This paper is designed to focus on identifying conceptualization and treatment for clients regarding Individual Psychology. It begins with the client’s case study and history because it will give a stronger understanding of how the Individual Psychology theory is effective when working with this client. Understanding the dynamics of what the client has and is currently experiencing will allow the counselor the opportunity to point out the issues and address them individually. Details of the client’s concerns will be addressed, along with different techniques on dealing with the client, and some spiritual guidance to keep their spirits lifted during this process. The writer will connect the client’s flawed decisions with the new taught knowledge gained in counseling, in hopes of creating a stronger marriage and better person. The writer ends the paper by describing why the Individual Psychology Therapy was selected, how this therapy is used to treat the client, and will describe any challenging aspects that may arise while working with the client.
Keywords: Individual, psychology, therapy, theory, technique
Client’s Presenting Concern
Tina and John have been married for 12 years. Tina and John were both raised from a single mother. Tina never received any male affection as a child and she relied on sex and the attention men gave her. She sought out affection of any kind, but the affection from her husband wasn’t good enough. She also holds resentment and anger for the way John has treated their oldest daughter, Emily. Tina is remaining in the marriage right now, but she is emotionally and sexually disconnected and is planning on leaving. John had six sisters and even though it was a large family, he felt alone. John’s mother put men ahead of all six of her children.
His sister’s followed in his mother’s steps and connected love by men and sex. John never felt loved and searched desperately for love. Despite Tina’s multiple indiscretions John greatly wanted his marriage to last in spite of Tina’s repeated wants to leave him. Although John is not aware of Tina’s plan on leaving within the year he is very upset with her constant threat to leave and go back to her hometown.
Individual Psychology Therapy
Alfred Adler, one of Sigmund Freud’s students, created his own theory separating him from his teacher, and started his own theory (Stein & Edwards, 2011). Adler created the Individual Psychology, it focused on the individual as totality. Individual Psychology is defined as a cognitive, goal-oriented, social psychology concerned with an individual’s conviction, faith and awareness, along with each individual’s behavior. His focus was on the conscious and social drives. Adler believed that every person had self doubting and apprehensive times in their life, but deserved to be treated with respect and dignity (Milliren, Evans, & Newbauer, n.k.d.). Each person will have to identify their problem and work towards becoming a better person. Adler believed that each person manifested their own life course.
Milliren, et. al (n.k.d.) stated that Individual Psychology had several fundamental principles, but the primary three are goal oriented goals, humans with the desire to belong and value themselves, and finally each person is inseparable and maintained wholeness through their personality. Adlerian psychology is different from any other school of psychology because it involved holism, purposiveness, and social interest. An unknown author from Adler Graduate School (2014), wrote, “thinking, feeling, emotion, and behavior can only be understood as subordinated to the individual’s style of life, or consistent pattern of dealing with life”. According to Milliren, et. Al (n.k.d.) there are three principles of Individual Psychology: the behavior is goal driven, humans had a need to belong and want to be desired, and each person is viewed as a whole with unique personalities and behaviors.
When the client has started seeing a counselor they have come to the understanding of accepting there is a problem. When counseling begins the counselor must allow the client to address the concerns that has caused them to go in for counseling. Once the concerns have been presented, the counselor begins to work towards implementing the changes into their life. Some physiological functioning along with the tasks of thinking, behaving, and feelings are all incorporated in the desire to reach their personal goal. Murdock (2009) believed that humans had an instinctive nature to always strive to obtain perfection, and understanding the desperation to succeed one can understand how the human path is created.
Adler viewed family constellations into two separate ways to comprehend family positioning (Murdock, 2009, 140). There is a large amount of research differentiating the two ways and there are a vast amount of factors used in comprehending the differences. The first system is ordinal; this is order or number for each child born into the family (Shulman & Mosak, n.k.d.). For example when parents have children they place them in order of their first, second, or third born child. The second system is the birth order. A child’s birth order is determined by several factors. The first factor is if the children born in different environments (mentally and financially).
