Monday, June 18, 2012

12th Blog

Existential Therapy

Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622) is credited with the quote, “bloom where you are planted.”

     This assignment was difficult for me just to narrow down to one theory of the eleven approaches of psychology. Existential therapy speaks to me the most because I can identify with it on a personal, as well as, a spiritual level. I believe everyone has a destiny/purpose in life and it is to find and fulfill it while they are here on earth.


     Viktor Frankl is one of the key figures of Existentialism. Before the actual introduction of the concept, Victor was a Jew and had to overcome a few personal obstacles himself. During the three years as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp, Frankl had watched his family die including his parents, wife, and children. I respect the fact that this man used his horrific experiences in order to help someone else. Frankel was in his fourties during his personal quest, thus giving me continued hope too.  Personally, I believe if a person can live through such a terrible tradegy, and still have love in his heart, I think it is something worth listening to.


     Mr. Frankl was influenced by Freud and Alder, however his most influential leader was Nietzsche. Viktor also developed the term logotherapy (therapy through meaning). He believed that life has meaning and one must utilize the mind, body, and spirit to achieve this experience. I am also a firm believer that the body is made up of three parts and it is up to the individual to find a good balance of them in order to be happy.    

     Another figure of Existential therapy that I admire is Irvin Yalom. As a young boy, Irvin grew up in a poor environment and loved to read. I relate this background to my previous employer's clientel with Headstart. No matter how rich, or tall, poor or small.... teach a child to read, for me..that is all.  I believe if a child is a great reader, then he has the potential to be a great writer too. Irvin Yalom has written many books relating to psychotherapy. One of his philosophies is that everyone is unique and has their own story. I have personally, always said, people are like books... they have a story to tell. I must learn to read them well. Irvin also expresses that a therapist must be transparent, interpersonal, and express authenticity. These are true qualities that a leader must behold and model.

     In closing, I can identify with Existential therapy because I have applied it most of my adult life. As stated in the text book, existential tradition seeks a balance of opportunities of life and being aware of our limits. Some people have a problem with this therapy stating that this therapy is a trend to positive psychology. I say, I would rather seek the good/positive than find the bad/negative because it is in all things. When the bad or negative things do happen, try to have the attitude of what does not kill you makes you....stronger...wiser.

  •  Corey, G. (2013)..Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th ed.,). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

  • Google Images

  • YouTube


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Family Systems Therapy

*Family Systems therapy is represented by a variety of theories and approaches, all of which focus on the same relational aspects of human problems.

Alfred Alder - 1st Psychologist of Modern Era to do Family Therapy

(1870 - 1937)

Murray Bowen - Original Developers of Mainstream Family Therapy

(1913 - 1990)

Virginia Satir - Developer of Conjoint Family Therapy

*(A human validation process model that emphasizes communication & emotional experiences.)

(1916 - 1988)

Carl Whitaker - Creator of Symbolic-Experiential Family Therapy

(1912 - 1995)

Salvador Minuchin - Developed Structural Family Therapy

(b. 1921)

Jay Haley - Founded the Washington School of Strategic Family Therapy

(1923 - 2007)

Cloe` Madanes- Contributed to the Development of Brief, Solution-Oriented Therapy Approach

* (The strategic interventions most used were reframing, family directives, & paradoxical interventions.)

(b. 1941)


  • To help family members gain awareness of patterns of relationships that are not working well.

  • To create new ways of interacting.

Key Concepts :

  • Focus is on communication patterns within a family, both verbal & nonverbal.

  • Problems in relationships are likely to be passed on from generation to generation.

  • Differentiation

  • Triangles

  • Power Coalitions

  • Family-of-origin Dynamics

  • Functional vs. Dysfunctional Interaction Patterns

  • Dealing with Here-and-Now Interactions

  • The present is more important than exploring past experiences.


    • The family is viewed from an interactive & systematic perspective.

    • Clients are connected to a living system; a change in one part of the system will result in a change in other parts.

    • The family provides the context for understanding how individuals function in a relationship to others & how they behave.

    • Treatment deals with the family unit. An individual's dysfunctional behavior grows out of the interactional unit of the family & out of larger systems as well.



