Theoretical Orientation

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Theoretical Orientation Term Paper
Dr. Elizabeth Campbell
Whitworth University
Fall 2011

In order to write this paper, the author had to consider two important questions in order to determine the most appropriate theoretical orientation for her. First, under what contexts and specific settings would the therapeutic process take place? Second, what does this particular client need most in order to heal, to grow, to be safe with him/herself and with others, to suffer less, to cope more effectively, and to behave in a way that will keep him or her from getting into trouble? It is very important to note that there is a significant amount of research that shows that different therapies work best with different clients regarding their level of functioning, existing pathologies and their severity, the clients’ socioeconomic statuses (SES), and their cultural background. CITE

For the purpose of this paper and based on the answers to the questions previously stated, the author will write from the perspective of a therapist who works in a clinical setting with clients that are largely low to average functioning, are culturally diverse, and generally have a low SES, which means that they have limited time and resources to spend on their treatment. In response to the second question, the theory that comes closest to my worldview and serves as a foundation for constructing my theoretical orientation is the Cognitive Behavioral theory. The author will discuss CBT as her “go to” primary approach in terms of techniques, goals, the therapist/client relationship, and the merits of the approach. The main concepts of Rogers’ person-centered approach will be infused into the author’s practice as a given, since clients are more likely to cooperate with the therapist’s cognitive and behavioral interventions, and most other interventions for that matter, if they feel the therapist is genuinely interested in their well-being.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Human nature
Human beings are capable of change and are subject to determinants in their environments. Negative and incorrect thinking patterns lead to maladaptive behaviors that somehow have been reinforced through emotions. We all have core belief systems of schemas that are formed early on through since our earliest experiences. Modern practitioners of CBT have opened up new ways of helping people by understanding that they are more than conditioned machines, but still victims or benefactors of the environment.

Perception and experiencing in general are active processes which involve both inspected and introspective data. The client’s thoughts represent these experiences and his or her appraisal of the situation is generally evident in his or her cognitions. These, in turn make up the persons "stream of consciousness", which reflects the persons configuration of himself, his world, his past and future (Back, 1979). The Cognitive Behavioral perspective is somewhat pessimistic of human nature since it does not afford people the ability to get well on their own, and in some cases such as mental health institutions, the CB therapist exercises quite a bit of control over the patient and their environment. View of health and pathology

When people have negative experiences in their lives, certain core beliefs may result from that and these can lead to psychological dysfunction. Cognitive vulnerabilities develop early in a person's life and when these beliefs are rigid, negative, and ingrained we are predisposed to pathology (Beck, 1979). Because of the high success rates that CBT has had in treating people with various pathologies as well as more common issues that are less complex but nevertheless need attention, CBT proves its point: if we can deal with and understand our thoughts, our behaviors will follow and our emotions will fall into place. With the right tools and proper conditioning, there are...
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