PSYCHOTHERAPIES AND COUNSELLING 10
Socialanxieties and aggressive desires have adverse effects on one’sbehaviour. Sometimes, stressful conditions emanate from the failureof an individual to recognise the internal challenges or letting gooff of circumstances that one cannot change. The burden increases ifone does not seek immediate interventions from the right people atthe appropriate time. Psychotherapy offers support, information, andknowledge that help a victim in the recovery process. It also seeksto understand the psychodynamic issues affecting the client. Thevictim’s previous records are examined before any intervention isgiven. According to Ford and Alao (2011), the process would involveexamining the factors such as stress and emotional drain contributingto the behaviour. In the case below, Jane experiences a stressfulsituation arising from multiple factors such as relationship breakup,loss of the biological mother, and friends, among others.
TheAcceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) framework is used to explainsituations contributing to one’s conduct problems. The therapeuticplan starts with an individual’s recognition of the existingchallenges as well as commitment to adopt new manners. Addressing theeffects of stress requires interventions that promote psychological,expressive and comportment change as acknowledged in thebehavioural-change plan.
CaseStudy: Jane’s Problems and Symptoms
Janeappears depressed for losing contact with her close friends. Theissue contributes to reduced concentration in academics. She criesmost of the times because she feels that nobody loves her. Thebreak-up made her feel as if she was a failure and misfit in thesociety. To eliminate sadness, Jane spends time watching TV ordrinking. Further, Jane has a medical problem where she experiencesdifficulties in breathing every time she is upset. She also lives asan only child with her supportive father and stepmother. Her motherdied when she was five years old, although the father remarried twoyears later.
Janereports that she was a bright student who used to top in class beforethe break-up of her relationship. After completing a science degree,she moved to Brisbane where she lives alone and studies medicine. Sheis yet to make friends at the new place, although she retainedcontacts with the former pals in North QLD. Unfortunately, herboyfriend has already established a relationship with another woman.The move made Jane to lose trust with her friends in North QLD sincethey never communicated the news to her despite their knowledge ofthe issue. Often, the break-up distracts her so much during studiesthat she finds it difficult to concentrate, leading to poor academicperformance.
Medicaltraining is a demanding field due to numerous engagements inhospitals, classes, and library. Her academic supervisor was recentlyupset because of her lateness and sick leave. Besides, alcoholconsumption has also affected her schedule and responsibilities inproviding patient care. Jane intends to stop drinking, as shebelieves that she is a high achiever. However, she has anotherchallenge in that she is undertaking studies in medicine to pleaseher parents. Her interest is to become a graphic designer, arguingthat the medicine field is a highly demanding occupation.
Acceptanceand Commitment Therapy (ACT) Framework
Acceptanceand commitment therapy (ACT) is a behaviour intervention therapy thattargets an individual’s psychological flexibility. According toHayes, Strosahl, and Wilson (2012), ACT is an analysis that utilisesacceptance and mindfulness approaches to attend to the needs of aclient. The approach does not aim at eliminating the challenges orcomplex feelings, but seeks to compel individuals to adoptvalue-based behaviour. The theory asserts that it is often difficultto change some of the issues affecting one’s life. In fact, itpersuades people to open up the repulsive feelings and avoidoverreacting to them (Bohlmeijer, Fledderus, Rokx, & Pieterse,2014). The therapeutic impact of the intervention takes place once anindividual acquires a better understanding of the truth.
Fromthe case above, several instances affect Jane, hence, contributing toher sadness and depression. The ACT framework can help to explore andexplain the processes that are contributing to her challenges. Tobegin with, Jane fails to let go of the fact that her boyfriend hasalready established a new relationship with another woman. It is hardto change the matter since her lover had personal reasons forchoosing to take a different path in the romantic relationship.Another difficulty affecting Jane is a feeling that her boyfriend wasdishonest since he never communicated the unpleasant decision to her.Additionally, she appears afraid to inform her parents about herpersonal interests in graphic design. She is currently stressed bythe demanding studies in medicine. Jane has failed to takeappropriate steps to communicate the matter at the right time toavoid wasting time and embarrassment. Currently, she has failed toconcentrate on studies, thus, posting poor performance during thelast exams. It is noteworthy that Jane is a bright student, althoughshe has no interest in pursuing medicine as a career.
TheACT plan is based on the psychological suffering, which emanates fromexperiential avoidance that develops rigidity that make one to failto take the necessary steps according to the essential values. Janeis suffering from multiple denials and inability to communicate hercircumstances to the right people such as parents and tutors.Internally, she experiences beliefs that there is a chance to changethe missteps she has faced in life. Her strategies for experientialavoidance includes failing to attend classes and blaming closefriends. She also takes alcohol thinking that the move would help toreduce the burden of stress. At times, Jane tries to control heremotions by attempting to decrease her drinking habits.
Moreover,Jane’s relocation to Brisbane from North QLD affected her contactswith former friends. In fact, she feels that her comrades fail tocommunicate because of moving to the new place. At Brisbane, Jane isyet to make new buddies. As a result, she feels that the matter couldhave affected her social status. Unfortunately, she cannot change thecurrent situation, as she has to go to school in the new area. It isa matter of forfeiting her former friends and creating new ones atBrisbane. It is also notable that her biological mother’s deathcould have affected her emotionally. While the father and stepmotherappear supportive, Jane lacks the maternal love from her late mother.
