Theoretical Orientation

Sarah
is a teenager which poses a challenge when determining the Theoretical
Orientation.    The learner has decided to
utilize Existential Therapy with this client. 
Applying Existential Therapy is compatible with the uniqueness of this
case.  Although there are a lot of
external factors that played a part in Sarah’s life issues, those factors are
not directly responsible for her behavior in school and in the home in which
she currently lives.

Sarah
is being vague about what has caused her to need therapy and is not owning up
to the role she plays in the dilemmas she
is currently facing.  Sarah has not taken
ownership of her actions as she does not see how she may have played a part in
the way the other kids at school treat her nor does she believe it is her fault
that she was hospitalized. Sarah has experienced a variety of dilemmas in a
short period of time but has since been removed from the home.  Although very young, Sarah still has choices
in how she chooses to live her life, regardless of what her family unit may or
may not have done.  During the counseling
session the Therapist ensured clarification and actively listening which are
attributes of the Person-Centered approach.

The
existential tradition also presents us the concept of choice, as noted by
Sartre, each person always has a choice, within the limitations of life (as
noted in Pires, 2016, p. 97).  The
Existential therapy will help Sarah learn how to move forward.  The counselor posed questions that were aimed
at getting a better understanding of Sarah’s world or how she views the world. “Existential
therapist are primarily concerned with
understanding the subjective world of the clients to help them come to new
understandings and options” (Corey, 2013, p.155). Spinelli also describes this
as an attempt to un-know. “Un-know”
suggests the counseling psychologist’s willingness to explore the world of the
client in a fashion that not only seeks to remain respectful of the client’s
unique way of being-in-the-world, but
also to be receptive to the challenges to the counseling psychologist’s own
narrational biases and assumptions” (As noted in
Pires, 2016,p 96).  Sarah was given a
homework assignment to work on in between sessions.  It is important that Sarah sessions go beyond
the therapist office, as noted by Schneider, “Existential therapist encourage
experimentation not only within the therapy office but also outside of the
therapy setting, based on the belief that life outside therapy is what counts”
(As noted in Corey).  The homework
exercise is aimed at getting Sarah to see the importance of her life  the meaningfulness of her life, :  life not experiences as meaningful appears
all too easy to giveup(Frankl, 1971)

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Conclusion

 

The
goal of existential therapy is to assist clients in identifying ways to move
forward and identify alternative possibilities(Corey2013)  It is important for Sarah to recognize that
no matter the situation, life has meaning.  She may feel trapped in more ways than one and
the counselor has to help her understand that everyone has a choice. When
applying Existential Therapy, it is important for the Counselor to try to
understand the client’s world and embrace the fact that, in this setting, the
client is the expert in his or her life.

 

 

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