Individual Psychology Theory Application
Read the “Case Study Analysis.”
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Select one of the following theories that you feel best applies to treating the client in the case study:
Write a 750-1,000-word analysis of the case study using the theory you chose. Include the following in your analysis.
What concepts of the theory make it the most appropriate for the client in the case study?
Why did you choose this theory over the others?
What will be the goals of counseling and what intervention strategies are used to accomplish those goals?
Is the theory designed for short- or long-term counseling?
What will be the counselor’s role with this client?
What is the client’s role in counseling?
For what population(s) is this theory most appropriate? How does this theory address the social and cultural needs of the client?
What additional information might be helpful to know about this case?
What may be a risk in using this approach?
Include at least three scholarly references in your paper.
Each response to the assignment prompts should be addressed under a separate heading in your paper. Refer to “APA Headings and Seriation,” located on the Purdue Owl website for help in formatting the headings.
Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.
You are required to submit this assignment to Turnitin. Refer to the directions in the Student Success Center.
This assignment meets the following CACREP Standard: 2.F.5.a. Theories and models of counseling.
Individual psychology: Relevant techniques for today’s counselor
I presented a workshop at the 2011 American Counseling Association Annual Conference in New Orleans at which I demonstrated some of the main theoretically based techniques that Adlerian counselors use with clients. Adlerian psychology, or individual psychology as it is also known, refers to the theory that Alfred Adler developed at the turn of the 20th century. The strategies I covered in the workshop included life style interpretation, early recollections and social interest. Many of the participants shared that they had always believed in the importance of personality traits, sibling relationships, early memories and using a strengths-based model. What they really appreciated was revisiting the theory behind these techniques because they said it reminded them of how to conceptualize their clients from a holistic perspective. The purpose of this article, however, is not to provide a thorough review of the theory (for that, counselors should read Adlerian Therapy: Theory and Practice by Jon Carlson, Richard Watts and Michael Maniacci, published in 2005). Instead, I’d like to share some of those Adlerian ideas and strategies that counselors can use with clients in a variety of settings.
In my opinion, what distinguishes Adlerian practitioners from other counselors is the emphasis on the purposefulness of behavior. This isn’t necessarily a true technique that one needs to rehearse or practice, like learning how to collect early recollections. Rather, it is a philosophy about the root of the problems clients present with in counseling. We, as Adlerians, do not focus on the symptoms and behaviors that a client experiences, but rather on what underlying purpose those symptoms serve in that client’s life. The only way for a client to truly understand the problem and bring about lasting change is to see the deeper meaning of the situation. So, as the client narrates his or her story, the counselor is listening for the purpose behind the symptom — the “benefit” the client experiences in continuing the behavior.
For instance, a client discussing a struggle with anxiety states, “I would love to go on a date with this person, but every time I get the chance to ask, I get nauseous and feel like I’m going to be sick, so then I don’t ask.” An Adlerian counselor will explore and listen for the reason behind the symptom. In this instance, it may be that feeling nauseous keeps the client safe from possible rejection. Through the course of a therapy session or sessions, a counselor can use questions and other methods to help the client gain insight into the purpose of the symptom. The counselor might ask the client, “What purpose does the nausea have?” or “If your stomach could talk to you about dating, what would it say?” (For more information on Adler’s concept of organ jargon, see the 2006 book Readings in the Theory of Individual Psychology, edited by Steve Slavik and Jon Carlson.)
Upon the client’s recognition that the fear is keeping him or her from a potential opportunity, the client can decide, in collaboration with the counselor, how to rid himself or herself of that fear. It may be that at the heart of the problem, the client views himself or herself as unworthy of love, and the anxiety is an outward sign of that core belief. The goal in counseling may then be to dismantle that self-perception, allowing the client to move toward a love relationship rather than remaining stuck in an inferiority complex. So the point is to listen for the music behind the words rather than focusing solely on alleviating symptoms. If the counselor and client superficially alleviate the symptom without addressing the underlying purpose, then a new symptom will take the place of the old one. In his book Understanding Human Nature, Adler said we must never neglect the client’s own use of his or her symptoms..
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Discussion Questions (DQ)
Initial responses to the DQ should address all components of the questions asked, include a minimum of one scholarly source, and be at least 250 words.
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One or two sentence responses, simple statements of agreement or “good post,” and responses that are off-topic will not count as substantive. Substantive responses should be at least 150 words.
I encourage you to incorporate the readings from the week (as applicable) into your responses.
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