***ALL SOURCES WILL BE PROVIDED***
In this 5-7 page paper I’d like you to describe your own developing theoretical approach to counseling/psychotherapy, making reference to at least two of the theories we have studied in class. Since you are at an early point in your professional career, you don’t need to have all the details worked out or to be at all sure about your orientation, but after going through the material in this course, how has your thinking about therapy evolved so far?
One metaphor that you may find useful in this process comes from Jeffrey Kottler (2002): if you think of choosing a theory that fits you as if you were selecting an outfit to wear, do not feel that you need to be restricted to what’s on the rack (i.e. the theories as presented in the text). Most likely, you will want to at least make some alterations for a better fit– or maybe even develop a custom made model. Your textbook (pp. 367-371) discusses common pathways to developing an integrative therapy model, which you may find helpful. Also, two research-based articles by Rihacek and his colleagues (see under Assignment 5 => Recommended Readings) explore how actual counselors/therapists develop their personal approaches
To get your thinking started, here are some questions to ask yourself, also from Kottler (2002):
What are your personal strengths, and what theories fit them best?
What are your beliefs about how change takes place? e.g., brief or long-term, importance of the past, relative responsibility of client & therapist, focus on feelings/thought/behaviors?
In what setting and with whom will you be working?
Which approaches most attract you, or most “speak to you?”
How might you personalize the theory you select, and might you add aspects of a few other theories?
Also, if you’re interested in reading some interesting reflections on the usefulness and dangers of psychotherapy theories, see Karasu (2001), under Assignment 5 => Recommended Readings.
Here are some guidelines for what to include in your paper (they don’t necessarily have to be in this order):
1. Some discussion of the sources of your approach, both personal and intellectual, e.g., from your answers to the above questions. If you’re interested, an article by Riebel (1982), under Assignment 5 => Recommended Readings, gives some intriguing examples of how personal histories are reflected in theories of therapy. Discuss your approach in the context of your experience so far as a counselor/therapist– that is, how is your work so far reflected in your own theory? Also, how might you use your knowledge of your own characteristics in the process of helping clients?
2. Your basic philosophy and view of human nature. This can include ideas about how personality develops, and your understanding of the sources of problems.
3. What are the goals and focus of therapy? What do you expect will change in the client over the course of therapy? Be specific about what you target as the focus of your work (e.g., feelings, behaviors, specific kinds of thoughts, etc.).
What is your role as therapist? For example, how much structure do you provide; how much flexibility in the therapist’s role; how much responsibility does the therapist take? Does your role change over time as therapy unfolds? You might think of a basic metaphor for your role, such as teacher, coach, guru, wise older sibling, stage manager, etc. Correspondingly, what does the client do in therapy?
5. Discuss the nature of the therapy relationship, and its importance in your approach. Again, does it change as therapy progresses?
6. What techniques or procedures are you likely to use in your work? Would they be different at different points in the process? Give specific short examples of a few clients, describing briefly the goals for that client or the basic interventions you might use.
7. Applications of your model: How would you modify your approach based on client presenting concerns? How would your approach take account of gender, cultural or other differences? Are there kinds of people or issues it would work best with? Is it primarily short- or long-term, and does it involve group or family work?
SINCE THIS IS NOT A LONG PAPER, I WOULD PRIORITIZE SECTIONS 1, 5, 6 AND 7 ABOVE, and include as much of the other sections as you can include.
You should have at least 2 references other than textbooks. Good sources for each approach can be found in the Optional Explorations section for the appropriate week, or search in the PSYCInfo database.
Also in MyLesley, see Assignment 5 => References for Theoretical Integration for articles on actual integrative models using different theories as components. And see Assignment 5 => Sample Theoretical Integration Papers for samples. However, these are longer than I am asking you to write this semester.
Papers must be typed or word-processed, double-spaced, and use APA reference format.
Be sure to keep a copy of all written work that you turn in.
Assignments are due on time; without prior consent of the instructor, grades will be lowered for late papers.
***ALL SOURCES WILL BE PROVIDED***