Psychology/Counselling term paper 20263

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Counselling Example Essay

'If you're a good enough counsellor, you can counsel anyone'

A.- Introduction.

Taking into account the remarks of Dr. Maureen O’Hara, Ph.D., that “The twin goals of psychotherapy are to relieve suffering and to optimize joy.” (2005, p. 5), it is very difficult to make the assertion that a good enough counsellor can achieve these goals with all kinds of patients. Even though this difficulty, that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to find a good enough counsellor who can deal with any kind of patients. Indeed, it is possible and probable to find such a good counsellor if you take a closer look at the present trends in Psychological Counselling, especially related to the Humanistic, Transpersonal and Universalist approaches. It is also possible to speak of five forces in Psychology:

1.- Behaviourist/Cognitive Force.

2.- Freudian/Psychoanalitic Force.

3.- Humanistic/Existential Force.

4.- Transpersonal/Spiritual Force.

5.- Biblical/Universalist Force.

This paper takes a closer look at these forces in order to show that there is strong evidence supporting the idea that an excellent counsellor can help any type of patients. At first, this assertion seems to be hyperbolic, but at the end of this paper the reader will have enough evidence regarding its validity.

B.- Definition of Counselling.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines what a psychological counsellor with the following description of his or her job:

“Mental health counselors work with individuals, families, and groups to address and treat mental and emotional disorders and to promote optimum mental health. They are trained in a variety of therapeutic techniques used to address a wide range of issues, including depression, addiction and substance abuse, suicidal impulses, stress management, problems with self-esteem, issues associated with aging, job and career concerns, educational decisions, issues related to mental and emotional health, and family, parenting, and marital or other relationship problems. Mental health counselors often work closely with other mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, and school counselors.” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006). This definition covers a wide spectrum of activities. Although it doesn’t give any idea of what kind of psychological approach, it is also true that this description offers useful information about what a psychological counsellor or mental health counsellor does.

The Center for Integrative Medicine is a little more specific about the role of counsellors when it uses the adverb “objectively” in its description of the counsellor’s job: “Counseling works by helping you objectively look at behaviors, feelings and thoughts in situations that you find troublesome. Counseling can be effective in helping you make the changes you want to make. You may learn more effective ways to deal with situations that you feel are stressful.” (The Center for Integrative Medicine, 2002). With this explanation, it can be clearly seen that objectivity and the process of change are at the core of a good definition of psychological counselling.

C.- Discussion.

First, it is necessary to state that a good enough counsellor should have a wide knowledge of the different trends and approaches of Psychology along the years, not only from the 19th or 20th century, but at least from the beginning of civilisation or ancient times. This is true because it is possible to talk about Psychology in general at any time throughout the passage of time. The term was not in use, but the ideas behind it had been stated in theological or philosophical worldviews. So an excellent counsellor should have an ample and eclectic knowledge of the major trends and approaches of this scientific field along the years. In modern times and in more formal terms, Psychology has been driven by several forces or stages that can be differentiated and categorised in four different forces. The fifth forth is an emerging force as it is a combination of Theology, Philosophy and Psychology in their purest sense.

A turning point in the history of Psychology occurred during the 1550’s when psychologists like Abrahm Maslow, Rollo May, Carl Rogers, among others, decided to take Psychology into a new direction called Humanistic Psychology. This was a clear departure from mainstream psychological views at that time. This type of Psychology can be summarised as follows:

“It reflected many of the values expressed by the Hebrews, the Greeks, the Renaissance Europeans, and others who have attempted to study those qualities that are unique to human life and that make possible such essentially human phenomena as love, self-consciousness, self-determination, personal freedom, greed, lust for power, cruelty, morality, art, philosophy, religion, literature, and science.” (Association for Humanistic Psychology, 2001).

The Association for Humanistic Psychology explains in the following terms the deep impact that this new Psychology has had since that time:

“First Force (behaviorism) has achieved some important successes in addressing specific behavioral problems using behavior modification and cognitive behavioral therapy, which are practical applications of B.F. Skinner's important research on operant conditioning. The Second Force (psychoanalysis) has also achieved important advances by incorporating theoretical perspectives such as ego psychology and object relations theory… But the whole person, multi-dimensional perspective of the Third Force (humanistic psychology) has generated a broad spectrum of approaches that enormously expand the range of options for dealing with psychological, psychosomatic, psychosocial and psycho-spiritual conditions.” (Association for Humanistic Psychology, 2001).

It is relevant to note that Humanistic Psychology has influenced the psychriatic world even though there was some conflict when it came to naming this new psychological approach as O’Hara states it in the following terms:

“Maslow favored the term Eupsychology to signify its focus on health rather than pathology. Others wanted to call it Existential Analysis, to reflect the influence of European Existentialism. The name Humanistic Psychology was finally chosen to acknowledge indebtedness both to classical humanism of ancient Greece and to the great humanist scholars of the Renaissance. Humanistic psychology rejected the medical sickness model and embraced a growth and emancipation model of healing. These ideas were echoed in the radical psychiatry of R. D. Laing and the anti-psychiatry movements of David Cooper in the U.K., Thomas Szaz in the U.S.A., and Franco Basaglia in Italy.” (O’Hara, 2005, p. 2).

The Fourth Force can be considered to be Transpersonal Psychology, which at the beginning was part of the Humanistic movement. The term “transpersonal” was coined by Carl Gustave Jung when he talked about the “transpersonal unconscious”, referring to the “collective unconscious” mind. (Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2003). The main characteristics of Transpersonal Psychology are explained in ten major points by Dr. Robert Hutchins, Ph.D. They are summarised in the last tenet with the following assertion: “The simplest definition is that transpersonal psychology is spiritual psychology.” (Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2003).