      Other Techniques:

      • Techniques may be experimental, cognitive, or behavioral in nature.

      • Genograms

      • Teaching

      • Asking Questions

      • Joining the Family

      • Tracking Sequences

      • Issuing Directives

      • Use of Countertransference

      • Family Mapping

      • Reframing

      • Restructuring

      • Enactments

      • Setting Boundaries  



        Family Therapy


        • Corey, G. (2013)..Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th ed.,). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

        • Google Images

        •  YouTube


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Postmodern Approaches

*Postmodern approaches do not have a single founder.

Insoo Kim Berg - Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

(1935 - 2007)

Steve de Shazer - Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

(1940 - 2005)



Michael White - Narrative Therapy

(1949 - 2008)



David Epston - Narrative Therapy

(b. 1944)






  • To change the way clients view problems & what they do about these concerns.

  • To collaboratively establish specific, clear, concrete, realistic, & observable goals leading to increased positive change.

  • To help clients create a self-identity grounded on competence & resourcefulness so they can resolve present  future concerns.

  • To assist clients in viewing their lives in positive ways, rather than being problem saturated. 


Key Concepts:

  • Therapy tends to be brief & addresses the the present & the future.

  • The person is not the problem; the problem is the problem.

  • The emphasis is on externalizing the problem & looking for exceptions to the problem.

  • Therapy consists of a collaborative dialogue in which the therapist & the client co-create solutions.

  • By identifying instances when the problem did not exist, clients can create new meanings for themselves & fashion a new life story. 






    • Based on the premise that there are multiple realities & multiple truths, postmodern therapies reject the idea that reality is external & can be grasped.

    • People create meaning in their lives through conversations with others.

    • The postmodern approaches avoid pathologizing clients, take a dim view of diagnosis, avoid searching for underlying causes of problems, & place a high value on discovering clients' strengths & resources.

    • Rather than talking about problems, the focus of therapy is on creating solutions in the present & in the future.





      Other Techniques:

      • In solution-focused therapy, the main technique is change-talk, with emphasis on times in a client's life when the problem was not a problem.

      • Creative use of questioning

      • The miracle question

      • Scaling questions

      • Formula first session task

      • Therapist feedback to clients

      • Terminating

      • Application to group counseling

      • In narrative therapy, specific techniques include listening to a client's problem-saturated story without getting stuck.

      • Externalizing & naming the problem.

      • Externalizing conversations

      • Discovering clues to competence

      • Questions & more questions

      • Search for unique outcomes

      • Alternative stories & reauthoring

      • Documenting the evidence

      • *Narrative therapists often write letters to clients & assist them in finding an audience that will support their changes & new stories.



        Solution-Focused Couples Therapy  - Insoo Kim Berg Video Clip 



        •  Corey, G. (2013)..Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th ed.,). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

        • Google Images

        • YouTube 


Feminist Therapy

*The Feminist Therapy does not have a single founder.

Jean Baker Miller, MD



 Carolyn Zerbe Enns, PhD




Olivia M. Espin, PhD



Laura S. Brown, PhD







  • To bring about transformation both in the individual client & in society.

  • To assist clients in recognizing, claiming, & using their personal power to free themselves from the limitations of gender-role socialization.

  • To confront all forms of institutional policies that discriminate or oppress on any basis. 





    Key Concepts:

    • The main principles are is that the personal is political, therapists have a commitment to social change, women's voices, ways of knowing are valued, & women's experiences are honored.

    • The counseling relationship is egalitarian, therapy focuses on strengths & a reformulated definition of psychological distress, & all types of oppression are recognized. 





      • The constructs of feminist therapy include being gender fair, flexible, interactionist, & life-span-oriented.

      • Gender & power are the heart of feminist therapy.

      • This is a systems approach that recognizes the cultural, social, & political factors that contribute to an individual's problems.

      • The personal is political.

      • Commitment to social change.

      • Women's & girl's voices & ways of knowing are valued & their experiences are honored.

      • The counseling relationship is egalitarian.

      • A focus on strengths & a reformulated definition of psychological distress.

