Psychotherapy theories and approaches have been effective in efforts to transform social work and counseling services based on specific client needs and preferences. Such theories include the feminist therapy model, narrative theory/therapy, constructive theory, as well as, solution-based therapy. The models/theories promote individualized approaches in therapy in efforts to understand how personal values, beliefs, perceptions, and experiences affect their lives. The models/theories named above are applicable in my counseling practice because they promote client-focused care, communication, and the development of interpersonal relations. Concepts promoted by the theories include rewriting stories in a culturally dominant society, proper communication, developing client-therapist relationships, and client participation in problem-solving.
Feminist therapy is an approach used in psychotherapy; it focuses on women mental health by highlighting stressors and challenges that women face due to discrimination, oppression, bias, and stereotyping. The approach seeks to establish a therapeutic relationship between the client and therapist in efforts to empower the patients into understanding health issues and their relation to various social factors (Draganović, 2012). From a personal standpoint, the therapy model is relevant and useful in empowering women who intend to overcome the mental and emotional challenges of discrimination. Creating a relationship with the client enables the therapist to understand the client’s background, which works to suit effective communication (Draganović, 2012). It is notable that therapists rely on client response to therapy procedures and techniques. Feminist therapy entails eliminating the sense of worthlessness and victimization by encouraging individuals to develop courage. It can be used to empower individuals from marginalized groups such as immigrants, refugees, people of color, or the gay community.
The concepts of communication and development of counselor-client relationships are applicable in my practice. Proper communication facilitates interpersonal understanding in which the therapist understands the client’s values, beliefs, and preferences regarding healthcare. In this regard, I intend to ensure effective communication in the care setting with patients to support the development of therapist-client relationships. In so doing, clients will feel empowered, which, in turn, will help in lifting the mental barriers that affect their psychological well-being (Draganović, 2012). My goal as a counselor is to comfort clients while engaging them in an integrative therapeutic process to find their strengths and identity. The concept of creating relations with clients in feminist therapy is useful because it involves sharing stories and empowering clients to believe in overcoming any adversity.
Solution-focused therapy, also known as, solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) centers on finding solutions in the present time. The approach is effective because it supports focusing on a specific goal or objective towards achieving a quicker resolution of the problem at hand. It can be used to treat children and adults with behavioral problems, involved in child or domestic abuse, fighting addiction, and facing relationship issues (Lloyd, Macdonald & Wilson, 2016). The approach uses the goal-setting technique in which client plan to change is identified and necessary therapeutic solutions integrated. It also relies on the concept of proper communication; the counselor has to understand the client’s plans and perception of the issue at hand. Clients answer questions based on their issue and in doing so, provide therapists with a plan to devise life-changing solutions. It is important to note that SFBT is based on the assumption that individuals are willing and hopeful to find a solution to their problems.
The techniques, procedures, and concepts of the therapy approach are applicable in my therapy practice. For instance, the underlying assumption that people are willing to find a solution to their problems can be used to guide communication and interactions. Interactions in the care setting provide varying hints on how an individual’s problem can be solved. The concept of setting goals is applicable in my practice. This is because it supports identifying a specific aspect of the issue or problem and accomplishing the possible (Lloyd, Macdonald & Wilson, 2016). The trust that comes with working on goals discussed by the therapist and client facilitates continuous work to find long-term solutions. Communication between involved parties supports the development of confidence, which enables clients to share details about their personal life for better and timely outcomes.
The approach is based on the theoretical understanding that individuals experience problems when societal discourses and expectations outdo their abilities. Socio-cultural practices, societal expectations, and assumptions tend to highlight the acceptable way of life, which can be depressing for some people. The therapy model is founded on the concept of separating the client from the problem created by dominant social discourses or expectations (Chang & Nylund, 2013). The therapist assumes the role of a problem-solver by examining how the client perceives or evaluates him/herself. The psychological technique that ‘problems are imposed on people, as opposed to people having problems’ helps in evaluating the quality of life based on personal knowledge. On this subject, the approach aids in identifying alternative ways of viewing life regardless of societal pressure. Similar to SFBT, narrative therapy grounds on the assumption that individuals have strengths, which could be optimized to overcome mental, social, and cultural issues.
The model is applicable in my counseling practice because it supports the concept of living beyond society’s expectations and pressure. Clients need to be empowered into realizing the influence of understanding self-worth and love. Narrative therapy seeks to promote individuality when making decisions that determine happiness and satisfaction from life (Chang & Nylund, 2013). For instance, an individual should not feel pressured to marry just because society expects people of a certain age to be married. The model can be useful in examining the likely effects of continuing to live according to society’s expectations. It can help clients to develop suitable filters through which to see the world in efforts to avoid the negative effects of social pressure (Chang & Nylund, 2013). Stories told based on expectations drawn from a dominant social culture affect people way of thinking. In this regard, I will use the model to help clients in rewriting stories to suit their life towards triggering more positive feelings and values.
Constructive Therapy and Theory
Constructive therapy is based on constructivism theory; it grounds on the concept that one’s life experiences shape his/her understanding of life and sense of reality. The model seeks to examine the meaning people assign to various life experiences (Sharf, 2015). In so doing, it is easier and more convenient to become an active participating in achieving set goals and change. The concept of how people relate to the world is helpful in determining suitable ways through which individuals can view life experiences uniquely. The idea that reality it constructed indicates the people problems vary and thus, should be perceived and treated independently (Sharf, 2015). Applying the model in therapy requires the client to participate actively in finding a solution to their problem by identifying the likely causal factors. The model supports an open-minded and continuous learning strategy in which personal experiences and interactions with others aid in making better choices to benefit self.
Constructive theory and therapy can be applied in my practice; for instance, a client struggling with self-esteem issues can benefit from creating own meaning to life based on personal experience. The solution can be acknowledging that bullies are existent and the only issue is how one reacts to being bullied. The concept of individuals assigning meaning to life based on experiences can be useful in counseling because it guides on the relationship between thoughts and feelings (Sharf, 2015). The expectations that people place on others based on behavior or actions can be altered, which indicates that clients can attempt new behaviors without necessarily having to be accepted widely.
It is evident that psychotherapy models and theories can be effective in advancing patient-based care, especially on issues concerning mental health. The models and theories discussed above highlight the need to understand underlying factors when solving a problem. For instance, feminist therapy model encourages therapists to consider the factors that affect women’s mental health in efforts to achieve desired change in perception and behavior. The SFBT focuses on solving issues through client-therapist communication to identify underlying aspects of the problem at hand. The narrative theory, which focuses on changing the story to suit personal life experiences, can be useful in counseling. Constructivism or constructive therapy focuses on constructing individual experiences to suit better emotions and feelings, which improve the quality of life.
Chang, J., & Nylund, D. (2013). Narrative and solution-focused therapies: A twenty-year retrospective. Journal of Systemic Therapies, 32(2), 72-88.
Draganović, S. (2012). Approaches to feminist therapy: a case study illustration. Epiphany, 4(1).
Lloyd, H. F., Macdonald, A., & Wilson, L. (2016). Solution-focused brief therapy. In Psychological therapies and people who have intellectual disabilities. The British Psychological Society.
Sharf, R. S. (2015). Theories of psychotherapy & counseling: Concepts and cases. Cengage Learning.