Personality and Counseling Theory

It is true that each person marches to the beat of a different drum. Meaning, each one of us possesses a thought process, motivation, and personality that it exact to no one. As this class reaches it’s end, I have had the time to reflect upon what will ultimately become “my” counseling style and theory. The class presented numerous counseling theories and practices. In each concept, I have found a piece which will become part of my whole theory. Like that of a simmering soup, the ingredients are thrown together to produce a final product. The ingredients alone are not worth mention, but when placed together with the others, it makes a wonderful soup. My theory is a combination of many ingredients I found in the Psychoanalysis, Jungian, Adlerian, Existential, Person-Centered, Behavior, Rational Emotive, Cognitive, Reality, Family Systems, and Gestalt recipes for counseling.

The MacDonald Theory, as it shall be called, is something that I feel will enable me to be a better guidance counselor. It incorporates not only the theories attached to each concept, but also the appropriate therapeutic techniques associated with the concept. The recipe for an effective guidance counselor is my own. It is the beat of the drum that I march to. It is the counseling approach I will use in my career. It is the counseling where I have the opportunity to reach children and hope will remember and benefit greatly.

“MacDonald Theory of Counseling”
�½ cup Psychoanalysis (Structure of Personality)
�¼ cup Jungian Analysis (Personality Functions: thinking & feeling)
�¼ cup Existential Therapy (Living & Dying)
3 cups Adlerian Therapy (Birth Order)
1 cup Person-Centered Therapy (Relationships & Self-Regard)
1 tsp. Gestalt Therapy (Awareness)
1 cup Behavior Therapy (Positive Reinforcement)
�½ cup Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (Humanism)
1 tsp. Cognitive Therapy (Selective Abstractions)
3 cups Reality Therapy (Psychological needs: belonging, power, freedom, & fun)
1 cup Family Systems Therapy (Communication)

The first step in my counseling theory will be the practice of asking questions. Asking questions is a vital and necessary way to get your clients to talk. This technique is exhibited in the Psychoanalysis concept. If a counselor can ask the right questions, he can decipher better why the client is seeking help and it also helps build a foundation of trust. If a client does not trust you, the sessions may eventually lead to a dead end. The client must realize that you are asking questions because you are sincere in wanting to know the answers. The client should know that it is not the answers but more important, that the client is willing and able to offer the answers openly. The foundation of trust is as important as yeast is to bread. Without the yeast, the bread cannot grow. By asking questions it develops trust. Without trust, the therapy cannot grow.

The ability to think and feel is not something everyone is born with. It is an acquired taste that only is enhanced by experience. However, many people live in their own fantasy worlds where everything is perfect. The real world is not as forgiving. The real world is not as perfect as they imagine. The Jungian approach would be to interpret dreams and fantasies. The approach would be to differentiate between what is real and what can be real. Thinking and feeling are very different emotions. A client may feel that he is accepted by his peers, but if he doesn’t think that he is accepted, he may suffer a conflict of interest. Unfortunately, sometimes we are, are own worst enemies.

I am a strong believer of birth order. Birth order is a very important phase of personality. For example, usually, the oldest child is smart, driven, and independent. My brother, the oldest child, is all of those attributes. I truly feel that parents spend more valuable time with the oldest because he is the first. Parents spend more time reading, talking, and observing their first born because like the child they once were, they are also equally as curious. The second child (middle child) is often over looked. The middle child is usually the “black sheep” of the family. He is the child who is more apt to get into trouble, test his boundaries, and live a carefree life. My brother Tom, who is the middle child is also like his description. He has had problems with drugs and alcohol, and cannot secure a steady job, even at the age of 34. He has what some might call “peter-pan syndrome”, the inability to grow up or mature. The youngest child is normally very creative and outgoing. The youngest child is also spoiled because he is the youngest. I can relate to this description because I am the youngest in my family. Birth order has a significant effect on a child’s life. The effects carry into adulthood. The important technique is to recognize where you stand in the birth order and understand why you act the way you do.

