Therapeutic Theories and Approaches Term Paper

  • Length: 11 pages
  • Sources: 2
  • Subject: Counseling
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #72461076

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Morgan's Case Study

Morgan is a bi-racial 16-year-old adolescent male whose mother is Japanese-American and the father is African-American. His parents divorced when he was 3 years old and have negative feelings towards each other even though they both love him. Morgan's parents have remarried and have children. He has very good relationships with his father, stepmother, and younger sisters but has struggled to have a good relationship with his mother after she remarried. The family situation is quite stressful since it's difficult for Morgan to see his mother who relocated to another state while the father lost his job and the family is experiencing tremendous financial challenges. While Morgan has developed feelings for one young woman in his social group, he is skeptical of asking her out on a date for fear of rejection. In the past year, he has demonstrated behavioral changes including identifying himself as African-American instead of biracial, increased absenteeism from school, failure to complete assignments, withdrawal from social settings, and depression due to lack of contact with his mother.

Theories and Therapeutic Approach when Counseling Morgan

Morgan's family problems and behavioral problems indicate a need for a suitable intervention plan. This plan would entail counseling that will focus on helping Morgan develop coping strategies for dealing with his problems. When counseling Morgan, it's important to consider theories and therapeutic approaches that are suitable for his situation. The use of different theories and therapeutic approaches when counseling Morgan is part of an integrated counseling and psychotherapy approach, which is a popular approach when working with clients (Neukrug, 2012). One of the theories that can be utilized when counseling Morgan is psychodynamic theory. Psychodynamic theory, which is also known as psychoanalysis, is rooted in the work of Sigmund Freud and is based on the belief that unconscious internal forces drive an individual's behavior. Consequently, an individual can deal with his/her condition through identifying these unconscious forces. The other theories that can be used when counseling Morgan are behavioral theory and cognitive theory. Behavioral theory is based on the belief that desired behaviors can be realized through condition whereas cognitive theory focuses on how changes in an individual's thoughts can contribute to changes in feelings and behaviors (Counseling Staff, 2015).

Based on these theories, the most suitable therapeutic approaches to use in counseling Morgan include psychodynamic therapy, which focuses on an in-depth analysis of an individual's thoughts while seemingly ignoring the trappings of science. Humanistic therapeutic approach can also be utilized to help the client (Morgan) focus on the present while identifying coping strategies and measures towards realizing his full potential in academics and life in general. The third probable therapeutic approach in this scenario is integrative therapy that involves a combination of several elements of different theories in counseling practice.

In light of information from the case, the most suitable therapeutic approach when counseling Morgan is psychodynamic therapy. As previously mentioned, this therapy focuses on an in-depth analysis of a client's thoughts and his/her psychological problems while ignoring the trappings of science. This approach will be beneficial to Morgan's case because it will help in identifying how his past has contributed to his current psychological problems. Additionally, the approach will help Morgan to better understand himself by exploring his unconscious thoughts and emotions and how they contribute to his changes in behavior.

When using this therapeutic approach, Morgan will need counseling for several challenges. First, Morgan will need counseling for his self-identify given that he is increasingly identifying himself as African-American rather than biracial. Secondly, Morgan will need counseling for the stressful situation in his family, which is seemingly the cause of his behavior changes. Third, Morgan will need counseling for his withdrawal from social situations and friends, which is partly affecting his education. Finally, the client will need counseling for the bullying that has occurred in the form of verbal attacks and online harassment.

Techniques to Use when Counseling Morgan

The are various techniques in psychodynamic therapy that can be utilized when counseling Morgan in order to effectively address each of the challenges identified in the previous step. One of these techniques in psychodynamic therapy is free association, which is an approach that seeks to encourage a client to look for underlying unconscious factors (Ivey, D'Andrea & Ivey, 2012, p.201). According to Jones-Smith
Parts of this Document are Hidden
Click Here to View Entire Document
(2012), free association is core psychoanalysis technique that enables a client to say anything that comes to mind despite of how meaningless, painful or stupid it may sound. Free association helps in identifying deeper underlying thought processes that causes someone to edit or censor their thoughts. The use of this technique will entail creating a safe environment for free interactions with Morgan and permitting him to say whatever comes to his mind. Morgan will be encouraged to express/communicate his thoughts and ideas in an unstructured manner. For instance, the free interactions will enable Morgan to share about his feelings towards one young lady in his social group and what he intends to do about these feelings.

