Possibly absolutely nothing is as considerable to the success of the therapeutic procedure and absolutely nothing represents the foundation of successful therapy more than one’s individual theory of therapy. All individuals in all aspects of life work from some belief system, point of view, or design of how the world works, how things are, and how things engage. Developing a deep understanding of one’s own individual theory results in better decision-making with regard to the therapeutic procedure, including therapist method and client interaction.
Such an understanding likewise promotes a greater capability to intervene more effectively with customers whose worths remain in contrast to one’s own. Knowing one’s own individual theory of the world and, consequently, one’s view of therapy, likewise helps the therapist identify specific strengths and locations for improvement. The individual orientation of the therapist is a sum total of numerous impacts such as interests, self-awareness, experience, worths, and compassion for others, amongst numerous other things.
Such impacts have a direct impact on one’s individual theory of counseling.
For instance, my Christian upbringing, experiences, and beliefs have a significant impact on my personal view of the world and others and, for that reason, likewise on my theory of counseling. My religions and worths correspond with some healing methods and not others. As customers will be most happy when the therapeutic method is most in positioning with their own personal values, so the therapist will fill most rewarded and happiest approaching the restorative process from a foundation that is consistent with their own individual values.
The same is real for one’s individual skills and personality.
The process of developing a personal theory of counseling is a bit like shopping for the best fitting clothes. One may find a suit jacket that fits best in an upscale designer clothing store, a shirt that fits best in a retail chain store, a pair of slacks that fit best in a seconds outlet, and a pair of shoes that fit best from a catalogue store. Likewise, one’s personal theory of counseling that fits best is often a synthesis of several different approaches. Despite finding such a fit, the therapist must remain aware of the fact that all theories work with some clients while no theory works with all clients.
Such self-awareness enables the therapist to affirm that theories of counseling offer only a partial understanding of human behavior, thinking, growth, and healing and not a definitive or total one. For these reasons, a synthesis of different counseling theories offers a more effective approach. Yet despite such a synthesis or individual theory of counseling, the therapist is charged with the task of continuous, ongoing learning with respect to understanding and working with people. A comprehensive personal theory must deal with the truth that is at the base of the problem.
This can be achieved by taking into account various components such as personality structure, motivation, human development, individual differences, health, illness, techniques, effectiveness and the biblical worldview which are all parts of a comprehensive counseling theory (Hawkins, 2006d). To be effective biblical counselors we must have the attitude of Crabb when he stated, “My overriding goal must be in every circumstance to respond biblically, to put the Lord first, to live in subjection to the father’s will as Christ did (Crabb, 1988, p. 20). ” Counselors that get results take into consideration the whole person (e. g. mind, body, soul). Unlike secular counselors, the effective biblical counselor understands that if the counselee encounters a problem we must go back to the manufacturer, which is God who is the answer to the problem. My personal theory of counseling is, indeed, a synthesis of different influences and therapeutic approaches. Of these influences and theories, the following are the foundation of my personal theory of counseling: Christianity, particularly the examples of the life of Jesus Christ and person-centered theory. For ease of use and future development purposes, I have labeled my personal theory of counseling the Holmes approach.
Influences from various approaches form my worldview on people, behavior, thinking, growth, and healing. Within the Holmes approach to counseling, I find a form of modeling, interaction with others, and creation of an environment that most promotes growth and healing. In considering the development of a personal philosophy, several key areas are considered. First, a personal theory includes assumptions about human nature. Second, a theory addresses key concepts including personality development, learning theory, an explanation of health versus ill health, and the roles of behavior, cognition, and affect, among others.
Third, therapeutic goals and objectives are considered. Fourth, a personal theory elucidates the therapeutic process which defines the role and function of the counselor, the therapeutic relationship, and the client’s experience. Finally, primary techniques and procedures are identified that are used to facilitate change. The following is an initial, sophomoric sense of my own developing personal theory. Assumptions About Human Nature The main component of my personal theory of counseling is the person-centered approach developed by Carl Rogers. This approach will be my main one for interaction with clients.