There is a line from the movie “Shawshank Redemption” where a paroled convict played by Morgan Freeman makes the statement: “get busy living or get busy dying.” That quote is something I remind myself all the time. Existential Therapy is about living and dying. Some clients will feel that the glass is half empty and some will feel the glass is half full. For those that think their life is over or that they cannot change their hurting ways, the client will need an attitude modulation. My theory of counseling is to offer hope where there is no hope. To offer answers for those that seek them. And, to show how to see the good in everything, even if you can’t see it at first glance.

Most people are consumed with one thing: themselves. The self-indulgence age that I was raised into has raised many adult idiots. Many people are so consumed with the person they face in the mirror every morning that it is not until they cannot stand the person they see staring back, that they seek professional help. Person centered therapy is a type of therapy I feel is essential to any counseling practice. If a counselor only practiced Person centered therapy, he might never run out of business. The most important aspect of this type of therapy is the sense of empathy. The ability to know and understand what something is experiencing because you have walked in his shoes at a different time in your life. Empathy also plays a different role in therapy. It allows the person to say to themselves, “well, here is this person, and he got through it, so can I thenâÂ?¦”. The relationships we share with others and the regard we have for self is an important everyday thing for most. A good counselor will be able to share of himself his own experiences.

Being aware is something many of us cannot do. Being aware is being wise. Being aware is knowing the environment and knowing yourself. Gestalt therapy is important because it uses dialogue to enhance awareness. It is like the lines of a play. Dialogue is like the lines of our life. Through dialogue role play, clients are able to demonstrate how they “wish” things could be. Perhaps a mother or father’s praise is something they never received and the dialogue would act out what should have happened when the client was a child. The sense of awareness is the sense of being awake. When we are awake we are able to use all of our senses and make better judgments and we are able to understand situations for what they represent in our lives.

Negativity is an evil thing. A child that is told that he cannot achieve something will probably stop trying. The need for positive reinforcement is part of Behavior Therapy. If my parents and friends had never encouraged me to be a teacher I never would have taken this journey. I tell everyone I know to shoot big and never give up. Anything can be achieved if you want it bad enough. The human aura can make or break someone. A positive aura can be achieved by using Asian psychotherapies. These therapies include yoga and relaxation techniques. The body and mind need time to meet in the middle (the human soul) to remind you of who you are and what you want to do to be a better person.

The four basic psychological needs of every human is belonging, power, freedom, and fun. These principles are part of Reality therapy. Reality is an important aspect of my theory of counseling because it keeps everything within perspective. It keeps the situations in the “here and now.” The use of humor in any conversation keeps the sentiment light and it allows the person to laugh. Laughter is better than any therapy or medication. The ability to laugh at yourself and laugh with others is a great way to share emotions. Interestingly enough, the same thing happens when we laugh and cry, our eyes water. The eyes are the mirrors to our souls. Sometimes we need to laugh at some of the things that life throws our way.

Communication among families is important. Families that do not communicate are only families by blood line. Families need to have sit down dinners and parents need to ask “how” their children are doing? Not all children experience this family bonding. How we are raised ultimately forms the adult we become. Techniques which include family mapping and genograms can help trace how we adopted certain habits or beliefs. Genograms can show a therapist a person’s entire life on paper. It can be more beneficial than any test can prove or show. Family systems therapy is essential for everyone. Good families usually produce good adults. Bad families usually produce bad adults. And without therapy or communication, the cycle only continues from generation to generation.

As you can tell I have adopted bits and pieces of other therapies to create my own. I have taken what I considered the vital parts of any counseling theory. My recipe for an influential counseling theory hinders greatly on the Rogerian approach: having the ability to listen. This recipe will help me help others. My theory, the MacDonald Theory, will aid me in becoming a better guidance counselor and better person. When someone is sick we make them soup. Why do we make them soup? We make them soup because we care. Why do I present my theory and assemble it like spices in a soup? I present it in this fashion because I truly care about the counseling profession and look forward to continuing my work with the human race.

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