Therapists do whatever they can to help their clients overcome a wide range of problems ranging fromdeath of a pet to major life changing crisis, such as sudden loss of vision. However genuine a therapists' desire to help is, they will be limited by the tools he or she uses. It makes sense, then, as a therapist to design and integrate webs of models that have shown to yield efficacy. This new, personally designed model should work to assist and meet the requirement of every client. To embark upon this task of designing a personal model of helping, it is important to be aware of existing theories and models.
The first is the humanistic approach based on Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Maslow's triangle consists of basics needs at the base followed by needs of safety, love and belonging, achievements and lastly self-actualization at the top. Second, is the cognitive theory, which attempts to change the underlying thought disturbance to correct or reduce cognitive dissonance? Thirdly, the behavioural therapy, which positively reinforces desired behaviours, while, negativelyreinforcing the undesired. The Adlerian theory focuses on overcoming feelings of inferiority, providing the client with a sense of belonging. The psychoanalytic model of helping centres on the dynamics of personality development, making the unconscious mind conscious through association with the therapist's interpretation. Lastly, the feminist theory uses gender differences for its approach, based on the fact, that most clients who choose to seek help are females. Other models of therapy include theories of reality, narrative theory, systemic theory, existential, gestalt and person centred.
As one familiarizes oneself to these theories, they will find that most practitioners use techniques and skills from all of these theories since each of them have something useful to offer. For example, it is reasonable to assume that you might use active listening skills from humanistic theory, challenging and disputing from cognitive theory, reframing from solution-focused theory, restoring from narrative theory, interpretation from psychoanalytic theory, realigning coalitions from systemic theory, empowerment from feminist theory, and so on. The wonderful thing about a skills training experience is that you will be exposed to all the most important therapeutic interventions that are accepted as being most useful. [footnoteRef:2] [2: Brew. (2007, Nov 27). Models of Helping. retrieved April 3, 2011, from http://www.uk.sagepub.com/upm-data/18616_chapter3.pdf.]
After analyzing the different models used by therapists, it is important to magnify and understand the problems of a targeted population, and frame a model of therapy that best fits it. I have chosen the cognitive behavioural technique because it well suits my focused group of school children and teenagers. However, this mode can be liable to change from time to time, or integrated with the psychoanalytic model, when dealing with more problematic situations, for example, drug abuse. The reason being that more serious problems need to be addressed with greater concern and depth.
Elaborating on the cognitive behavioural technique; it is based on a psychotherapeutic approach targeting inappropriate emotions and behaviours, through talking and formulating a goal oriented systematic procedure, combining the behaviour and cognitive theory. This theory is based on a few theoretical assumptions;
1- The greater portion of the behavioural repertoire with which individuals are equipped is the product of learning. This vast range of possible responses is acquired through lengthy interaction with an ambivalent physical and social environment.
2- Genetic and other physiological factors also influence behaviour in a more general sense, and there is an interaction between these and environment through inborn influences on intelligence, temperament and personality, and through predispositions to mental disorder.[footnoteRef:3] [3: Eysenck 1965; Thomas et al. 1968; Heatherington and Parke 1986; Sheldon 1994a]
3- Two broad processes of associative learning account for the acquisition and maintenance of motor, verbal, cognitive and emotional responses. According to Bndura 1977 and Denmet, 1991, vicarious learning or modelling, must be added to these influences, which process contains elements of both classical and operant association.
4- Consciousness, and the ways in which we process information about past, present and predicted future environmentswhich bundles of stimuli, contingencies and imaginings include self-observation and appraisal of our own behaviour, are a deeply mysterious, but not mystical set of phenomena. Thinking, too, follows patterns and is rarely far removed from the effects of external influences. In other words, above the level of simple reflexes, we do not simply respond to stimuli, we interpret them first, but not haphazardly.
5- Behaviours that we judge to be 'maladaptive', abnormal' or 'self-defeating' are learned in exactly the same way as those that we are disposed to call 'adaptive' or 'normal'. Any apparent differences between the two are a property of the attributive and evaluative judgements we make about behaviour, rather than of the properties of the behaviour itself or its origins.
6- The behavioural and cognitive-behavioural therapies owe their existence to learning theory-really a vast body of experimental evidence on how humans adapt themselves to their environments by a process akin to 'behavioural natural selection'-by which strains of action, patterns of thoughts and feelings thrive, perish, or lie dormant according to the effects that they have. Each dimension of learning has given rise to therapeutic approaches logically consistent with the basic research.
7- These therapeutic derivatives are not threatened by a re-emergence of 'symptoms' in some different form [footnoteRef:4] [4: Brian Sheldon, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy: Research, Practice, and Philosophy (London: Routledge, 1995) iii, Questia, Web, 3 Apr. 2011.]
Having developed a background on cognitive behavioural therapy, it now becomes important to assess the problems of our targeted population, school children and teenagers, and formulate a device of approach, together with which, will aid in establishing a model of help that effectively deals with issues of this specified group, as this is the period that forms the basis of one's career. To develop this approach, it is necessary to outline the problems of children and teenagers. They are a vulnerable group of the population, making it necessary to address to their special needs. Habits cultivated at this stage determine a major part of their future etiquettes. It is important to assess factors, amongst children that can have a debilitating impact on personality development, for instance, learning difficulties, child abuse, and parental neglect, dealing with parents' divorce, death, lack of necessities, hormonal influences at puberty, peer pressure, and drug abuse. Any odd behaviour needs accurate evaluation, close observation and prompt therapy to prevent its aggravation. The reason I chose children and teenagers is that the habits learned at this age stay with them for a life time and so I feel the need to help them fix any flaw in their personality before it reaches a point beyond which there is no return.
Keeping these factors in mind, I have devised a model of help that allows early diagnosis and prompt attention to the above mentioned problems.
1- Make your client comfortable. The environment should be suitable to ensure that the client is at ease. Remember that any help provided should be within the ethical range of the client. For example if he/she strongly believes on a view point, it would be unadvisable to suggest an activity that would go against that point of belief.
2- Establish effective client-therapist relationship. This goal is achieved by maintaining an empathetic tone and facial expression. Notice the general appearance of the client, which includes, the way he/she is dressed, height and body built, hygiene, social and motor behaviour. Appreciate the client's mood, facial expressions and body language.
3- Listening is an integral component of therapy, forming a mental note of the client's tone, frequency of words, flow and content of speech, its coherency and relevance to the questions asked by the therapist. It may be necessary to probe patients from time to time, to help clarify their existing problems and systematically organize narrated events. Assess disturbances of thoughts, namely, preservation, flight of ideas, loosening of association, poverty of thought, pressure of thought or thought blockage.
4- Help clients discover and deal with blind spots that keep them from seeing problems and opportunities clearly and moving on.
5- Addressing to learning difficulties, it is important to assess attention, concentration, orientation, memory, intelligence, judgment and abstract thinking.
6- After developing a thorough evaluation of the client's core problem, it becomes necessary to take a complete and relevant history, which includes:
Identification of data:Knowledge on the client's religion, education, occupation, if any.
Family history: Mention of immediate family members like parents, siblings, relationship status; attitude of family members towards patient and patient's attitude towards them; overall home atmosphere; details regarding psychiatric illnesses in the family, if any and finally building a family tree.
Personal history: Events related to birth (to provide clues to any disability); significant physical illness, trauma, abuse or behaviour problem in the previous years; details regarding milestone achievements in life; any neurotic state, such as, thumb sucking, nail biting, temper tantrums, stammering; sexual orientation (gender identity disorders, misconceptions about normal sexual and anatomy and physiology, heterosexual and homosexual experiences; status of relationship with their other…