An Affective Approach to Therapy

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1. Dr. Howard utilizes an awesome approach with clients when assisting them to connect with a lost one. The author conducts several counseling sessions with the client(s). The therapist sets up a scenario that the decease person is brought back to spend only five minutes and what would you say and how are you feeling. The deceased is leaving now. Is there anything else you would like to share or do? Perhaps hugs, kiss, and as a therapist one waits on a response from the client. How do you feel and what part of the magic would you want changed? Often times people walk around in denial, anger, blaming oneself, and depression sets in. It is true that many people experience the feelings of denial. Our brains are powerful and rely on past experiences to make sense out of this world. This act of denial is normal, upsetting and devastating, yes, but normal. Some clients will share their story with a therapist who will assume that the therapist thinks they are crazy and would need to be admitted to the nearest institution. It takes a long time to help one realize that this happens to many people who are grieving. Counselors and therapist must explain to clients that their mind would always go back to what it felt was normal. I also explained that part of the task of grieving was to help create a new normal. Some grieving people feel anger regarding their loss and others do not. For those who have anger, it is my experience that this anger is expressed in many ways throughout the grieving process and is not a phase or a specific task. Some regret not expressing their love for the person before death. Others are anger that they weren’t allowed to say goodbye. Anger can be displayed in many ways. Death and the loss we are left with is a permanent state and there is nothing to bargain for. The loss is permanent and we know that nothing will ever bring this loved one back into our lives in the same way. Depression is a definite part for the vast majority of grievers. I am not referring to the clinical diagnosis of depression. For many there is not a change in their brain chemistry which creates this illness. It is a feeling of emptiness, of pining for the loved one, and a melancholy that robs one of energy. Everything that happens does so in slow motion. Nothing seems to make sense anymore. What you could always depend on, you can no longer do so. Acceptance is a word that creates much discussion among the grieving community. What are we really asking them to do? To accept that their child, husband, loved one has died and it was right? We do have a hole in our hearts and although it can be surrounded by the love and support of others, education and counseling that we obtain, and time wielding experience, the hole cannot be filled. 2. As a beginning counselor it is difficult to reflect feelings, but for different reasons. In the social milieu, because the boundaries are different, reflecting another person's unspoken emotion by pointing it out is often considered intrusive and impolite. Thus new counselors are uncomfortable in the counseling milieu when they perceive themselves to be "telling other people how they feel." It helps to draw clear distinctions between what is appropriate socially and what is appropriate therapeutically. In the therapeutic milieu, clients are "stuck" when they are unable to identify how they feel about what is happening in their lives. Effective use of the reflection of feeling skill helps clients gain the self-awareness needed to get "unstuck." The therapist must step into the client's shoes. 3. Four important skills that must be applied during a counseling session whether group are individual are as follow. The author’s perceptions and/or instructions regarding cultural diversity states that an effective therapeutic relationship depends on the therapist’s establishment of rapport, honesty, self-disclosure, and the demonstration of acceptance and trust. To establish this...
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