The reason for person-centered theory driving my therapeutic approach is because its outlook or worldview toward individual function and interaction is most congruent with my own beliefs and values. Person-centered therapy is a humanistic therapy that focuses on individual existence and change (Corey, 2009; Leijssen, 2008; Stiles, Barkham, Mellor-Clark, & Connell, 2008; Wilkins & Gill, 2003; Ziegler, 2002). The principles of Carl Rogers’ work are founded on respect for others, demonstrated by treating everyone with empathy, honesty and giving them unconditional acceptance (Corey, 2009).
Person-centered therapy makes the assumption that individuals have the natural or innate power to heal themselves (Corey, 2009). The person-centered or client-centered approach to therapy posits a client-therapist relationship geared toward encouraging these intrinsic healing abilities (Stiles et al. , 2008; Wilkins & Gill, 2003). The view that each individual has within him or her ability to grow and heal is congruent with my Christian belief that within our self is our power of strength through Christ.
As 1 Chronicles 20: 10 expresses, “Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power,” (NKJV). Through the reading Dr. Ronald Hawkins’ model for guiding the counseling process poses that man should be viewed as a set of five concentric circles (Hawkins, 2006). The first circle is the human spirit which portrays God but is inevitably sinful. The second circle is the soul, where the person’s feelings, thoughts, will, and conscience are included. The third is the person’s physical body.
Lastly, he adds two more circles to demonstrate components or elements of influence affecting persons. One is labeled as temporal systems such as education, economy, government, society, church, friends, and family. The other is labeled as supernatural systems, mainly God, Satan, good angels, and fallen angels. Hawkins’ model focuses in on the actions of the individual. Key Concepts Genuineness, unconditional positive regard, and empathetic understanding are the main components of the stance modeled by the therapist toward the client in person-centered therapy (Leijssen, 2008).
Rogers argued that these three elements in and of themselves are sufficient for promoting change and fuller functioning in clients. A main goal of the person-centered approach is to assist clients through exhibition of these aspects in coming to a fuller acceptance of self-worth (Corey, 2009; Wilkins & Gill, 2003; Ziegler, 2002). Unconditional positive regard and acceptance from the therapist promotes greater self-awareness and self-acceptance in clients (Corey, 2009).
Therapy is the means by which clients will remove the personal barriers that constrain and restrict the natural power of self-growth and healing. The inherent worth of the individual forms the basis of the main ideas behind person-centered therapy, as well as Christianity (Adams, 2009; Leijssen, 2008; Reinert, Edwards, & Hendrix, 2009). The goal of accepting Christ into one’s life is similar to the goal of therapy in the person-centered approach; the need of the client for self-acceptance (Leijssen, 2008).
As the goal of accepting Christ equates to being saved, a condition of worthiness, so the person-centered therapist is charged with the goal of seeking, in a non-directive manner, to assist the client in confronting feelings and beliefs that prevent the client from achieving congruence between such feelings and beliefs and self-image (Adams, 2009; Leijssen, 2008; Reinert et al. , 2009). The scripture tells us in Romans 15:1-3, “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.
For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me’,” (NKJV). Our Lord and Savior wants our lives to be edified through one another. Holmes therapy, as with person-centered therapy, will enable those in the helping profession to care for our brothers and sisters in love, not by judging or trying to solve their problems, but by just being there to help carry the load and enable them to live much more freely. As with Jay Adams (1986), in this system the true goal of Christian counseling is sanctification through the power of the Holy Spirit. The change for which Christian counselors strive has a spiritual direction and their aim is to help people prosper in the right direction. All change toward God is good, and all change away from God is bad. Sanctification, change toward God is the goal of all Christian counseling,” (Adams, 1986, p. xiii). The fundamental goal of Holmes therapy is not necessarily symptom relief. Rather, the therapy involves identifying and exploring mistaken goals and ineffective beliefs and values so that the client can make choices that are more congruent with their true self.
