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Existential Counseling Case Study
The given case is an adequate account of a life of an individual in an unlikely situation. The case speaks about a thirty eight years old woman Michelle. Life and the given history of Michelle form an impression that she is in a stable situation and has enjoyed a highly satisfying career path. Unlike many other she has a successful married life with her partner Dave and has enjoyed life at its most. The most primitive adjectives that bombards the mind once we consider a successful individual in the western setting are the; professional stability and the emotional stability. It has been for this reason that the case draws the ideology that Michelle is a stable and a successful person in life. Yet the very factor that determines the stability of emotions and thoughts in an individual are the aggregate sum of the normal behaviors exhibited by an individual in abnormal settings. The desire to have a baby and to complete the family unit is a normal desire of Dave and on the other hand maintaining the successful flow of career and independent life is the normal desire of Michelle.
This is where the dissatisfaction arises, and the job role of an existential counselor comes in. As the name implies that an existential counselor is an individual who has the required skill to deal in the issues pertaining to the existence and the life of an individual. A counselor is somebody, usually a professional, who helps others with personal, social, or psychological problem. Most eminently an existential counselor is somebody who develops and insight and help people getting through the difficulties in life and at the same time assisting them to value there potential and freedom.
The Importance of Existential Counseling
The particularity and the theme that forms the mainstream of the existential counseling is the value of life and it pertains to the existence of an individual. The core attributes of the existential counseling rotates around the two basic factors that is freedom and the meaning of life itself. In order to better understand the meaning of life Viktor Frankle, a successful psychiatrist systematically studied millions of people who were exposed to the mass destruction phenomena, chiefly by means of wars and natural disasters (Fall, Holder and Marquis 2004:149). Behind the attempt to study the holocaust Viktor Frankle idea was to form a proposition, which he regarded as logo therapy. The major clauses of the logo therapy and the deductions of the results of Viktor Frankle are summarized in the following three points
The initial most stances mounted that every individual needs to acknowledge that their life is of a great value. If they survive a natural disaster or even in the most miserable encounters in life what exactly matters is the life of an individual (Schuster 1999:72).
The second postulate emphasizes that the basic ideology of living a meaningful life lies in the very motivation that encourages an individual to amplify his or her abilities to seek the reason of his survival and his life on earth. This motivation comes from the very urge to find the mysterious reason behind the life of an individual (Musil, 1998:231).
The third postulate enriches the essence of existential counseling, as it advocates the importance of freedom to find a justified meaning in all the activities one pursues. These activities encompass the verbal activities as well as the experiences an individual encounters. The most important of all is the freedom an individual enjoys in the times of life when he is faced with utter difficulties. Freedom in such situation refers to the ability and stand one takes when faced with challenges and unalterable sufferings in life (Frankl 2004:79).
These three postulates by Viktor Frankle justify the mainstream of existential counseling. As expert or an existential counselor is required to execute the existence related issues faced by the distressed patients and individuals who lack the courage to be with stand life.
The Various Aspects of Michelle's Life
Considering the situation faced by Michelle in the given case the two basic attributes are deduced and as a consequence (Furbish 2007). Michelle is a freedom loving individual as does not seeks any pleasure in wasting her ability to work as a publisher and bounding herself by staying at home. Similarly this particular trait of her personality also emphasizes her strength in a way that she understands the meaning of her life and has been successful in bestowing and tracing her career track. Apart from a successful career Michelle is also a settled person in a way that she has been able to attain the stability of thought and emotions by marrying her desired partner Dave.
At one instant this may be regarded that Michelle is a happy go lucky person who has been able to attract all her luck in the right direction. But now that she is visiting an existential counselor she is dissatisfied in life. At an age of thirty eight where most of the people in the western society are successfully through the family phase of life Michelle is still not ready to sacrifice a piece of her promotion or reward in her family way. Her partner wants to be through the family way and have children. At this point Michelle needs the consultancy of an expert as she wants to drive a fit point between her needs and with her partner at large (Kleinman 1988:null18).
The Time and Psychological Factors
The basic factor that needs to be catered on immediate basis is the time and psychological factors. An existential counselor will surly comment on is the time frame and the psychological factors. The basic reason why time frame owns a significant importance is because of the fact that the meaning of one existence does not remains constant over the period of time. This is hereby noted in the given case as well that Michelle at this point of time does not want to extend her family. Time frame is an important consideration as it has the urge to fashion the individual behaviors. The second important factor is the psychological factor. Like time frame the psychological factors are also important to cater in existential counseling. The two factors also have an interlinking behavior mainly due to the fact that time flourishes the psychology.
Considering the given case it has been seen that even at an age of thirty eight Michelle is not psychologically ready to go through the family way mainly because her career is more prior to her. If she would have been faced the similar choice at a time where she can take an off from the office or where the here promotion or bonuses were not at a stake, then her psychological emphasis would have been on having a child and prioritizing her family way.
The Goals of an Existential Counselor
The goals of an existential counselor are to Understand the psychiatric needs of the patients
To gather the contextual information about the prevailing symptoms
To help a patient realize its freedom
To help and assist an individual to organize facts in the way things are
To give an insight about the reality and the circumstances in an likable manner
To induce the sense of goodwill in the patient
To help the patients explore the meaning of life
To help a patient explore life in an optimistic manner
To help the patient realize facts and overcoming the traumas
To help a patient to road map the disastrous situation that he might encounter if similar negativity and dissatisfaction spreads
(Eriksen and McAuliffe 2001:219)
The Goal of an Existential Counselor with Michelle
In the given case of Michelle the goals of an existential counselor would mainly be to understand the reason of dissatisfaction in Michelle. At this point of time it is also important for the existential expert to help Michelle feel better about life and the way things are. The counselor would be responsible to navigate through the problem that Michelle is facing and advice her appropriately with the situation (Parrish, Stanard and Cobia 2008). Being a counselor I would advice Michelle to analyze the fact at disposal in a way that her freedom and her outlook to life sustain. Because at an age of thirty eight she might be passionate about her future and career but Michelle needs to admit the fact that one day she will retire from work than Dave and her family would be the ultimate resort for her. But I would also advice her to maintain the dignity of her profession and freedom. Hence I would convince her that rather than being dissatisfied with the way things are she should plan out things, she can talk to Dave and they can plan their family once Michelle is done with the great promotion and a milestone in her career as a publisher.
The Time and Space Settings of the Case
In the case with Michelle time and space has a great role…[continue]
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