Back to School Offer

Get 20% of Your First Order amount back in Reward Credits!

Get 20% of Your First Orderback in Rewards

All papers examples
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy, Essay Example

Pages: 15

Words: 4074

Essay

My boyfriend died, when I was sixteen, in a car accident. It was the first time I got so close to death. Before that moment, I had never thought of death; I knew, or at least I thought I knew, what it was but I never thought it could happen to someone I loved. It seemed to be true and inescapable for everyone else but me and my loved ones. I remember not leaving my room and staying in bed all day long for a significant period of time. I thought that it would not matter if I got up and be really successful or stayed in bed and be a failure because we were all going to be buried underneath no matter what we accomplish or not here. My life had no meaning, and nothing mattered.

Some people consider that time heals all the wounds but I do not know if it was time or my parents’ force that got me out of my room. It was back to school, in other words, back-to-life time. I was waking up every morning, putting on my uniform and going to my French high school, Lycee Saint Joseph, just like before but I did not feel anything like that before. It was as if my body was there but my soul was somewhere else, somewhere far away. It was as if I put my life on hold and was living in the past and asking to myself constantly the ultimate question “why”. It was like putting a band-aid on my deep wound and not letting its breath.

In my French literature class, we had to read this book called L’etranger (The Stranger) by Albert Camus of whom I had no idea; in class, we were talking about the philosophical movement called “existentialism”. “Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know” – were the first lines of Camus’ book. It shocked me to see how someone could not remember the time of their mother’s death. It was terrible and non-understandable for me because I still remembered the exact time when I was called to be informed about the car accident. So I remember reading it at one breath. As I was turning the pages, it was as if Camus had been writing about me, the main character Meursault was actually me. Just like me, Meursault was an unperceptive man, existing only by sensory feelings and nothing more. The plot strongly resembled to my life, as he had no meaning in his life, and it was only when his death sentence was given, Meursault realized that life was absurd but he was the only one who was responsible for creating his own meaning in life.

The realization of death gave him meaning. As we talked more and more about existential movement and as I got to read more books, especially those by Sartre, I made existentialism my philosophy of life. I adopted the theory of existentialism as a way to cope with the deep wound I obtained because of my boyfriend’s death, and I saw the way out for many other people in that philosophy. The fact that existentialism is a powerful tool for self-realization, for the deep inside change, made me aware of the advantages of existential therapy popular in the field of psychology and psychiatry nowadays. Hence, I am writing the present paper to investigate the basic assumptions of the existential philosophy, and to identify its value in psychotherapy.

I have become interested in existentialism for its novelty and unusualness. Existential therapy is seen as an innovative, third force in psychotherapy, after the emergence of psychoanalysis and behavior therapy (Sapp, 2010). I must note that all three approaches are particularly distinct in terms of viewing the personality, the environment surrounding him or her. The basics of psychotherapeutic intervention methods, with existentialism being particularly focused on the individual, his/her values and meaning he/she attributes to life.

I know many subdivisions of psychotherapy based on existentialism, including the Gestalt therapy, behavior therapy, or the person-centered division of psychotherapy (Sapp, 2010). The value existentialism has for me is in the fact that it offers a constructive, effective approach to solving human dilemmas deriving from the mental unease and disturbance (Spinelli, 2007). This approach is experiential, which means that the immediate and past experience of the psychotherapy client is taken as the basic material for analysis and intervention – I see the potential in such apparoach for clients with situations like mine.

As I have already noted, my fascination with existentialism started with reading Camus and Sartre; these authors have produced a heavy impact on my life and existential vision. Sartre claimed the importance of the human situation in the world, the increase of his or her awareness as a necessary precondition of understanding the self and the environment. The main problem of human cognition was seen in the voluntary refusal from freedom by giving up consciousness, though the increase in awareness was seen as the way to increased anxiety (Howells, 2009). The freedom given by awareness is what I appreciate most; having faced a tragedy in my life, I had no power to cope with it because I was limited by conventions created by myself. Therefore, existentialism became a great power to help me realize and augment my vision of the world, as well as people’s place in it.