In exploring these issues, the client will gain a more meaningful sense of who they are and come to accept that they have the freedom to control their life, but with that freedom comes the responsibility of the choices that they make. By accepting this responsibility, the client will be able to develop a more accurate identity which gives greater meaningfulness to their life and develop the tools to identify and fulfill their needs defined by this ‘new, developing’ self. Therapeutic change occurs for the client in stages as they become more and more independent from the therapist.
The healed client will be one who lives without the guise of pretense and who can accurately perceive his or her needs, opportunities, and self-worth in the external environment. As individuals can actualize their innate potentiality through a relationship with Christ, the Holmes therapist assists the client in recognizing their innate potentiality. Growth, healing, and enrichment of life are all possible due to this innate ability. The golden rule of Christian faith is to do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Such interaction in person-centered therapy stems from the creation of an environment of unconditional positive regard.
As one must willingly come to Christ to receive the benefits of such a life, the functions and role of the therapist in person-centered therapy is non-directive (Leijssen, 2008). The therapist does not provide answers or interpret what the client says or probe for unconscious conflicts or even direct the client toward specific topics. Instead, the therapist provides a “safe” and “unchallenging” environment of empathetic listening and unconditional positive regard in which the client feels comfortable self-disclosing feelings, beliefs, and attitudes (Leijssen, 2008).
The therapist then restates or reframes the words of the client. The role for the client is to challenge his or her own feelings, especially those that are negative and undermine self-worth, and to be self-revealing. When fusing Christianity, person-centered therapy, and behavior therapy in the Holmes approach the function of the counselor is to serve as an informed guide, but non-judgmental through the client’s process of change.
In order to do this, the counselor needs to assess where the client is right now. There is little need to dwell on where the client has been other than when assessing how previous patterns of thoughts and behaviors have affected their current state (Corey, 2009). The counselor helps the client understand their approach to life and how maladaptive strategies and choices have affected their ability to meet their needs and feel happy (Corey, 2009; Terjesen, Salhany, & Scuiotto, 2009; Zeigler, 2002).
Moreover, the counselor helps the client see their role in creating their misery and helps the client “own up to” their current state. This facilitates taking responsibility for one’s current existence and sets the stage for the client in accepting personal responsibility for their change process. To support this, the counselor helps instill a greater sense of hope and points of positive qualities of the client that can or already are contributing to their growth.
Taken from the person-centered and behavior therapies, in the Holmes approach the client’s role in therapy is that of a learner in the sense that they will gain awareness and insight into how they operate, their self defeating beliefs and erroneous attributions, and how poor choices have affected their ability to fulfill needs and desires (Corey, 2009; Terjesen et al. , 2009; Zeigler, 2002). The client develops the willingness (or courage) to attempt change when they realize the responsibility they have in giving their life meaning, abandoning ineffective beliefs/attitudes, and making choices that lead to need/want fulfillment.
In essence, the client comes to an understanding that they are the only one that can ‘solve’ their problems. I believe the therapeutic relationship is the catalyst that permits the client to accept their role in the change process. In accordance with the Rogerian view (Raskin, Rogers, & Witty, 2008) it is vital that the counselor and client operate as collaborative equals, despite any desire by the client for therapeutic directives (Corey, 2009; Terjesen, Salhany, & Scuiotto, 2009; Zeigler, 2002). In this relationship the counselor’s most important contribution is genuineness.
Such authenticity allows the counselor to interact with the client in a congruent way and be ‘real’ with the client. Unconditional positive regard and acceptance as well as empathetic understanding are also part of the relationship. These aspects of the relationship allow the client to experience their interaction with the counselor as genuine and foster trust and self acceptance. These attributes help the client see themselves in a more positive light and encourage the client to take risks necessary for change.