There are numerous psychological theories that can be used by psychologists to help clients with mental disorders. From each of the theory, the counselor has to set goals with the client and through the given steps, work towards the goals. Each psychological theory is conducted through sessions that for different minutes. The major difference with these theories is that they have different goals set for the client and thus can be used for different mental issues. In addition, they are based on different assumptions and have different number of sessions based on the benefits for the client. Even though the commonly used psychological theory is the cognitive behavioral therapy/ theory, other common theories are Gestalt, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, social cognitive theory, Meichenbaums Model, Reality therapy and choice theory. This essay will give the benefits of each of these theories, explain how they can be integrated to help a client, and the risk factors of using each of the theories for mild to severe mental health issues.
There are numerous psychological theories that can be used by psychologists to help clients with mental disorders. Even though the commonly used psychological theory is the cognitive behavioral therapy/ theory, other common theories are Gestalt, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, social cognitive theory, Meichenbaums Model, Reality therapy and choice theory. This essay will give the benefits of each of these theories, explain how they can be integrated to help a client, and the risk factors of using each of the theories for mild to severe mental health issues. Even while other theories are considered important, emphasis would be put on CBT, which can effectively be used for different types of clients While CBT is the commonly used psychological theory in treating different types of mental disorders ranging from mild to severe, other psychological theories can be used to support the intervention and thus make it more effective. However, Coull and Morris (2011) note that this should be done by understanding the limitations of each, how they can be integrated, and the probable risks. Other psychological theories can be integrated are Gestalt, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, social cognitive theory, Meichenbaums Model, Reality therapy and choice theory.
Cognitive Behavioral Theory/ Therapy
According to Kodal, et al., (2018), CBT is noted as an effective treatment for different types of mental illnesses and is considered fit for everyone. The aim of this theory is that it identifies behaviors, actions, and thoughts that the client needs to change and what he needs to change to. This means that positive behaviors and thoughts that should replace the limiting ones are identified. While the counselor helps the client identifies the negative and preferable behaviors, the identification is done by the client making the intervention one of the best because it actively involves the client. Based on its effectiveness, one of the major advantages of CBT noted by Hofmann, et al., (2012) is that it is an effective treatment for cases where medication has failed. In addition, it takes a relatively shorter time compared to other talking models. Coull and Morris (2011) further notes that based on his highly structured nature, it can be provided in varied formats including computer programs, in groups, and self-help books. Lastly, this method is preferred because the learned skills are practical, helpful, and useful and thus can be incorporated in daily life making one cope better with difficulties and stresses experienced in the future.
Other Psychological Theories, Benefits and Risk Factors
In order to make CBT more effective and ensure that the learned skills are not only beneficial but sustainable, the counselor can integrate it with other theories such as Gestalt, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, social cognitive theory, Meichenbaums Model, Reality therapy and choice theory. However, as earlier noted, this is done by understanding the benefits and risk factors of each. Starting with Gestalt, the counselor can incorporate it to help work with certain human functions such as reaction patterns and behaviors to help in relaxation when dealing with anxiety issues. This therapy is beneficial because it is considered a holistic approach by focusing the person as a whole and emphasizing on him in the practical sessions. In addition, this method focuses on the underlying causes of a problem rather than treating the symptoms thus making it long lasting. This method can be integrated with CBT by helping the client identify problems that were previously unknown to him such as unresolved conflict or old fear that the client has failed to manage. However, the risk factor with this model is that the client should be stable and willing to look at himself and determine what is going on in the subconscious mind failure to which the intervention fails (Wagemans, et al., 2012).
Since the aim of CBT is to help the client learn new skills to replace the unwanted thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, the counselor can incorporate classical conditioning to help in the learning process. This is done by the counselor identifying a stimulus that would help produce the desired behavior. This model is beneficial in that it emphasizes on learning from the environment, supports nurture more than nature, breaks complex behaviors into smaller stimulus-response behaviors, and improves control of undesirable behaviors. However, the risk factors with this model are that it does not allow a person’s free will and underestimates uniqueness of each person. Another type of learning that can be integrated by the counselor is operant conditioning. This is done by identifying positive and preferable behaviors and rewarding them while punishing negative behaviors to help the client change the targeted behaviors. The major benefit is that once a behavior is rewarded, it would most probably be continued. However, the risk factor is that once the reward stops, the preferred behavior might also stop as noted in children (Jozefowiez, 2014).
The counselor can also integrate social cognitive theory in changing the behavior of the client. The benefit of this model is that it would start by identifying the biological sex of the client in order to understand the causative factors to some negative behaviors. However, the major risk when using this model is that even when belonging to the same biological sex, some clients would still behave differently (Heydari, Dashtgard & Moghadam, 2014). The counselor can also incorporate Meichenbaums Model in the CBT sessions to help deal with the root cause of a problem. For instance, if dealing with stress, the counselor will work together with the client to determine why he is stressed thus making is long lasting. However, this model is not applicable when dealing with severely ill clients who do not understand their problem let alone the causes (Lotfi, Eizadi-Fard, Ayazi & Agheli-Nejad, 2011).
Another helpful model is reality therapy that can be integrated to help identify and deal with current issues. Even though past issues are important in ensuring sustainable treatment, dealing with issues in the present is also important. This model would therefore help by helping the client with his current issues even though ignoring disturbing happenings is the past is a risk factor. The last model to consider is choice theory. According to this theory, the choice a person makes when satisfying his needs might lead to unhappiness or unhealthiness. By using this theory, the counselor helps the client understand needs that are unmet and the contributing factors. This helps in replacing the major deadly habits of external control such as criticizing, bribing, blaming, punishing, nagging, and threatening with supporting, negotiating differences, encouraging, respecting, listening, trusting, and accepting. However, this model leads to a risk in that it discounts chemical or biological root cause to the psychological or mental problems (Christensen & Gray, 2012).
In order to enhance the benefits of using CBT in treating different types of psychological disorders, it is important that the counselor integrates other psychological models. However, it is important to understand the risk factors involved when dealing with severely ill patients so as to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the patient. These other models can therefore be used to help in identifying the underlying causes to the suffered illness, stimulus that would help in learning certain skills, and present problems that a client is experiencing. It is also important to understand the benefits of each to ensure that the patient’s psychological wellbeing is restored.
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