I am eager to communicate to my clients with the help of therapy as there are many assumptios of existentialism that I share. The first position in the existential philosophy and therapy that attracted my attention is that the individual is personally able to shape his or her destiny even despite the limit of choices he or she has (Sapp, 2010). As it happened in my case, I understood that the death of the beloved is beyond my power, but I have the power of changing my attitude to the situation, becoming aware of death as an inevitable and natural phenomenon that should not deprive me of an opportunity to living up to my potential after the drama has occurred. Viewing death as a natural process is also one of the major positions of existentialism, which enabled me to change my attitude to death and to make a step forward in life, not letting the grief of a loss to paralyze my life anymore.

Actually, the revolutionary attitude to death is what attracts me in the existential therapy most of all. Having faced the personal tragedy of a loss, I needed a strong influence to let me reconsider the effect of such events, and I received it from existentialism. Now I feel that death is a sad, undesirable phenomenon, but all people have to accept its inevitability. They should not be afraid of it, instead living so well that they will never regret dying. It is the feeling of life value that comes with the increased awareness of death, and existentialism helps its followers make every moment of life precious and perfect.

I also appreciate the notion of choice being central to the philosophical teaching. I know that all people are able to make choices, but the full awareness of the whole set of alternatives comes only with the increased freedom and redesign of the meaning of life people attribute. It is useful to turn to the opinion of Sartre on the point stating that “there is a future waiting to be created- a virgin future” (Sartre, 1956. p. 30). It means that every human being is not only able to choose from alternatives given to him or her at any moment of time, but he or she may take a strategic view on the desired future and make choices in such a way so that to design it on his or her own.

Existential therapy is a promising field in which I am planning to advance in order to help other people as effectively as the approach helped me overcome my pain and find the meaning of life. I see several goals that an existential psychotherapist should pursue in the course of intervention. First of all, it should be the assistance to clients in recognizing that they are not fully present in the therapeutic process, and showing how this approach is limiting them in the outside life. Further on, the therapist has to support the clients in facing the anxieties they have and have been avoiding for a long time. Here the main goal is to show that anxieties are a normal part of their life, and they have natural roots, so that to reassure them and eliminate a certain measure of neurotic anxiety, leaving only the existential part of it. The final goal that can be accomplished only upon the completion of two previous ones is to assist clients in redefining their world to make a natural contact with life (Corey, 2009).

The central issues attracting my attention and winning my support in existentialism are freedom and the meaning of life. Freedom, though viewed as a positive trend in the growth of human awareness, is also seen as the way to anxiety and uncertainty about the world. On the one hand, it is the opportunity to grow, but on the other hand, it is the way to disturbance and uneasiness in the surrounding world (Sapp, 2010; Sartre, 1956). Existential guilt is also one more consequence of the awareness promoted by increased awareness, but both guilt and anxiety are seen as normal phenomena, thus being explained and diminished by existentialism aiming to explain but not reduce them. I may agree that freedom, anxiety, and guilt are very closely related because I felt this on my own experience. Therefore, I think that the point of freedom is a central issue in diagnosis and existential counseling. It is essential to identify the way problems develop first, and only then it will be possible to choose the most suitable therapeutic intervention.

I think that problems develop as soon as the personality feels the dissonance with his or her conventional self-perception, self-worth, or the way he or she accepts life. I am sure that the point at which an individual understands that something goes wrong in his/her life is the starting moment of problem development. Internal perceptions of one’s self should be consistent with reality, and when it is not so, the individual starts to feel uncomfortable. Hence, the individual self-esteem is affected by experiences not consistent with his/her self-worth ideas. This statement is taken by me from the existential therapy – I think that problems develop in human perception because of their inability to accept freedom life gives them. It is the choice to refuse from life freedom that gives them uneasiness and deprives them from the ability to restore their inner equilibrium.

