I believe that every person is unique and different with their own set of goals and desires when entering therapy. I particularly think that, for this reason, taking an eclectic approach to therapy and fitting a framework for each individual makes sense. I believe that, since all of my history of personal issues has been unique and required different approaches to final closure, that this would be the same for clients. I believe in the free will of humankind to make their own choices, therefore, would be more likely to engage in a more Humanistic approach to higher functioning patients.
This both empowers the individual and would keep in line with my own value system. I do not wish to intrude upon others, my ideals, but there may be cases where I must take a more eclectic approach; using a Humanistic framework, but also connecting cognitive-behavioral therapy, for instance, when one needs to reframe their thought process to be able to more actively participate in their own mental health and care. Actively being a part of one’s choices and allowing others to do so is important to me and will be an integral part of dealing with clients, personally.
I believe that I feel this way, because of the excellent rapport and mentorship I have had with my teachers, as they have all helped me to help myself. I believe this is something worth passing on. I try to remain as objective as possible in all situations, but there are instances where I can envision a collision of values and subjectivity in dealing with clients. I believe that every person (including myself) has the right to their own set of beliefs and have no right in passing judgment on others.
If I felt myself conflicted to the point of the rift in values interfering with the client’s own goals and determined areas of analysis, I would have to take this into consideration and, possibly refer that person to a different counselor. An example might be if a person was entering therapy with the goal of obtaining support for an upcoming elective abortion. Although, I vehemently believe in free will and freedom of choice, I would be personally conflicted with the issue.
I would not want to persuade or cajole the client, due to my personal experiences with others on this same issue. But, my values would be that I must not go against what I believe is right. Therefore, in this situation, I would have to refer the client to another professional. With less polarized issues with clients, I would, simply engage in the Rogerian idea of “unconditional positive regard” and find a middle ground with clients. I believe that a professional therapist can remain neutral by remaining silent.
Therapists, who are quick to speak, and less likely to listen are those that face the dilemma of showing their biases to a client. Remaining neutral can be achieved by this silence, in so long as it is not about something that is similar to the previous paragraph. Similarly, asking a client to rephrase the narrative, to give the therapist more time to digest information that may be alarming or emotion-provoking is a good way to avoid the trap of losing the appearance of neutrality.
I, also, believe that it is extremely important for a therapist not to discuss personal history and feelings of agreement or disagreement with a client. Although, my great teachers and mentors have shared some positive experiences with me, I believe that the best lesson I have learned is to learn for oneself and to only speak when one has important insight into problems with the world and the people in it.
Passing judgment and imposing personal values has no place in this profession. References McBride, M. and Martin, B. (October, 1990). “A Framework for Eclecticism: The Importance of Theory in Mental Health Counseling” in Journal of Mental Health Counseling. 12;4. pp. 497-505. Wilks, Duffy. (Summer, 2003). “A Historical Review of Counseling Theory Development in Relation to Definitions of Free Will and Determinism” in Journal of Counseling and Development 81;3. pp.