Phenomenological Person Centered Therapeutic Model Research Proposal

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¶ … Person-Centered Model in Counseling psychology focuses on the person receiving therapy rather than the theory applied. This means that none of the traditional assumptions play a role in the therapeutic process. Traditional views of the counselor-client relationship include the assumption that the counselor knows what is best both in terms of theory and in terms of each specific client treated. The counselor is assumed to have supreme knowledge and wisdom in applying the relevant theories to each case presented by clients. In terms of the person receiving therapy, the traditionalist assumes that clients are unable to solve their own problems and that they need professional help to do so. The traditional focus is theory applied to problems, rather than the person's experience of these problems and how to solve them on a permanent basis.

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The Person-Centered Model seeks to discard all focus upon theory and problems. Instead, as the name suggests, the focus is on the person involved. All people are assumed to have an innate drive towards self-actualization. This drive is emphasized by means of developing a therapeutic relationship that does away with the traditional hierarchy of client and therapist. Instead, the therapist aims for an equal relationship, in which the client and therapist are seen as two fallible persons in a mutually beneficial relationship. As such, the counselor aims to create a relatively permissive climate in which the client can experience growth. In this, the person is assumed to be capable of self-directed growth with the help of therapy. The main role of the therapist is then to create a relationship and an atmosphere in which the client can learn to grow and eventually solve his or her own problems. The therapist creates a relationship with the client that encourages self-confidence and eventual self-actualization.

TOPIC: Research Proposal on Phenomenological Person Centered Therapeutic Model Assignment

The model assumes the best about individuals: they are essentially rational and constructive beings, who aim to realize their full potential, like all other organisms on earth. It is furthermore assumed that each human being is unique, and therefore the therapist cannot be seen as the "expert" in any life other than his or her own. In the same way, the client is assumed to be the only expert in his or her particular situation. The task of the therapist then is not so much to provide counseling as it is to provide guidance according to which the client can find solutions to specific and unique problems.

The Self of the client plays an essential role in the Person-Centered Model. The self is seen as basically organized and consistent in its relationship with and perception of the "I," as well is its relationships to people, things, and life in general. The value of these relationships to the particular Self involved plays a key role in the form that therapeutic conversations will take. It is also assumed that the Self is fluid and flexible; continually changing and adapting to its surroundings and circumstances, even while remaining recognizable.

The aim of the therapeutic relationship is to achieve self-actualization for the individual. This means that the individual will be open to and aware of all experience. He or she will be able to creatively respond to change, be socially effective, and trust him- or herself.

On the path towards self-actualization, the client may encounter incongruence or maladaptivity, which represents roadblocks. These can include an external locus of control, and searching for self-worth from sources other than the self.

The main technique that therapists within the Person-Centered model use is to create an atmosphere of unconditional positive regard of the individual, although not necessarily of all behavior. The client however needs to experience the relationship with the therapist as one of mutual trust and safety. In this, the therapist needs to have an empathetic understanding of the client's situation and feelings. The therapist's attitude in this model carries greater weight than theoretical knowledge.

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What most resonates with me about this theory is the fact that it is focused upon the practical application of therapeutic techniques to each individual situation. It is my firm belief and experience that each human being is unique, and that they should be treated as such in any situation, whether therapeutic or not. In my personal relationships I therefore like to concentrate on this uniqueness and learn from it. I will then use what I learn in any social situation during my therapeutic sessions as well.

I also like the fact that a supportive environment is to be created for the client. In few settings in the world would one encounter complete and unconditional acceptance. When creating such a relationship with my clients, I will then be able to provide for them a sense of not only safety, but also of "coming home." It will be my aim to provide them with the ultimate positive atmosphere, where they no longer need to fear the consequences of anything that they say.

The Person-Centered belief in the innate positive, self-actualizing nature of humanity is refreshing and appealing to me. While I have not empirically studied the actions of humanity to establish its inner good or evil nature, I do believe that people respond to a person's expectations to some degree. If I expect people to be fundamentally good and act accordingly, more often than not, the result is according to my expectation. The reverse is also true. If I expect people to behave badly because they are fundamentally evil, this is what I tend to see.

I do not believe that the reason for the above is either fundamental goodness or evil in the human heart, but rather the filter of my own expectation. I tend to emphasize the elements of what I choose to believe. My belief in goodness makes me emphasize the good things that people do in favor of their less wholesome actions. This does not meant that evil is not there, but rather that I choose to downplay or even ignore its importance and prominence.

This is fundamentally important in therapy. In a therapeutic session, I will focus upon my belief that the person I am working with is fundamentally striving towards self-actualization. This belief will communicate itself to my client in both concrete and subtle terms. My actions towards the client will be of such a nature to emphasize the actions that lead to self-actualization while placing less emphasis upon the importance of actions that do not.

In this, I will then balance my belief of the innate need of the client to actualize him- or herself with the manifestations of his or her actions. While completely accepting my client for what he or she is, I will implement subtle actions and words to encourage the self-actualization that is already there. In this way, I will be able to eventually help the client to become his or her own therapist. The ultimate aim of my person-centered sessions will then be to help clients to such an extent that they will no longer feel any need for a therapist. Instead, they will be able to take the role of therapist themselves.

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Of course no theory is infallible, and problems may arise on a cultural, ethical, or even legal scale when using person-centered therapy. When for example attempting to expose the inner tendency towards self-actualization, I need to be sensitive to the particular culture I am dealing with. A woman from a particular culture may for example have a very different view of self-actualization than I do. For me, this may mean making the most of my potential as a career woman and an intellectual. When I am ready, I will marry and have children. I will however have to find a balance between my family and my work. For the woman in question, self-actualization may mean being the best possible wife and mother that she can be. This may be the result of cultural conditioning, or of the family values within which she grew up. If this is her definition of self-actualization, I need to be able to understand and respect this.

On the other hand, I should not assume a particular type of self-actualization when it comes to culture. The drive towards family life for example is not bound to certain cultures or indeed to gender. I will need to be sufficiently aware to ask the correct questions for exposing each particular drive. As a person-centered therapist, I also need to understand that I should not attempt to change the type of self-actualization involved, but only help the person overcome any roadblocks towards the joy that such self-actualization will bring.

The above may also be seen in ethical terms. It is my ethical obligation to respect the particular type of self-actualization that the client chooses. I need to put aside my personal belief systems in order to play the role of therapist most effectively. The therapeutic relationship is an unconditionally accepting one, and I need to adhere to this standard.

This is not however always a simple… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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