However, I have some contradictions on the point of life meaning in the framework of existentialism. Existentialists state that the underlying reason of freedom is the absurdity of life people live; this assumption has been regarded by Sartre (1956) as one of the key positions in the existential philosophy, as the author considers absurdity the main driving force for setting people free. There is no sense in any existence, so people are free to choose whatever existence they want. There are no clear reasons for which people should choose one life way or another, so there is no difference for them and for others. Consequently, the choice people make is never biased or predetermined by some rational considerations, which makes it totally free (Sartre, 1956). I cannot agree on this point because I want to make my existential therapy philosophy directed at helping people finding the true, strong and precious meaning of their lives. Only seeing there are some beautiful, interesting, and attractive things in the world, people may augment their reality and get rid of the guilt and limitations they are bound with.

Existential therapy appeals to me as it is directly concerned with how the problems emerge and develop in people; as I have already pointed out, these problems are usually connected with some unavoidable tragedies such as death, disability, serious disease etc. These people feel uncomfortable in the world, and they think of themselves as not entitled to being happy. They deprive themselves of the opportunity to enjoy life because they feel obliged to those having fatal disorders or being dead. This is called uneasiness and anxiety in existentialism, and the main goal of the therapeutic course is to overcome the problem by increasing the client’s awareness of the great number of opportunities, values, joys and meanings he or she should find in life just because he or she is free and not owing anything to anyone. It is similar to nihilism in this position, but it is not immoral, as many may think. Being not entitled to correspond to obligations pertains to negative experiences of people. Hence, the therapy is more directed at making people less paralyzed by their grief than making them immorally free to do any good or bad actions.

I feel that I am able to redefine existence and its significance during my existentialist inquiry and research. Here my views can be best illustrated by the quotation of Corey (2009): “the existential view of human nature is captured, in part, by the notion that the significance of our existence is never fixed once and for all; rather, we continually re-create ourselves through our projects” (p. 139). Facing a tragedy of death, and becoming a proponent of existentialism, I re-created and continue to re-create myself with each action, decision I take and make, so my goal in therapy would be to raise my client’s awareness so that he/she can see that there are many possibilities and ways to life. This is the way I think personality develops: while the person is given the choice in life that he or she may use to shape experiences, values, and attitudes, he or she becomes freer due to awareness obtained through existential thinking.

However, my view on the existential therapy is not in complete compliance with the views of outstanding philosophers and proponents of the approach. My approach can be better understood from another thought of Corey (2009): “the existential tradition seeks a balance between recognizing the limits and tragic dimensions of human existence on one hand and the possibilities and opportunities of human life on the other hand” (page 139). Thus, after my boyfriend’s death, I have come to seeing that there are limits and tragic dimensions of human existence that cannot be avoided, neglected or put up with. However, I also realized that those tragic occurrences should not be paralyzing us having so many tremendous opportunities and possibilities. I am trying to pursue those opportunities myself – a vivid example of this is my coming to the USA from distant Turkey to study and receive a degree in psychology.

I have created my own blend of theories with heavy reliance on existentialism, but as I have already mentioned, it is not all that I include in my therapeutic practice as a future psychologist. I know that existentialist therapy is also not a pure, innovative field and it relies on some other fields of therapeutic practice and inquiry. Therefore, I have worked much on finding the proper connective links between several theories that appeal to me most and that I would like to pursue in my psychological practice. The theories I connect to existentialism in my practice are the Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and the Post-Modern Theory of Counseling. Both of them offer helpful insights into what the human mind is, how the problem develops in an individual and which methods one may use to help the client overcome it.

The link that allows me to connect the CBT principles and existentialism in my therapy is the importance of responsibility emphasized in both theories. The individual is responsible for the problems he or she has, but at the same time he or she is the only one who can change the situation. The main assumption of CBT is that human emotions stem from their beliefs, behaviors, assumptions and evaluations of the surrounding world (Corey, 2009). Therefore, the importance of human goals, purposes, values, and the meaning of life become of central focus in the course of therapy. The task of the therapist is to identify the core causes of the problem and to search for the solution that would help the client change attitudes and seek new meanings in life (Corey, 2009).