      • All types of oppression are recognized.

        Other Techniques:

        • Employ consciousness-raising techniques aimed at helping clients recognize the impact of gender-role socialization on their lives.

        • Gender-role analysis & intervention

        • Power analysis  intervention

        • Demystifying therapy

        • Bibliotherapy

        • Journal writing

        • Therapist self-disclosure

        • Assertiveness training

        • Reframing & relabeling

        • Cognitive restructuring

        • Identifying & challenging untested beliefs

        • Role playing

        • Psychodramatic methods

        • Group work

        • Social action

          Feminist Theory


  •  Corey, G. (2013)..Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th ed.,). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

  • Google Images

  • YouTube 





Monday, June 11, 2012

Reality Therapy


 William Glasser


Robert E. Wubbolding, EdD



  • To help people become more effective in meeting all of their psychological needs.

  • To enable clients to get reconnected with the people they have chosen to put into their quality worlds & teach clients choice theory. 

    Key Concepts:

    • The basic focus is on what clients are doing & how to get them to evaluate whether their present actions are working for them.

    • People are mainly motivated to satisfy their needs, especially the need for significant relationships.

    • The approach rejects the medical model, the notion of transference, the unconscious, & dwelling on one's past.

    • Theories

      • Based on choice therapy, this approach assumes that we need quality relationships to be happy.

      • Psychological problems are the result of our resisting the control by others or of our attempt to control others.

      • Choice theory is an explanation of human nature & how to best achieve satisfying interpersonal relationships.  

        Other Techniques:

        • Create an active, directive, & didactic therapy.

        • Skillful questioning is used for the duration of the therapy process.

        • Enable client to design their own plan of action for change if a specific technique is not working.

        • Emphasize choice & responsibility.

        • Reject transference.

        • Keep the therapy in the present.

        • Avoid focusing on symptoms.

        • Challenge traditional views of mental illness.

           Dr. Glasser




          •  Corey, G. (2013)..Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th ed.,). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

          • Google Images

          • YouTube



Cognitive Behavior Therapy


Albert Ellis- Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)


Aaron T. Beck / Judith S. Beck - Cognitive Therapy

(b. 1921)     (b.1954)

Donald Meichenbaum - Cognitive Behavior Therapy

(b. 1940)


  • To teach clients to confront faulty beliefs with contradictory evidence that they gather & evaluate.

  • To help clients seek out their faulty beliefs & minimize them.

  • To become aware of automatic thoughts & to change them.





     Key Concepts:

  •   Although psychological problems may be rooted in childhood, they are reinforced by present ways of thinking.

  • A person's belief system is the primary cause of disorders.

  • Internal dialogue plays a central role in one's behavior. 

  • Clients focus on examining faulty assumptions, misconceptions, & replacing these with effective beliefs.


  • Individuals tend to incorporate faulty thinking, this leads to emotional & behavioral disturbances.

  • Cognitions are the major determinants of how we feel & act.

  • Therapy is primarily oriented toward cognition, behavior, & it stresses the role of thinking, deciding, questioning, doing, & redeciding.

  • This psychoeducational model, emphasizes therapy as a learning process, includes acquiring & practicing new skills, learning new ways to think, & acquiring more effective ways of coping with problems. 


    Other Techniques:

    • Therapists use a variety of cognitive, emotive, & behavioral techniques: diverse methods are tailored to suit individual clients.

    • This therapy is an active, directive, time-limited, present-centered, psychoeducational, & structured.

    • Engage in Socratic dialogue.

    • Collaborative empiricism.

    • Debate irrational beliefs.

    • Carry out homework assignments.

    • Gather data on one's assumptions.

    • Keeps records of activities.

    • Forms alternative interpretations.

    • Learns new coping skills.

    • Changes one's language & thinking patterns.

    • Role-playing

    • Imagery

    • Confronts faulty beliefs

    • Self-instructional training

    • Stress inoculation training

    • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

    • A-B-C Framework

    • Relapse prevention





    Dr. Donald Meichenbaum



    • Corey, G. (2013)..Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (9th ed.,). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. 

    • Google Images 

    • YouTube