Counseling Theories and Individual Psychology

Counseling theories often provide psychologists with various uses. These theories are a foundation for the comprehension of that which the profession wishes to do. Secondly, they provide a framework for psychologists to treat and diagnose their patients. Thirdly, counseling theories can help the psychologist to express the changes that therapy causes among the client. These theories are not similar. Each theory is distinct in its own way although there are certain similarities among them (Corey, 2013). This paper seeks to compare the Individual Psychology (Alfred Adler) to various theories such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, solution focused, and psychoanalysis.

The cognitive behavior theory (CBT) is a realistic, practical approach that was initially applied in treating depression and anxiety. However, it is now increasingly being accepted within the field of psychology to treat mental, personality, and eating disorders. The theoretical framework of CBT was founded and shaped by Aaron Beck in the 1960s. Aaron had written a paper that was then expounded in a depression treatment manual. The initial writing had sought to address the pathology in the processing of information among patients who suffered from depression or anxiety. Further, the writing had added behavioral methods to make patients active, inverse helplessness, and counter escapism. Since its writing, CBT has matured with important researchers and scholars contributing to the theory (Herbert & Forman, 2011).

CBT is used by integrating multisystem model to hypothesize patients and design treatment. To assess the patient, the focus is put on cognitive and behavioral observations. However, other areas are considered which include biological, interpersonal, social, and spiritual among other factors. The next step is to establish a two way relationship between cognition and behavior. This is done to determine instances when either the cognitive process affects behavior or when a change in behavior affects the cognitions. The theory asserts that, the two are closely related.

The individual psychology theory was developed by Alfred Adler. This theory is also referred to as the Adlerian theory. The theory focuses on the idea of social interest that an individual feels once part of a whole. Further, he argued that people are motivated to feel a sense of belonging. To get to this level of being part of a group or having social interest, Adler argued that this process is not automatic, but rather one that requires some level of commitment and training of the individual. He further argued that people are always trying to overcome areas in which they feel they are weak. This process often defines one as either having superiority complex or inferiority complex. From the analysis, it is clear that, although both the CBT theory and the Adlerian theories are used in psychology, their application and areas of concern are very different.

Motivational and interviewing theory is a common approach that is being used in counseling to instigate or induct positive behavior. The theory is comparatively new since the first paper on MI theory was written in 1983. It was developed by an American scholar William Miller together with a group of Norwegian psychologists. Initially, this work was meant to explain how alcoholics should be treated. However, as with most other theories, the application of MI has been on the rise since the 90s. This is especially in other fields other than in the treatment of addicts. MI is mainly for those who have a dislike for the treatment approach. The approach is the overt and confrontational therapy to the patient. The purpose of this approach is to cause fear from the patient. According to MI, fear is often the motivation for change.

Further, MI has another approach that often involves confronting clients with those thoughts that are irrational. Pressure is then put on the patients to change those behaviors. However, other researchers have expressed skepticism arguing that fear has the possibility of horrifying the individual so much that change may be impossible for the patient. The assumption in this theory is that individuals have different and diverging motivations for change. Thus, they will think twice in the degree of enthusiasm and ambivalence. This theory allows and permits the expression of ambivalence and confusion from the patient. However, the theory dissuades the idea of the counselor proposing change but rather triggering the same by making the client look at the bigger picture such as personal goals (Hardcastle et al 2012).

It is clear that this theory is very new compared to Adlerian theory. However, the theories are similar in that both of them seek to understand human character. One of them deals with inferiority and superiority complex while the other deals with the problem of addiction. The individual psychology theory was developed by Alfred Adler. It is also known as the Adlerian theory. The theory emphasizes on the idea of social interest that an individual will feel once he or she is part of a whole. Further, Adler noted that people are motivated to feel a sense of belonging. To get to this level of being part of a group or having social interest, Adler said that this process is not automatic and thus requires some level of commitment and training of the individual. He further argued that people are always trying to overcome their areas of weakness. This process often defines one as either having superiority complex or inferiority complex.

Solution-focused approach therapy is a treatment theoretical model developed by Steve de Shazer in 1982. This model seeks to give a practical focus so as to examine the elements of psychotherapy, as well as a change in the world. The theory asserts that change is constant. However, the approach of this theory is that it puts emphasis on what patients aim to achieve and not on the problems or factors that have led them to visit the counselor. According to this theory, an individual can be assisted to identify certain things that he or she should have done differently. The individual may also be assisted to identify those things that currently make them satisfied. Therefore, it is possible for that client to determine and change certain things in his or her life to make them align with his or her preferred future. This approach model is one that is intended to take some time before it can be fully effective for the patient (Spilsbury, 2012).

On the other hand, the individual psychology theory was developed by Alfred Adler. This theory is also known as the Adlerian theory. The theory focuses on the concept of social interest, which an individual will feel once he or she is part of a group. Further, Adler noted that individuals need to be motivated in order to feel a sense of belonging. To get to this level, the process is not automatic, and thus one requires some level of commitment and training. He further observed that people are always trying to overcome their weaknesses. This process often defines one as either having superiority complex or inferiority complex. Thus, from the discussion, it is clear that the two theories deal with counseling. They also seek to find out the most pragmatic approaches that can be used in psychology. However, the two theories have differences. Firstly, they were founded by different scholars. Secondly, they address different topics in the field of psychology.

The psychoanalytic theory is also one of the oldest counseling theories. It was developed by neurologist Sigmund Freud in the late 19th century and refined later during the early 20th century. Given the time it was founded, the theory has been cited and critiqued extensively. The basic points that Sigmund put forward is that personalities comprise of three contexts in the mind. This includes the conscious, which is the mind that is aware of the happenings. The other part is the pre-conscious, which is a mixture of elements in the conscious and unconscious elements. The last part is the unconscious mind, which is predominated with the forgotten occurrences.

The theory is one of the most controversial especially its focus on the unconscious drives, which many critics say makes it look like a pseudo science. While Adlerian theory states that human are driven by the social interest, this theory asserts that psychic energy and early memories are the factors that drive humans. The second difference is that psychoanalytic theory claim that the cause of normal personalities is the resolution of these memories. Failure to resolve these memories is what will cause broken personalities since the unconscious elements in humans have an effect on the current behavior. It is also apparent that the theories were founded in almost the same time as the Adlerian theory (Magnavita, Patterson, Massey, Massey & Lebow, 2002).

From the discussion, it is clear that theories are broad, and each has its areas of focus. Psychologists will then have to find a mechanism to separate the most suitable and pragmatic theories depending on the issue at hand.

References

Corey, G. (2013). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth.

Hardcastle, S., Blake, N., & Hagger, M. (2012). The effectiveness of a motivational interviewing primary-care based intervention on physical activity and predictors of change in a disadvantaged community. Journal Of Behavioral Medicine, 35 (3), 318-333.

Herbert, J. D., & Forman, E. M. (2011). Acceptance and mindfulness in cognitive behavior therapy: Understanding and applying the new therapies. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.

Magnavita, J. J., Patterson, T., Massey, R. F., Massey, S. D., & Lebow, J. (2002). Comprehensive handbook of psychotherapy. New York: Wiley.

Spilsbury, G. (2012). Solution-Focused Brief Therapy for Depression and Alcohol Dependence: A Case Study. Clinical Case Studies, 11 (4), 263-275.