Integrated Model

in Change

Integrated model of counseling involves the use of different theories in order to come up with the best personal model that can be applied in counseling. There are different theories which have been developed to help understand the field of counseling well but not all theories are applicable to a given situation (Bannon, 2005). Every theory suits one or many situations. Therefore, the concept of integrated model tries to come up with combination of different theories applied in unison to solve a given situation in counseling.  My integrated model consists of existential and realistic theories which are more compatible and humanistic and rational emotive theories which are least compatible.  I believe that I can piece together different part of these theories, mostly realistic and existential theories to come up with the best integrated model. An integrated model brings together different theories which use similar approach to develop an integrated approach to counseling.

I prefer an integrated model that brings together humanistic approaches, client centered, existential, and realistic theories in combination with cognitive behavior approaches to give the best integrated approach to counseling.  I am empathetic and understanding and like taking client concerns with the needed seriousness.  I believe that people deserve the right and freedom to desire and make change in their life.  I believe that human nature strives to answer mysteries of life, be good and live a happy comfortable life.  A counselor who is familiar with different theories and practices in counseling is in a position to come up with the best model that blends different theories constructed along personal belief system in such a way that the therapist can accommodate different clients who present different cases (Bannon, 2005).

Basic view of human nature

I view human nature as a complex interaction between individual identity and natural forces. Human nature is determined by the constant struggle for human identity in context of life they live in. This dictates how people acts in different circumstances. Generally not every person will be good all times or bad all times. Good people become bad people and vice versa.  At different points in life, people struggle to find their own identify and the daily struggle in life is constructed along the path of having satisfying life.

Human nature is therefore dictated by the desire to go for comfort in life and to lead a life with minimal struggles. That is why people wake up early in the morning to go to work and sometimes have little time to relax and enjoy the comfort they seek to have. As a result, human nature is always perceived in lens of crisis (Bannon, 2005). Their daily struggle for identity and comfort create crisis now and then in course of human life. Human nature is therefore a great mystery full of unanswered question and many people die without getting answers to the questions they have in life. The inquisitive nature of human life is a struggle to find answers to the mysteries of life. People go to school, church, marriages, and to other social institutions  in a bid to get answers to the mystery of life but life remains a mystery, which no one knows is unraveled once we die or not.

What key factors account for changes in behavior?

There are five main factors that account for change in counseling. These include client factors which account for 40% of change, relationship factors which account for 30% of change, hope factors which account for 15% of change and model of technique factors which account for 15% of change (Bannon, 2005). Change in behavior can be expressed through different models and intervention techniques.

However, each model identify that change in behavior is not a simple process but it is a complex process that takes place in steps and motivated by different factors. In social psychology and healthcare, behavior change is explained through health belief model, social cognitive theory, and theory of reasoned action. Behavior change may also be explained through theories of self regulation and self control and subjective culture. For behavior change through these theories, there are different variables which are believed to motivate change in behavior.  Client factors mainly include all personal aspects that client brings to counseling and may be expounded into variables which include intention, environmental constrain, skills, anticipated outcomes, norms, self standards, emotion, and self-efficacy. The first four variables are important factors that motivate change in an individual. The other four variables are important in influencing strength and the direction of intention to change.  Individual change in behavior is mainly motivated by the intention to change. This means that individuals must first realize the need to change their behavior and the role of the counselor is to cultivate the desire for them to change (Mobley and Gazda, 2006).

Realization for the need to change is usually elicited by environmental factors including the constraints that individuals face in their current situation. For example a drunkard may have desire to change due to the problems he or she has faced as a result of drunkenness. When one is suspended from work due to drunkenness, this becomes an environment constraint that will raise desire to seek change.   When have intention to change, the seek skills and the best strategies through which they can carry out the intended change.  Change in behavior will also be motivated by the anticipated outcome or what individuals are likely to gain from behavior change.  Relationships factors mainly include the nature of relationship between the client and the patient including respect, collaboration, acceptance, and the validation from counselor. On the other hand, hope includes client positive expectancy and anticipation for change. All these factors can be viewed as an ingredient for a home-baked pie where the client factors are viewed as main ingredients in "change pie" (Bannon, 2005).

Nature of therapist-client relationship and its importance

Therapist-client relationship is a dual relationship that is founded on solid base of trust. It is a mutual symbiotic relationship in which both therapist and client are likely to benefit. Although it is the client who seeks services of the therapist, it cannot be considered that the therapist will not benefit from the relationship since they also have a lot to gain from the relationship.  The client seeks help from the therapist because it is one of the helpful paths they can take in life. This means that the relationship between the client and the therapist should not be exploitative but rather therapeutic. It should be aimed at relieving the client all their worries (Wade and Tavris, 2006). It should be a genuine, empathetic trustworthy, congruent, optimistic, and persuasive, all which signify that it should be a teamwork relationship.

From an existentialism perspective, I believe that as a therapist, the nature of the relationship with my clients should be based on fulfilling client needs.  It should be a client centered relationship where I assist the client to see the world from his or her own view.  It is the duty of the client to realize whether they need to change their life or not and I should only facilitate their desire to change and help them to achieve their new status in life. As a therapist, there is little I can do to change the life of the client unless the client understands the need to change. Therapist should see client world from their point of view and not from how they think the client has lived.  From a realist point of view, I believe the role of therapist should be to help the client recover from the impediments they are facing in life. As a therapist, I should be ready to listen to the client and understand their suffering, then assist them to gain meaning in their life.  A therapist should guide the client through the process of their desired change but this cannot be achieved unless there is an environment of trust (Corey, 2004).

Key functions of a therapist

The term therapist refers to a wide range of individuals who performs therapeutic work on a client. This means that the function of a therapist varies according to the area of specialization.  However, all therapists share some basic functions in their life. They play key role as change agent since they assist their clients to implement change in their life. According to Corey (2001) counseling is defined as "a journey in which the therapist is a guide who facilitates client exploration" (p. 278).  This infers that therapist acts as a guide, or a change agent that assist the client to explore their life and change from  their current status of life to new status in which life is more satisfying.

A therapist understand the tribulations the client is going through and assess their desire to change in order to come up with a tailor made program that will assist the client to effectively change their behaviors. I feel that as an integrative therapist, I should first understand the condition of the client and then come up with the best technique that will assist the client to deal with issues they are facing in life. Therefore, I believe that the role of the therapist is to make the client open their eyes to their current world and instill the desire to change their life.  In line with existentialism, I believe that it is my duty to assist the client to find their meaning in life. A therapist should be a pillar that guides the client to discover the true meaning of their life, through their actions.

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This article was published on 2011/05/24