An Overview of Individual Counseling Therapy Options
In today's society, individual counseling is becoming more main-stream with increased usage within the school system, family unit and even the military. The role that a counselor can have on any individual varies according to the chosen theory to practice and the approach taken. However, it must be stated that the approach and success of therapy is dependent on the relationship established by the therapist (clinician) with the client. In 2010 Seligman proposed the BETA treatment system, which stands for background, emotions, thoughts, and actions. According to Seligman, all theories are either focused on a person’s background, emotions, thoughts or their actions. For this reason, we will discuss three prominent forms of individual counseling therapy used today. The three types of therapy are Adlerian Theory, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused Brief Therapy. The following paper will seek to introduce the key concepts, therapeutic approach, and application of various techniques, or procedures for each of these practices.
To begin, Adlerian theory is a therapeutic approach that is focused on the individual’s background. The founder of Adlerian Theory is Alfred Adler, a contemporary of Freud and a member of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society. After years of working with Freud, Adler split from Freud due to his theory of individual psychology; his theory was that a holistic approach must be used to treat individuals. He believed in the psychosocial rather than the psychosexual, which means a focus on the whole human and their connection to the world rather than pleasure-seeking energies (sexual impulses) of the individual.
At its core, Adlerian therapy has a basic view of human nature that people's efforts are to compensate for their self-perceived inferiority to others. Many describe Adler’s theory as being phenomenological, meaning that he focused on a person’s inner reality, the way that person perceived the world (Seligman & Reichenberg, 2014). Alfred Adler believed that to truly treat a client you must use a holistic approach. He combined a heavy dose of Freudian beliefs with a more positive view of a person's future. Unlike Freudian psychoanalysis, Adlerian theory is less deterministic, in that Adler didn’t believe in the biological determinants placed on people. Instead Adler believed people have three goals that are innate. These three goals are a social interest or a want to be a part of society (to fit in), belief that humans are striving towards goals rather than “victims” of biology, and there is an inner drive that stems from the unconscious and needs to be analyzed. Alder further believed that an individual could overcome their feelings of inferiority and change their "given path". Therefore, Adler used a goal oriented approach to allow clients to overcome their perceived feelings of inferiority.