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From the basis of psychoanalysis and existential therapy, I will then listen for any problems relating to attitudes that can be driven by repressed emotions. I will use dialogue in order to gain an understanding of how the clients see their problems, and what they think is needed to help.
In the dialogue session, I will provide the client with my own insight on how I believe the best progress will be made in future therapy, and also on how long I estimate such therapy to take. I will however emphasize that I will not terminate therapy if the clients feel in any way that they will not benefit from such termination. Dialogue and collaboration means that I should be able to modify my approach according to input from my clients. If a client for example disagrees with an approach I am using, we will discuss various options of changing this and come to an agreement on a new approach to use. Such an approach will then form the focus of future therapy sessions.
In order to maintain focus on the problems at hand and therapeutic techniques to handle these, it is important to continuously monitor the client's view of his or her therapeutic progress. As problems emerge, I will also continually steer our conversations towards accepting and finding eventual solutions to these problems. Acceptance not only of the client, but also the specific manifestations of his or her problems, is a vital part of targeted and effective therapy.
As mentioned above, my main focus is person centered, and therefore a large amount of therapeutic responsibility will be that of the client. As therapist, I will however not completely relinquish responsibility for the therapeutic process, and I therefore believe that goal determination should be a collaborative process between myself and the client.
At the end of each session, the goals for future sessions will be determined, while those from previous sessions will be evaluated and revised, if necessary. The client will have a large amount of control, in that he or she has to be in complete agreement with the goals in order for therapy to continue effectively. The client will also have complete freedom to change or add to the goals as necessary.
Goal determination in my approach is a very good way to help the client assume responsibility for therapy and eventual healing. In order to facilitate goal directed behavior, I will then help the client by strategies such as naming and writing down goals for use in everyday life. Together, we will determine goals to reach outside of therapy. These do not necessarily relate to therapeutic goals. The ideal is to help the client become aware of the necessity of setting and reaching goals; in effect, to help him or her form the habit of reaching goals.
Central Techniques and Methods
My techniques and methods are based upon the client centered approach, while using gestalt dialogue for problem diagnosis and goal setting. Rather than setting myself apart from the client as therapist, it will be my goal to create for the client a basis of friendship from which to approach and solve problems. It will therefore not be a basis of therapy for its own sake, but rather of an honest relationship to use as a springboard for problem solving and goal oriented behavior.
Conversational techniques are used to determine the way forward for further therapy. The client is given full power to determine the course of therapy throughout each session. The therapeutic process is therefore determined by the client. The relationship is also collaborative, however, and as therapist I provide the client with input on how I believe the therapeutic goals can best be achieved. This is however not done in an authoritarian way and the client is at all times welcome to provide criticism and suggest modifications to my input.
Because the client is the one with the specific problems to be treated, I believe that the client knows, either consciously or subconsciously, the best way to deal with these problems. As a therapist, it is therefore my goal to help him or her arrive at such solutions.
Of course it is also possible that my clients will come to therapy with considerable resistance. This is a significant problem that has to be eliminated at the beginning of therapy. Resistance opposes the benefit of therapy, and could result from a variety of sources. One major source of resistance could be the fact that the client does not believe that he or she needs help, and was entered into therapy by a concerned family or friend.
In order to understand resistance, I will therefore attempt to determine from the client its source. If the source is an influencing person, I will schedule a therapy session with the persons involved and encourage dialogue to resolve the resistance. This might take one or several sessions. If there is no person involved in the resistance, I will attempt to understand it via dialogue with the client. Further dialogue will then be used to resolve such resistance for therapy to continue. During such conversations, an attempt will be made to project an attitude of acceptance towards and empathy with the client.
Clients come to me for assistance with issues in their lives. I attempt to show them complete acceptance; whatever their situation and however terrible their world view. By accepting how they feel, I believe I create for them a safe situation in which to share their feelings regarding the world, life, and how they experience these.
While I believe that the client-centered approach is most relevant for the 21st century, I also believe that other therapeutic approaches have great value to offer. In order to help my clients find the good in themselves in order to live effective and happy lives, I therefore follow an integrated approach that include elements of psychoanalysis, gestalt therapy, and existential therapy. In this way, I am able to use the best of what therapy has to offer and impart it to my clients for their benefit.
I believe that therapy today can be revolutionary in a way that was never possible before. Clients can benefit from the best that therapists have to offer. The first step in this is taking responsibility and seeking help. Resistance is directly opposed to taking responsibility for healing. The first steps towards healing are then to remove such resistance. At the end of therapy, the client-centered approach provides a basis of friendship that can help the client beyond the therapy sessions themselves.
Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. Person-centered Therapy. http://www.minddisorders.com/Ob-Ps/Person-centered-therapy.html
Hoffman, Louis. 2004. Existential Psychotherapy. http://www.existential-therapy.com/General_Overview.htm
Psychological Schools of Thought. Psychoanalytical Psychology. http://www.webrenovators.com/psych/PsychoanalyticalPsychology.htm
Yontef, Gary. Gestalt Therapy: An Introduction. http://www.gestalt.org/yontef.htm[continue]
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