The theoretical orientation that best suites my personal style is a combination of both client-centered and brief therapy. In the first part of the paper, I try and describe the importance of developing a good client/therapist relationship using a client-centered approach. I like this approach the best because it helps the client to be more open and truthful with the therapist. There are several techniques that I find important in developing this bond such as: genuineness, unconditional positive regard, accurate empathy, and active listening. After building a relationship with the client, a therapist is now faced with identifying and solving a problem behavior. With this in mind, I found that the brief therapy method best fits my style. The great thing about this orientation is that it is a very directive and time efficient approach. This is because its theoretical constructs rely heavily on a cognitive-behavioral basis. In the last part of the paper I go into greater detail in describing what I like best about this therapy.
The first thing a therapist should concern themselves with is building a relationship with a client. A great way to start doing this is by demonstrating genuineness. A therapist displays genuineness by showing their true selves by not hiding behind their professional stature (Allen 1994). In essence, the therapist is saying to the client, "Hey, look I have nothing to hide from you, what you see is what you get." In doing this, a client may become more comfortable with themselves and thus able to share sensitive information. In a way, the use of genuineness helps both the client and the therapist drop their preconceived roles. They are no longer interacting as a client and therapist, but are relating to each other as two human beings trying to connect. Once this occurs, a client is more likely to relax and be more open towards the therapist's questioning. This can benefit the effectiveness of therapy greatly by getting to the root of the problem much earlier.
Other than genuineness, another powerful tool used by client centered therapists is unconditional positive regard. It can be characterized by a therapist being accepting, valuing, and positive toward a client regardless of his or her behavior (Allen 1994). This is really one of the strongest assets of client-centered therapy. Much in part, due to its effectiveness in helping clients feel comfortable with themselves and most importantly the therapist. This technique is especially effective in dealing with sensitive issues such as child molestation, spousal abuse, and drug problems (Allen 1994). Clients that display any of these problems may be very defensive or uncomfortable discussing these issues with a therapist. However, once a client understands that they will not be judged negatively by the therapist, they are more likely to share important information. Without this technique, a therapist would have a harder time uncovering the true cause of the problem, since a client may be disguising it in fear of their reaction.
Another great technique to use in combination with genuineness and unconditional positive regard is accurate empathy. This can be described as the therapist's ability to identify with the client (Allen 1994). In doing this, the therapist is showing the client that they truly understand what they are going through. A therapist can do this by sharing in the emotion a client may be experiencing. For example, during a session a client excitedly says that they have started getting back to work on time. The therapist would reciprocate this excitement back by maybe saying, "That's really great! You are making progress very quickly!" Not only does this serve as a confidence booster for the client, but it really shows them that the therapist cares about them. This type of response by a therapist can serve as a strong motivating force for further achievement by the client. This is because a client is made aware that they are not...
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