In general I view myself as behaviorally and cognitively orientated however through the years within my professional experience I found myself being somehow an eclectic counselor. As I grow professionally and expand my knowledge, I find myself incorporating in my counseling style, various other techniques from other models of psychotherapy. I have administered many techniques from varying theories, thus, I believe it would be inaccurate for me at this point, to identify my style of counseling with one particular mode or theory. Throughout my graduate work I often played in my mind the ways in which I would counsel others.
It was of my understanding that I needed to “stick” with one theory. Luckily that wasn’t the case. I allow various theoretical models to grow on me and as I applied them to clients and tested them out, I was able to make them my own. The way I will approach this paper is to make some bullet points and elaborate was has brought be to choose certain models over others. • What drives my behavior? Well, I always had a genuine interest in helping others. when I look back at my childhood, I can remember being concerned about the elderly, about the homeless, about people that were quiet and shy.
I always carried this thought in the back of my head: ” they just want (need) someone to talk to” and for some reason I always felt guilty for not approaching these people because I believed that person should have been me. Obviously I wasn’t educated on theories at the time and didn’t know what to say, but I had this interest in wanting to “be there” for them. 1 I can confidently say that my childhood experience has had a significant impact in the development of my philosophy of “helping”/counseling people and, on the other hand, education is what helped me be a better counselor. I will introduce the second bullet by stating a quote from Henry David Thoreau “Simplify the problem of life. When the mathematician solves a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all encumbrances and reduces it to its simplest terms. ” Many times clients come to us because they believe they have no way out, that life is complicated and that nothing is “simple”. I firmly believe that life is what we make of it. It’s about perception, it’s about how much importance we give to the things that happen to us. Their life is too crowded with other things that cloud their view.
I read this book once from Benjamin Hoff “the Tao of Pooh”, it mentions the “The Uncarved Block” which is the idea that “things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power”. All we need to do is scrape that block to its origin. I believe people have the answer within themselves, they have the ability to set their goal and meet them; my job is to help them figure out how. • This brings me to the next bullet. My biggest interest is to help people identify what their problem is and help them figure out what they need to do to manage that problem or in other words, what they need to do to be happy and satisfied with their life.
I like to help them meet that stage where they can feel comfortable in. •As I look back to my recent professional experiences, I have noticed that 2 being comfortable with myself is a big element that I need to keep in mind. I like who I am and what I do and that gives me the confidence to be efficient to my client, I could never be a therapist and listen and be “helpful” to people if I am miserable, if i don’t like myself or what I do in life. I try to monitor myself on a regular basis, and try to avoid pushing my own dispositions onto others, particularly on those clients who are more susceptible.
It amazes me how clients can “read” us. They can tell if something’s wrong. My belief is that I am there for the client not vice-versa. My vision includes myself making a sincere effort to always remain open, reflective, self-evaluative, caring, and respectful to myself and to all my clients. I believe that good counseling comes when counselors are able to periodically evaluate themselves in relation to the needs of clients. •I apply psycho-education to by sessions with clients. I feel blessed everyday for the opportunity I was giving to go to school.
I understand not everyone has that chance. My education enriched my life and gave me that extra piece I needed to complete myself and to be who I am today. Because of that I feel the need to “give back” and educating my clients has become very important to me. I like to introduce psycho educational sessions with my clients from time to time. •discipline and structure are another elements that have contributed to my professional development. I believe in structure and I also believe that the 3 majority of the clients that come to us lack structure.
I looked up on the dictionary what structure meant and it actually validated my point. Structure is “The way in which parts are arranged or put together to form a whole. To give form. Something made up of a number of parts that are held or put together in a particular way. ” People want to feel “complete”, their lives are pulled apart by so many factors such as Mental Illnesses, for example, by providing that structure I hope they would feel “put together”, less lost or pulled apart. I believe structure is a big part of therapy, it holds therapy sessions together, there is a start, middle and an end.
Helping clients see this, it helps built structure in their lives. •I believe in practicing a collaborative approach to therapy where client and counselor form a relationship based on respect and mutual understanding. This relationship serves as the means through which emotional and cognitive growth can occur in the client and we work together to agree upon and develop goals for therapy which fit their specific and diverse needs. •My approach features genuineness, warmth, and a sense of humor which creates a trusting atmosphere for my clients.
Within this authentic atmosphere, my clients have the freedom to express themselves openly and honestly while receiving the support necessary to meet their personal goals. • As I was told plenty of time during my tape recordings, i also like to instill hope and convey support to my clients. I believe it is important. 4 • Cognitive behavior therapy is my primary approach to counseling, I believe in relearning new thoughts and behavior patterns, when old/previous learned patterns are infective. Although cognitive behavior therapy is a ain component to my why of counseling, as I mentioned before, throughout the years I have incorporated many other techniques. • Reality Therapy for example. is appealing to me because it emphasizes choices and responsibility, concreteness and directionality. With reality therapy, progress can be measured and clients can move towards a more workable way of dealing with life. there are times when I believe the past needs to be “revisited” by both the client and the therapist, to evaluate previous ways of coping, ways of handling situations.
Although I believe the past becomes an important part to deal with to be able to move forward, people need (at times) to stop dwelling on the past and move forward: make choice and take responsibilities. • I have applied various other techniques with clients and although all different from one another they all seemed to fit my personality just fine. Making these techniques my own and believing in them, allowed me to apply them easily and comfortably in sessions. Principles of Taoism and eastern philosophy for example. I became aware of this way of viewing life during a very hard time of my life.
Although Catholic, I was able to see life with different eyes and cope with things much better. By its own definition, Taoism is near impossible to convey in words. Tao is 5 loosely translated as “the way” and emphasizes harmony and mindfulness; it can be explained only by experience. I try to live by these principles myself and try to teach them also to my clients my modeling. I believe that people need awareness and harmony in their lives, they need that perfect balance between mind and body. Once they have control over that, they can control things like depression, anxiety, or stress. I also bring to my sessions a multi-cultural perspective. My personal experience with my culture (Italian) played an important and critical role in my understanding of people and personalities, the way people interact and behave. I learned very quickly that culture has its own rituals and customs that guide and shape the way people behave. • one thing I do believe in with or without the help of a theory, I believe that everyone has some kind of potential within themselves. I like to help people grow and reach that potential. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do, if I did not believe that people can change. 6
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