The CBT hypothesis states that the human emotions are a direct result of their world perception; hence, the therapist’s goal is to help clients learn new skills that will help them identify the irrational beliefs and assumptions creating the problem within their mental self-awareness. The therapist does not act as an authoritative mentor who tells the individual what his or her problem is, but acts as a teacher who helps the client learn the ways to solve the problem. I consider this attitude to therapy highly effective because it helps solve not only the specific problem with which the client has come to the therapist, but to equip the individual with useful inventory for solving any future problems that may occur in his or her life. The CBT approach has much strategic importance in redesigning the human attitude to actions, beliefs, and assumptions as highly instrumental in shaping their life, hence giving them the clear idea of what they should do, think or believe in order to remain healthy.

Which is also interesting about CBT in counseling is that it poses much significance on the social interest as the main determiner of mental health. The client usually seems paralyzed by his or her problem at the beginning of the therapeutic course, and it is only with the help of the CBT therapist that he learns new values, new attitudes, and new skills for the individual construction of a new life for him- or herself. It is a powerful potential for clients who have stuck in one moment of their life and have n coping strategies at hand. CBT allows clients not only to identify the ineffective elements of thinking and attitudes, but also to replace them with constructive ones, which changes the whole course of the human life because of a more adequate self-esteem, assessment of life situations and search for ways out of challenging situations.

The CBT therapy focuses more on thinking and acting that on expressing feelings, which adds practical value to the approach (Corey, 2009). In such situations as mine discussing feelings would have never helped me to overcome the drama as these feelings will always remain with me. It is impossible to eliminate the bitter feelings of loss in such problems as death of close people. However, CBT offers an alternative solution – it teaches not to eliminate the pain, but to live with it, and to live fully, efficiently, and successfully, with the strong spirit and firm attitude to death as a grief but not the end for other people. CBT, as well as existentialism, poses less emphasis on the past, on the examination of dreams, and on the discussion of feelings (Corey, 2009). Its main focus is present and future, which gives much positive direction to the client and helps him realize not only the problem of the past and present, but the way to live without that problem in the future.

The post-modern approach to counseling also offered many useful contributions to my personal philosophy of counseling. I found the solution-focused brief therapy highly productive for the majority of clients who may have come across my situation in life. If people are broken down by a serious problem, the SFBT offers to focus not on finding the core causes of the problem and attacking them in the course of counseling, but to focus on finding alternative, more productive ways of scenario development in the client’s life. The SFBT principle is to show the world of possibilities to the client, and to give him or her an opportunity to replay the situation with the potential change of outcomes to the desired ones. The approach helps the client shift the focus from the problem to the potential solutions that are achievable, real, and just at hand (Corey, 2009).

I was highly attracted by the description of the counseling process as it coincides much with what I wanted my therapeutic approach to be. This is actually the path by which I solved my problem with perception of my boyfriend’s death, and I see much usefulness and rationality in it. From the very start of therapy the client and the therapist work on naming and personalizing the problem. The next step involves deciding what exactly in the problem depresses, restrains or dominates the client. Afterwards, the therapist offers to the client to replay the scenario with the problem in the way he or she would like it to have occurred (Corey, 2009).

This is the stage at which the client’s perception of the problem starts to change; as soon as he or she sees the alternative solutions that could have been applied, the main task of the therapist is to arrive at some practical stage of implementing the change in life. This is what the summary message for clients is made – the SFBT approach presupposes making a message in which the therapist estimates the client’s advancement in therapy, bridges it with the task, and then proposes the task that resembles to homework for the client to implement the altered, constructive scenario into life (Corey, 2009).

These are the theories that accompany the principles of existentialism in my personal counseling approach. I think that existentialism is constructive with such notions as death, incurable illness etc., as it was in my case. I cannot change the fact that my beloved person died, but I have to live with it, and to make my life easier existential theory helps to understand death and become less susceptible to the dramatic effect it has on people. It is only the people’s search for the meaning that makes life meaningful; this is why each individual’s life is his or her own subjective responsibility, with the total measure of freedom and choice embedded in the notion of life (Sartre, 1956). I made my choice as well, and acceptance of death let me move further on the way to awareness.