On the other hand, the Fifth Force in Psychology is an emerging one. It has been around since the beginning of time, and it is implicitly and explicitly explained in the Bible. The best translation available of the Bible was made by Adolph E. Knoch from 1909 to 1927 according to the Concordant Method, which Knoch discovered and applied on his translation from the original languages using three main families of manuscripts. The Concordant Bible hasn’t been widely accepted due mainly to its position in favour of Universal Salvation. The most prominent universalist verses in any Bible are the following: Titus 2:11; Romans 5:18, 11:32-36; I Timothy 2:4, 4:10b; II Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 1:20; and I Corinthians 15:20-28 (these ones are the last logical verses of the Bible as they present what is called the Great Consummation in universalist circles).

This emergent psychological force or trend has been dealt with implicitly by Plato and especially by Aristotle and the concept of eudaimonia, which is commonly translated as “happiness”, “flourishin”, and “well-being”. (Hursthouse, 2003). When this concept is studied in depth as Hursthouse (2003) does, then it is obvious that from the point of view of the unconditional love and the omnipotence of God (which are widely distorted by mainstream Christianity) the concept of an eudaimon God is logical. Adolph E. Knoch deals with the issue of Universal Reconciliation with the following ideas:

“It is usual to view this subject from the depths of the sinner's doom. But let us rather view it from the heights of God's glory, and rejoice that He who was made sin for us, will yet, by the power of His cross, undo all the Devil has done, and sweep every sign of sin from Gods universe… Picture to yourself a perfect universe! Not a trace of sin or of transgression to eclipse the effulgence of God's love! Not an impulse of His affection but receives an instant and thrilling response from every heart. What a marvelous harvest of redemption that will be! How potent the cross through which it comes! How glorious the God who purposed and perfected such a reconciliation!” (Knoch, 2006).

From the biblical point of view, many of the psychological problems can be rooted on the struggle among conflictive thoughts described on Romans 2:15. The clear-cut solution is given on II Corinthians 10:5 (see these verses at the online version of the Concordant Literal New Testament) (Concordant Publishing Concern, 2006). Mankind needs integral solutions to their sinful condition, and the solutions offered by a universalist psychologist or psychotherapist are the best possible solutions. This is an incredible assertation that seems hyperbolic, but anybody can find its validity through a careful and unprejudiced study of Adolph E. Knoch’s works about Universal Salvation. This is not about a secular Universalism or Eastern Theology Universalism, but about the Biblical Universalism found in any Bible in the verses given above. So it is possible for a biblical universalist psychological counsellor to treat any patient taking into consideration that many of the Humanistic or Transpersonal counsellors can offer an adequate treatment to most of their patients. This is not the case with Behaviorist, Cognitive or Freudian counsellors, who are limited in their worldviews and their positions about Psychology in general.

D.- Conclusion.

It is of the utmost importance to be aware of the difference between the “politically correct” and the “morally correct” as stated by Spring (2006) on her article. At the same time it is quite relevant to follow the advice of the U.S. Surgeon General in his Mental Health Report from 1999 when he makes the following assertions:

“Gaining new knowledge about mental illness and health is everybody’s business. A plethora of new pharmacologic agents and psychotherapies for mental disorders affords new treatment opportunities but also challenges the scientific community to develop new approaches to clinical and health services interventions research. Responding to the calls of managed mental and behavioral health care systems for evidence-based interventions will have a much needed and discernible impact on practice.” (U.S. Surgeon General, 1999).

A good enough or an excellent psychological counsellor can indeed help most of the clients in order to provide a real relief from suffering and optimize joy, but a biblical universalis counsellor is the best possible option for a solution based on solid ground, the Bible in its best translation so far (The Concordant Bible). A word of caution is necessary when dealing with any counsellor as O’Hara points it out: “Psychoterapy is a complex, subtle and potent intervention when practiced by people who have received good training from a recognized institute. But because it is so powerful it can also do harm when practiced naively by under-trained therapists.” (O’Hara, 2005, p. 9).

The biblical universalist force in all realms of science and life will sooner or later widely understood. Any psychologist or psychotherapist can profit himself or helself of this emerging approach in Theology, Philosophy and Psychology.

References

Association for Humanistic Psychology. (2001). “Humanistic Psychology Overview”. (online). Harnish, J. (Web Site Producer) and Wochholz, B. (Content Developer and Reviewer). Available from . (Accessed 25 December, 2006).

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2006, August 4). “Occupational Outlook Handbook. Counselors.” (online). U. S. Department of Labor. Available from . (Accessed 24 December, 2006).

Concordant Publishing Concern. (2006, August 12). “The Concordant Version HTML.” (online). Available from . (Accessed 25 December, 2006).

Hursthouse, R. (2003, Fall). “Virtue Ethics.” (online). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Available from . (Accessed 24 December, 2006).

Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. (2003). “What is Transpersonal Psychology?” (online). Available from . (Accessed 25 December, 2006).

Knoch, A. E. (2006, August 12 ). “The Reconciliation of the Universe”. (online). Concordant Publishing Concern. Available from . (Accessed December 24, 2006).

O’Hara, M. (Ph.D.). (2005). “Psychoterapy. Humanistic, Experiential and Relational Approaches.” (online). Available from . (Accessed 25 December, 2006).

Spring, M. (2006, July 26). “Politically Correct Vs. Morally Correct. Taking Responsibility for Our Actions.” (online). Available from . (Accessed 25 December, 2006).

The Center for Integrative Medicine. (2002, June 6). “Psychological Counseling. Fact Sheet.” (online). Available from . (Accessed 25 December, 2006).

U. S. Surgeon General. (1999). “Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General”. (online). Satcher, D. (M.D., Ph.D.) (Surgeon General). Available from . (Accessed 25 December, 2006).

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