The second factor is the psychological situation of the birth order of the child, which means if the first born does not act/represent like the first born as a leader, or example and the second child acts more mature than the second born will take the first born’s role. The third factor is amount of years between the siblings can amplify, or reduce arguments and fights between the siblings. Finally, the birth order is an influence. Birth order is not set in stone, the interaction with the parents also influence the order. Adler believed that everyone’s life plan was created by the time they were 5 years old (Murdock, 2009, p. 118).
John was the third child of the family; however, he was the only one of the family who had a job. His mother and sister’s worked at fast food restaurants, or they did telemarketing while he went into the military to get him out of the city. Although he wanted more of his life than how he was raised, John was not aware of how to express his emotions. He was taught to keep everything in because if you showed emotions as a boy, it means you are weak. So, now John is not able to express all of his feelings to Tina. He can only show anger, or he pulls away from everyone.
John views himself as a good husband and father, because he is still in the home with them and in his children’s lives. He feels that he has not abandoned them, so everything should be great in their lives. Despite the fact that John is not involved in any of his children’s activities, or has any knowledge about their school progress he feels like he is a good father because he doesn’t know any different.
Goals and Interventions
John is not aware of any problems in the family. He views that he is a good dad because he is in the home. He feels this way because he provides a nice home, insurance, security, and the comforts of having financial stability. He is in the home and able to help with disciplining the children when needed. John refuses to go to counseling because he feels that he does what he has to do as a man. He is not supposed to show emotions. He is supposed to keep his emotions in because no one wants to hear a man complaining.
Counselors that practice Adlerian therapy believe that any client is able to change. The counselors incorporated three factors that are needed in working with clients, such as: love, faith, and hope (Murdock, 2009, p.128). The love is a general term. In order for the client to want to change they must feel like the counselors cares about them. Faith is shown by a counselor having confidence and is able to support the client. Having hope means that the counselor must ensure the client that they are able to succeed in life. In order for the counselor to be able to help the client, the counselor will need to understand each client, his lifestyle, and their reasoning for their actions.
There are several techniques used to help clients under the Individual Psychology therapy. One of the techniques used is interpretation. When a counselor uses interpretation they use all of the information gained and attempt to make sense of the client’s lifestyles, dreams, and circumstances. The client is then able to offer their personal thoughts on how the information is perceived.
The second technique used in Individual Psychology therapy is encouragement. Encouragement is the continuation of interpretation of the client’s lifestyle, dreams, and circumstances. Encouragement is normally given prior to the client attempting to make the change. Encouragement is given as hope, or optimism to help to build the client’s confidence while they take on new tasks in their life.
The third technique is acting as if. This is when clients have excuses for their behavior. When a client starts a sentence with “if only”, this is an attempt for the client to try to make sense of the issue. The counselor should ask the client how things would be different “if only” those items were real. Once the question is answered, then the counselor will be able to redirect and change the client’s view. Spiritual Application
The Individual Psychology is based on the understanding the life of a person as a whole. Murdock (2009) wrote humans have an innate drive to be successful and survive. God created all humans equally, without envy. Attempting to have the clients to view themselves as equals to others will help keep the client spiritually connected and happy. This type of therapy requires the client to completely honest with themselves and others. The goal of the therapy is to assist the client in understanding the wrong lifestyle that they had been living and to correct the thought process.
This paper was composed from a case study of John and Tina, then it was enhanced with the Individual Psychology Therapy. This therapy was used because I feel that any type of therapy begins with the individual and the individual wanting to change. This type of therapy was a benefit to the client, because it focused on increasing the self. I think the most difficult aspect of this therapy was acknowledging the problem, accepting the problem, and correcting it.
Milliren, A., Evan, T., and Newbauer, J. (n.k.d.). Adlerian Theory. Carter & Evans Marriage and Family Therapy: Retrieved on February 2, 2014, from http://www.carterandevans.com/portal/index.php/adlerian-theory/69-adlerian-th