My personal dramatic situation in life made me turn to existentialism as it offered an innovative approach to life, death, meaning of life, and values we cherish. I would have never found a way out of the stress caused by the loss of my beloved because that loss was irreversible. The traditional psychological disorders are manageable because there is always a way to change the situation. However, such things as death and awaiting death are unchangeable, as all people are doomed to death since the beginning of their life. Since the fact cannot be changed, the attitude to death and life before death has to be changed to avoid uneasiness and disturbance by the expectance of the dark end of life.

I found the refuge in existentialism as the way to put up with death, to even appreciate it as the deadline until which one has to achieve enough not to be sorry to die. Hence, I believe that this approach to psychotherapy is highly constructive for all people fearing death and finding no way to maximize their appreciation of life. I am interested in the approach professionally because I want to help others who came across similar losses; I want to make sure people value life and see the senselessness of their worries in the face of non-being. Therefore, I took up professional studies of existentialism as a way of helping people set priorities in life, understand what they really need and what they should appreciate. The course of studies gave me an extended idea of what existentialism is and how it may be applied in counseling and psychotherapy, so now it is not only the part of my philosophy, and not the part of theoretical knowledge I have, but the issue of practical significance both in personal and professional life.

References

Corey, G. (2009). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning

Howells, C. (2009). Sartre: The Necessity of Freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sapp, M. (2010). Psychodynamic, Affective, and Behavioral Theories to Psychotherapy. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas Publisher.

Sartre, J.-P. (1956). Existentialism Is a Humanism. Wenatchee, WA: World Publishing Company.

Spinelli, E. (2009). Practising Existential Psychotherapy: The Relational World. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Essay Samples & Examples

Email and Voicemail Monitoring, Essay Example

When it comes to email and voicemail monitoring, it is important to consider the implications of these actions on behalf of both the employee as [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 340

Essay

Description of Place: A Forest, Essay Example

The logic behind the significance of specific locations to individuals inevitably varies. Some places may hold pertinence since they are the sites of important personal [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 315

Essay

Quality Management System, Essay Example

Customer needs and expectations are the products any customer attaches to a company and knows that he or she will get it when need arises. [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 337

Essay

What Does It Take To Be a Good Parent Assignment, Essay Example

The issue of what does it take to be a good parent is contentious, insofar as the thematic remains susceptible to subjective interpretations. One may [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 330

Essay

Human Rights Violations and the Legal System, Essay Example

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter: UDHR), advanced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, was a watershed moment, insofar as with this [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1122

Essay

The Critical Consulting Firm, Essay Example

Week 5 Issues The CanGo operation provides interesting insights into, unfortunately, how to conduct employee relations poorly. This is obviously not the company’s intent; on [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1287

Essay

Email and Voicemail Monitoring, Essay Example

When it comes to email and voicemail monitoring, it is important to consider the implications of these actions on behalf of both the employee as [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 340

Essay

Description of Place: A Forest, Essay Example

The logic behind the significance of specific locations to individuals inevitably varies. Some places may hold pertinence since they are the sites of important personal [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 315

Essay

Quality Management System, Essay Example

Customer needs and expectations are the products any customer attaches to a company and knows that he or she will get it when need arises. [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 337

Essay

What Does It Take To Be a Good Parent Assignment, Essay Example

The issue of what does it take to be a good parent is contentious, insofar as the thematic remains susceptible to subjective interpretations. One may [...]

Pages: 1

Words: 330

Essay

Human Rights Violations and the Legal System, Essay Example

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereinafter: UDHR), advanced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, was a watershed moment, insofar as with this [...]

Pages: 4

Words: 1122

Essay

The Critical Consulting Firm, Essay Example

Week 5 Issues The CanGo operation provides interesting insights into, unfortunately, how to conduct employee relations poorly. This is obviously not the company’s intent; on [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1287

Essay

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!