Every person during his or her development goes through different stages of life. As people are sociable humans who constantly communicate with each other, they face with a need to ask for advice, especially when there are many options of doing something in life, and it is hard to follow the right track. People tend to analyze their ideas and actions, and based on the options available, they choose the right way. Sometimes, they also search for those options in order not to stay on the same development stage. However, there are situations in life, especially when the time comes for young men and women create families, to consult psychologists or receive psychotherapy. Counseling is usually the best option and treatment for those who are not sure, which is the right path in life. There is one thing to act as a counselor or to be the counselor’s patient having a place to come and officially receive the consultation. However, to a large extent, various counseling theories can also help people on an individual level when they can stay outside psychotherapists’ doors and just conduct their ordinary daily activities.
This essay is an attempt to delineate the counseling theories that coincide with my beliefs and values. The paper discusses personal factors that affect the theory and the counseling theories’ influences on my personal choices. First, my personal values and beliefs regarding the counseling process will be identified and explained. Second, the brief description of the corresponding counseling approach and theory will be delineated within the frames of my values based on the specific example. Finally, the benefits and limitations of the chosen theory and how it fits my beliefs will be analyzed.
Different scholars tried to analyze the questions of counseling theories from different perspectives. Some of them attempted to provide a general background for a person who plans to work within the profession naming him or her ‘a helper’ (Corey & Corey, 2015; Capuzzi & Gross, 2012). Others tried to delineate the boundary issues that psychotherapists may face during the counseling process (Herlihy & Corey, 2014; Perera-Diltz & MacCluskie, 2012).
Taking into consideration that the sources are different, and the authors wrote their works during different periods, there is one idea that is mutual for every academic source: every person is individual; thus, there is no single counseling theory that can fit everybody universally. It is also significant to remember that it is impossible to act without the application of certain theory, as it is a map which guides personality during his or her life decision-making process.
Values and Beliefs Regarding Counseling
Counseling became an inseparable part of my life when I understood that eventually the choices in life should be made, and it is necessary to make the right decision to benefit further. I always used some elements of counseling theories without even realizing that. It started with parental education, when my mother and father organized informal for semi-formal talks regarding personal life perception. When I searched for advice starting from the kindergarten and going further to school, parents and grandparents acted as informal counselors. They advised me how to choose the right track, and it reflected on the desire to learn more about counseling theories and apply them individually.
In spite of the fact that understanding and implementing of the counseling theories are vital on personal level, they are also inseparable elements in the decision-making processes nationally and internationally within the society. International relations between countries, the decisions of leaders to start or stop wars, to provide humanitarian aid for others, to decide on the right environmental protection mechanisms choices are all equally important in applying the right counseling theories all over the world.
I am convinced that apart from the personal level, the aforementioned theories should be applied in every possible aspect of society. It will make the processes in society faster leading the less-developed countries to develop and prosper. It would be also important for the world decision-makers to be aware of the existence of such theories and have the ability to apply them to the need. Thus, it is essential to organize professional trainings that would help to choose and apply the corresponding theories depending on the situation.
Theory that Best Coincides with Personal Beliefs and Values
Analyzing the variety of counseling theories, it is uneasy to choose merely one approach that would be beneficial for all life situations. Some theories can be used during one phase of life, whereas others would be useful during other stages. At the same time, there are theories that I consciously or subconsciously apply in everyday situations.
As an example of one of the aforementioned theories that are used every day would be strength-based counseling that helps me analyze and understand what is going right or wrong in my life. Since I am an optimist, I always think positively about the future, and consider carefully what can be done to overcome the challenges to make things right.
Considering certain events that happened in my life, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is also important. I understand the fact that if I think that it is worse doing something in a certain way, I feel so and do that. First, I think about the event’s interpretation, and then evaluate what could be rational and irrational to do. Finally, I analyze the consequences of my behavior either before or after the event: general feelings and reflections on what could be done differently if anything went the other way.
Two other theories that are often used by me are Solution Focused and Existential Approach. Both of them are directed to analyze whether I want to be where I am now. No accent to the past is stressed, only present and possible future challenges with the desire of search for options to overcome them are taken into analysis. No discussions of the current problems are involved; it is mainly about the possible achievements that can be reached after conducting some activities. The existential approach is also called the Meaning Therapy, and I totally agree with Viktor Frankyl because it happened many times in my life: knowing the reason for personal existence is the bridge to the ability to overcome any life challenges or problems (“Step Two – Common Counseling Theories,” n.d.).
All of the aforementioned theories fit perfectly within my life. Some of them are being used repeatedly. For example, I have to analyze my strengths to choose further education. Thus, strength-based counseling and solution-based therapy with the existential approach helped me a lot to draw a table with advantages and disadvantages of going to three different schools, and finally, choose the one to proceed.
All of the schools that I planned to enter had many positive sides such as the program, the academic personnel, the name of the school, and its perception by community members. At the same time, the distance from hometown, the availability of the scholarships, and the variety of out-of-class activities faced me with uneasy choice. This is one of the moments when the application of the counseling theories helped me to make a choice.
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Benefits and Limitations in the Chosen Theory
Despite the fact that counseling theories are beneficial, there are still certain limitations in their application. For example, solution focused therapy does not focus on a person’s past. However, the proverb that existed for a long time is about the impossibility of future without knowing the past makes a good sense in this case. There is another way of saying that: people learn from their mistakes.
For the aforementioned reason, I am convinced that it is essential not to avoid the past, but to consider it to plan the future. A person needs to see the previous challenges and knows how to overcome them. It helps a person to be stronger and makes more sense to use the existential approach on a higher, more transparent level.
While applying the counseling theories, I faced with the fact that depending on the life situation even the same theory may have different limitations. For example, in communicating with uneasy or problem teenagers, it may be worse not to mention about their past while applying solution-focused therapy. It is better to represent positive role models and make them achieve positive targets.
Counseling theories are an inseparable part of the development of both personality and society. I believe that the correct choice and the application of certain counseling theories would be not only beneficial, but also timesaving experience for any person disregarding the age or occupation. It is necessary to break the stereotypes that mainly psychologists and therapists should use these theories in their practices. Everybody can apply them in order to understand where to go further in life, choosing the right path. These theories should act like real life maps for every individual once he or she starts own conscious life.