The free association will help understand the psychological processes that have contributed to Morgan's self-identification as an African-American rather than biracial. In this case, Morgan will freely share about his view of African-Americans vis-a-vis the other races and why he considers himself as so. Additionally, this technique will help determine the reason for his withdrawal from social situations at home and school as well as his anxiety problems. Since this technique will be based on the creation of a suitable client-therapist relationship, Morgan will have no problems expressing his thoughts about probable depression and bullying incidents. As a result, the therapist will have a complete understanding of the client's family, psychological, emotional, and behavioral dynamics based on the information he provides through free association.

The second psychodynamic therapy technique that would be utilized when counseling Morgan is analysis of resistance. This is an important technique because resistance is likely to occur as the client begins to undergo uncomfortable thoughts and feelings during self-exploration in the counseling process (Jones-Smith, 2012). Since the goal of using psychodynamic therapeutic approach is to explore unconscious thoughts and psychological processes that may be contributing to behavior changes, a client is likely to become uncomfortable when exploring these thoughts and processes. Some of the probable resistances include likelihood to censor or edit thoughts and interfering with the free association process. Morgan is likely to demonstrate these resistances because he currently prefers not to open up about his feelings, which implies that he may feel uncomfortable sharing them.

When utilizing the analysis of resistance technique in Morgan's case, the therapist will understand his unconscious motivations and defensive mechanisms. In this case, the therapist will effectively identify the unconscious motivations underlying Morgan's self-identity as an African-American though he is biracial and has previously identified himself as so. Additionally, the therapist will identify the defense mechanisms Morgan utilizes to deal with stress within the family, withdraw from social situations and friends, and deal with bullying. Once these factors are identified, the therapist will help Morgan become aware of them and learn how to confront them to enhance the effectiveness of the counseling process.

The other psychodynamic therapy technique that will be utilized in counseling Morgan is analysis of transference through which the client will re-experience his early conflicts and substitute his parents with the therapist (Jones-Smith, 2012). During this process, the client is likely to transfer love and hate for his parents to the therapist and eventually hinder therapeutic initiatives. When utilizing this technique, the therapist will examine and interpret these distorted displacements of important relationships Morgan experiences. This process will be beneficial in addressing the challenge of withdraw from social situations and friends while refusing to open about feelings to parents. The therapist will effectively interpret Morgan's hidden feelings, unconscious obsessions, and conflicts during his early childhood. Following these interpretations, the therapist will help Morgan to learn about the impact of his past in his present live. The process will in turn enable him to navigate through these earlier conflicts and unconscious fixations that have affected his psychological growth and capability to develop good relationships with family and friends.

The final technique in this therapeutic approach when counseling Morgan is interpretation, which is an intricate process since it entails integrating knowledge of the approach with clinical data from client-therapy interaction (Ivey, D'Andrea & Ivey, 2012, p.205). During this process, the therapist will encourage Morgan to reinterpret his life experiences and worldview based on insights from the counseling session. The therapist will provide interpretations of the challenges in Morgan's case based on the information he provides. As Morgan becomes aware of the therapist's interpretations of his psychological and behavioral problems, he will learn new coping strategies and techniques to deal with the challenges. Consequently, Morgan will successfully deal with and overcome limitations brought by his unconscious fixations and foster his personal development and growth.

Multicultural Aspects of Morgan's Case

In light of the psychological, emotional and behavioral dynamics of Morgan as presented in the case, there…

Sources Used in Documents:


Counseling Staff. (2015, June 1). Five Counseling Theories and Approaches. Retrieved from The Family Institute at Northwestern University website:

Han, H.S., West-Olatunji, C. & Thomas, M.S. (2011). Use of Racial Identity Development Theory to Explore Cultural Competence among Early Childhood Educators. SRATE Journal, 20(1), 1-11.

Ivey, A. E., D'Andrea, M. J., & Ivey, M. B. (2012). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy. A multicultural perspective. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.

Jones-Smith, E. (2012). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: an integrative approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.

Cite This Term Paper:

"Therapeutic Theories And Approaches" (2016, November 30) Retrieved December 2, 2020, from

"Therapeutic Theories And Approaches" 30 November 2016. Web.2 December. 2020. <>

"Therapeutic Theories And Approaches", 30 November 2016, Accessed.2 December. 2020,