TheACT therapeutic plan seeks to assist a client in acquiring theawe-inspiring sense of self-known. According to Johns, Morris, andOliver (2013), the plan is to help one in identifying personal valuesand interests. The ACT plan has a great contribution towardsenhancing vitality and comprehension about life. Jane’s case is notcomplicated to handle considering that she has no medical problem atthe moment.
Anindividual’s perspective, knowledge, and self-interpretation have agreat significance on his or her emotions and behaviour. Personaldeeds and emotions influence psychological feelings such as anger,arousal, reasoning and joy, among others (McLeod, 2013). Mentalstimulation, for example, may lead to a negative obsession indecision-making and channels for perverse behaviours. It is clearthat manners inform an individual on when and how to respond tocertain deeds. Besides the internal factors, there exist externalinfluences such as culture, peer groups, career interest and livingstandards that contribute to the emotional status of an individual(Öst, 2014). Jane fails to communicate or even discuss her interestsand dislike for medicine with her parents. It would be moreappropriate that she informs her parents to lessen the burden ofstress. The move would assist in leading a successful life afterfollowing her preferred career in graphic design.
Further,Jane should avoid making regrets for the choices she has madepreviously. Attaining university education need not worry her, as itis necessary and important to acquire educational knowledge. It isalso vital for Jane to recognise that life has many setbacks that canaffect her path and growth plan. There are some issues that shecannot change now, but should train to live with them. Accepting thecurrent reactions and taking action towards attaining life goals isnecessary (Hoare, McIlveen, & Hamilton, 2013).
Bohlmeijer,Fledderus, Rokx, and Pieterse (2011) observe that adult patients withdepression can overcome their situations through adopting the ACTplan. The authors recognise that the scheme should be undertakenearly enough before it degenerates to affect the functioning of thebody parts such as the brain. It is also notable that one must bewilling to take steps towards adopting new values and behaviours inthe context of the therapeutic process. People adopt practices thathave either positive or adverse effect on their life (Fledderus etal., 2013). Sometimes, behaviours can hinder one’s ability toovercome his or her psychological challenges. We also tend to deny orgive reasons to indicate our non-involvement. Denials, for instance,affect our moral authority and integrity, hence, affecting ourpsychological life. Such forms of denial can be overcome by engagingin proper behaviours, as well as accepting our mistakes (Ford &Alao, 2011).
Janeexperiences situations that require him to play the proper role toachieve his goals. Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory seeks to useindividual’s perspective to explain his or her behaviour. Under thetheory, a therapist tries to use personal constructs of a client togenerate a therapy plan (Vignoles, Schwartz, & Luyckx, 2011).Personal experiences are crucial in understanding one’s psychology.The theory can be used to explain Jane’s behaviour and stress. Theinterpretation of her intentions shows a deep connection with hersituation and experiences. The concept of alienation reflects a lowlevel of integration among individuals or the social environment. Lowlevel of integration affects the social relationship of an individual(Luchies, Finkel, & Fitzsimons, 2011). In this case, Jane issurrounded by the confusion that she is unable to handle. Making theultimate decision is not easy, as it will have resultant effects.
Cognitiveconcept assesses the significance of thoughts and beliefs in shapingthe behaviour and values of an individual (Persons, 2012 Morris,Johns, & Oliver, 2013). Values are the ethical codes that definerational articulation of one’s ideas or deeds. The values aid inunderstanding why and how people behave as they do in particularsituations. Social reputation and identity are comprised of previousactions, perceived responses from individuals and expected futurebehaviours (Ferro-Garcia, Lopez-Bermudez, & Valero-Aguayo, 2012).From the assessment results, it is clear that a person uses his orher cognitive component to assess various situations. The ACT plancan assist in the formulation of solutions and responses to queriesbased on one’s reasoning. Emotional aspect also takes a criticalrole in influencing the responses and self-esteem. The concept hasalso been used in the treatment of stress among the social workers(Brinkborg, Michanek, Hesser, & Berglund, 2011).
TheACT plan also emphasises the importance of the immediate environmentin directing the cause of behaviours (Morris, Johns, & Oliver,2013). Reinforcement can be said to play a significant role in Jane’sintention to pursue life interests. However, it might be difficult tochange her situations due to the underlying factors that are involvedin the formation of an appropriate decision. Individuals withdifferent values should understand the importance of shelving theirattributes for faster recovery. Understanding and acceptingbehavioural changes is instrumental to ensure better counsellingoutcomes (Stafford‐Brown& Pakenham, 2012), (Seligman, 2015).
Counsellingstrategies aim at identifying the co-dependent and destructive trendsthat have adverse effects on one’s psychological life. It isnotable that an individual may block the opportunity for recovery andhealthy relationships as they jump from one position/situation toanother. Breaking the cycle is helpful to resolve the dysfunctionalbehaviours associated with either of the positions. Sometimes, peoplehave negative attitude towards their life. Attitude influenceshumans’ thinking and actions. The ACT approach discussed above canhelp an individual to overcome behavioural challenges, besidesadopting a new action plan to enhance future success. Jane needs tochange his or her attitude towards self-control, responsibility, andrisk. Change in attitude prompts changes in reasoning, relationships,and deeds. Breaking the old cycle enables an individual to try newthings, including behaviours and interests. It is also important totake greater control of social life.
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