
alignwitheachoneofthetheoriesIhavediscussedthusfarinthispaper.Oneofthe
valuesIholddeartomyheartisthatIbelievepeopleareinnatelygoodandmeanwellby
otherpeople.Ialsobelieveinandvaluesecondchancesandthefactthatpeoplemake
mistakes.Notasinglepersoninthiswouldisperfect,nomatterhowhardtheytrytobe,
whichiswhatmakesthesevenbillionpeoplelivinginourworldunique.Weareall
individuals.WhileIknowIamnotaloneinsharingthisvalue,Iwaspleasantlysurprised
toseeaspectsofitthroughoutPersonCenteredTherapy.
AnotherbeliefandvalueIholdisthathumanbeingsarefreetomaketheirown
decisionsandchoosetheirownfate.ThisvaluecanbeseeninExistentialTherapy.
Duringmyfirstyearofcollege,beingabletobemyownpersonbecameimportanttome.
Asanundeclaredstudent,itwascomfortingtoknowIcouldpickanymajorIwantedand

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hadthefreedomtostudywhateverinterestedme.Noonewastellingmewhattostudyor
whotobecome,andtothisdayIappreciatebeingabletomakemyownchoicesasan
adult.IknownoteveryoneisaffordedthesameopportunitiesthatIwas,butIstillbelieve
peopleareabletochoosewhotheywanttobecome,whattheywanttodo,andareableto
shapetheirfateastheyseefit,theyjusthavetobewillingtoputinalittleeffort.
ThethirdbeliefIholdbringsAdlerianTherapyandCognitiveBehaviorTherapy
togetherintoone.AdlerianTherapybelievesthathumansaremotivatedbysocialinterest,
personalgoals,andfeelingsofinferiorityorsuperiority.WhileCognitiveBehavior
Therapybelievesthatindividualstendtoincorporatefaultythinkingintotheirbelief
system,whichleadstoemotionalandbehavioraldisturbancesintheirlives.Iagreewith
bothofthesetherapies.Humanbeingsareverymotivatedbywhatisaroundthem.Every
daywefacesocietalpressuresandareaskedtoconformtosocialnorms.Thesocial
interestthatmotivatesusisalsowhatleadsustodevelopandbelieveselfdestructive
thoughts.Ifanindividualbelievesheorshedoesnotliveuptowhatsocietyexpectsof
themorchoosestoactdifferentlythanwhatsocietydemandsofthem,theymaybeginto
incorporatefaultythoughtsintotheirbeliefsystem.
Forexample,noteveryoneinthisworldacceptsbeinghomosexualasnormal.To
showtheirdisapproval,peoplehavetakentobullyingandviolatingtherightsof
outwardlyhomosexualpeople.Thisharshdisapprovalhascausedsomehomosexual
individualstobelievewhatcriticssayaboutthem,toseekcounseling,andhasevencause
certainpeopletotaketheirownlives.Theeffectsofsocietaldisapprovaltowardsthe
homosexualpopulation,suchasthese,havecausedbothemotionalandbehavioral

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disturbancesinthelivesofmanypeople.Sowhilemostpeopleseektogainapproval
fromsocietyandaremotivatedbywhatotherssayandthinkaboutthem,Cognitive
BehaviorTherapyshowsusthattheseactionscanactuallycausemoreharmthangood.
AlthoughIonlydiscussedthreeofmypersonalvaluesandbeliefs,Icontinually
seemoreofmyselfinthedifferentcounselingtheories.Theyhavehelpedmetonotonly
becomeabetterpersonandgraduatestudent,butwillshapethecounselorIbecomeand
willcontinuallycausemytheoreticalorientationtochange.Theeclecticapproachto
counselingIhavetakenthusfarinmycareerisnotfinalized.Iknowitwillcontinueto
beshapedbymanyfactors,andIcouldntbemoreexcitedtoseewhatmyfutureholdsas
acounselor.
WhileIampassionateaboutmybeliefsandhowtheyrelatetothedifferent
counselingtheories,Iunderstanditisnotmyplacetopushmyviewsonothers,butmost
importantlynottopushthemonmyclients.Myoverarchinggoalasacounseloristo
remainunbiasedatalltimes,andtoallowclientstotellmeasmuchinformationabout
themselvesandtheirsituationsastheywishto.Judgmentwillnotbepassedonmy
clients.Iaimtoprovidethemwithanenvironmenttheyfeelwillhelpleadthemto
success,notonethatwillbepunishingandrestrictingoftheirlifegoals.EventhoughI
maynotagreewiththeviewsofoneofmyclients,itismyjobtorespectthemasfellow
humanbeing,aswellastheiropinion,whilegivingthemthebestcounselingexperience
possiblethatwillleadthemtosuccess.

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References
Corey,G.(2013).TheoryandPracticeofCounselingandPsychotherapy(9thedition).
Belmont,CA:Brooks/Cole.