Tim and his life
Introduction of the Case
The case is about a 28 year old African-American man named Tim. Tim lives alone and attends graduate school part time. He completed his coursework for a master’s degree in human resources four years ago, however he has not begin the thesis needed to complete the requirements to earn the degree. He currently supports himself by working as a stock clerk in a local department store. Tim’s overall presentation of himself is somber. He reports being unhappy most of his life. He is the youngest child. His mother passed away when he was twelve years old from a cocaine overdose. His father also had a history with drug use. Tim does not report a history of drug or alcohol use.
Description of the Presenting Problem
Tim is seeking counseling services to deal with his relationships with women and his life. His current relationship is the longest he has ever sustained. He reports that his girlfriends describe him as “too clingy”. Tim states that his current girlfriend of 8 months, has become frustrated by his neediness. Tim feels that his girlfriend is “the one” and he wants this relationship to work. Tim states that he wants help with
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Tim may benefit from person-centered therapy, also referred to as client-centered therapy. Developed by humanist psychologist, Carl Rogers, person centered therapy seeks to empower the client in a therapeutic relationship. The construct of person centered therapy is centered around self actualization. Self actualization is defined as a person achieving full potential on different levels of life experiences, such as relationships, family, school, career, and personal goals. Based on Rogers theoretical prospective, one’s self-concept can become distorted by the need for approval from others, which can lead to alienation from one’s true beliefs and desires and suppression of one’s self-actualizing tendency.
In Tim’s case his self-concept may be compromised by past relationships, which is prohibiting him from having a fully functional relationship with is current girlfriend. The construct states that self actualization is the sole motivation of all people. Self actualization is intended to be directional. It’s basic goal is to increase in the ability to distinguish between complexity, which results in growth, development, and fulfillment of potential. A fully functional person as described by Rogers, is open to experiences. Openness to experience means being able to accept reality along with personal feelings. Another concept of the fully-functional person is existential living, which means living in the present, letting go of the past. Existential living does not mean that people should not remember the past or look forward to the future. It does mean that people should accept the past and future for what they are, memories and dreams. Organismic trusting, for the fully functional person is being able to trust ourselves to do what we feel is right and what comes naturally. Experiential freedom comes when a fully functional person recognizes the feeling of freedom when choices are involved and takes responsibility for his or her choices. Creativity, for the full functional person involves helping others reach self actualization, through arts, sciences, social concern, parental love, and doing his or her best at a job. The construct goes on state that human motivational tendencies can be effected by personal experience and behavior. Interactions with inauspicious or adverse people and environmental conditions can distort or stunt motivational tendencies. When the people realize that their self actualization potential has become stunted, due to effects on motivational tendencies caused by unfavorable interactions, the need for psychotherapy is created.
Role of Therapist and Client
The goal of person centered therapy is to create a comfortable psychological atmosphere for the client. The role of the therapist is to foster a relationship that involves promoting self actualization, which is the tendency of the person to develop in ways that serve to maintain or promote personal growth, conditions of self worth, and positive change. The foundation of person centered therapy is founded on the following concepts: empathic understanding, congruence or genuineness, unconditional positive regard, and self-actualization. In order for a therapist to engage in effective person centered therapy, Rogers felt that he or she must have certain qualities that consist of congruence, empathy, and Respect. The role of the therapist is to have congruence, that is genuineness and honesty with the client. The therapist must have empathy or the ability to feel what the client feels. The thearpist strioves to promote independence and integration for clients in their surroundings and with the people in their lives. The role of the client is to be open to the experience of counseling, to trust in themselves, to be prepared to self evaluate or reflect on internal feelings and to have a desire towards continued growth or change. Clients who are willing to expand in knowledge, beliefs and feelings during person centered therapy are more capable of making positive change.
As previously stated, the three techniques typical used in person centered therapy are
unconditional positive regard, empathic understanding, and congruence. As a therapist for Tim, the two techniques I would use are unconditional positive regard and empathic understanding. My rational for choosing these techniques are based on my analysis of Tim’s background. Tim relationship problems are more than likely the result of his childhood experiences. He lost his mother at a very young age to a drug overdose, and his father was addicted to drugs. Tim was probably never able to establish a bond with his parents resulting in mixed emotions of adult relationships. Through the use of empathic understanding I will be able to establish or identify with the feelings that Tim have and communicate those feelings with him through his point of view. To enhance my since of empathic understanding to Tim’s relationship problems I will incorporate Active or Reflective Listening. In active or reflective listing, my full attention is focused on what Tim is saying and as well as his body language such as his posture and facial expressions. After listing to Tim, I would reflect on what he has said by restating them out loud for him to hear and to ensure that I understood his problems correctly, to reassure him that I was listening and to facilitate more information on the part of Tim.
Identifying with Tim’s feelings communicates to him that I was listening and encourages him to express and trust in me more freely. Gaining Tim’s trust through empathic understanding and reflective listening establishes a since of trust and allows us to center in on key issues of his relationship problems that require a satisfactory solution. The second technique I would use is unconditional positive regard. Tim did not have the best personal life experiences which may play a role in his inability to complete life expectations or self actualization goals. An example of this is his inability to follow through on his thesis which is a requirement for him to complete graduate school. Although he did not engage in any of the risky behaviors of drug and alcohol use, such as his parents did, his presentation of himself is somber, suggesting low self esteem. unconditional Positive Regard involves accepting Tim as he is without judging his behavior and life experiences, as good or bad. The use of unconditional positive regard facilitates an increased since of self-regard in Tim, through which he will begin to become aware of experiences in which his view of self-worth was distorted by others. Through use of these techniques of person centered therapy, Tim will become aware of his behavior in relationships, reasons for lack of progress in self actualization in terms of his thesis, life expectations ,ect., and determine his own goals for desired changes in his life.
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