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Running Head: PERSONAL COUNSELLING THEORY

My Personal Counselling Theory


Christina Majcher
University of Calgary

PERSONAL COUNSELLING THEORY

My Personal Counselling Theory


It is not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest
that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing
hope to the lost and love to the lonely. Leo Buscaglia
School psychologists in training benefit from developing a personal counselling theory
(Murdock, Nancy, 1991). This framework, stemming from the highly varied therapeutic
counselling approaches available, helps guide their practice in understanding the human
condition and facilitating change. Although the task of creating a personal theory of counselling
cannot be completed within the confines of an introductory counselling course, individuals can
begin to integrate and synthesize the various approaches to create a counselling theory tailored
to their personality (Corey, 2011).
Research indicates that there is not one type of therapy that has proven to be the most
effective approach to counselling (Mulhauser, 2011). Rather, studies show that variable success
is often linked to differences with individual counsellors, not the approach used (Mulhauser,
2011). These findings may lead some counsellors or school psychologists in training to feel that
if that all therapeutic approaches are equally effective, one does not need to worry about
aligning themselves with a singular approach (Mulhauser, 2011). One might even go so far as
to say a counsellor could just do whatever works. However, as Corey (2009) indicates, a
relatively well-defined foundation can help new counsellors develop both knowledge and
experience. He further adds that aspiring counsellors must avoid an undisciplined mixture of
approaches (Corey, 2009). In recent years, many therapists have begun to move away from a
single-school approach towards an integration of psychotherapies (Norcross & Beutler, 2011).
When developing a personal theory within an integrative perspective, Corey (2009) states that it
must be an ongoing and well-thought out practice integrating elements and concepts from the

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various theories.

This paper will outline my emerging personal counselling framework to

support my future role as a school psychologist.


Philosophical Assumptions
At the beginning of this course, I flipped through our textbook and immediately thought I
would be drawn to cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT). As a learning support teacher, I have
extensive experience with several CBT programs used in the school environment as well as
techniques recommended by community psychologists and psychiatrists. I have witnessed
benefits with this therapeutic approach and the overall philosophy makes sense to me.
However, I have always felt that something was missing from CBT. There have been children
that did not respond to the interventions and many times I have felt that the root of an
individuals emotional distress was not always addressed with the CBT approach. This course
has helped me identify my conflicting feelings with CBT, and introduced me to an approach
more aligned with my personal belief systems. It has also reassured me that I do not have to
feel confined to a single approach. I have learned that all therapeutic approaches have useful
aspects and that accepting one model as valid does not equate to a rejection of all other
models. I have identified that my personal theory is an assimilative integrative approach
primarily based on Gestalt therapy, incorporating concepts and techniques of cognitive
behaviour therapy. I am also interested in incorporating interventions from other therapies such
as existential theory and rational emotive therapy, but I will not be referring to them in this paper.
This section of my paper will outline components of my philosophical basis for practice,
including the nature of humans, the nature of unhealthy vs. healthy functioning, and the nature
of client change, demonstrating how it aligns with my developing personal theory of counselling.
Nature of Humans
Corey (2009) states, the Gestalt view of human nature is rooted in existential
philosophy, phenomenology, and field theory (p. 193). I agree with this experiential and
humanistic approach that stresses the importance of holism with a belief that people cannot be

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understood separate from their environment or interpersonal relationships (Yontef & Jacobs,
2011). This is an important component to remember as a school psychologist, particularly when
assessing, interacting and working with children as well as communicating with parents and
colleagues. As Yontef and Jacobs (2011) indicate, self does not exist without other (p. 352). I
agree that when we examine the self, it is in relation to experiences and contact with other
people that influences the formation and function of who we are (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). I also
agree with the assumption that people have the ability to self-regulate in their environment, if
they have an awareness of what is happening both in and around them. As Yontef and Jacobs
(2011) state, the Gestalt approach integrates components from the affective, sensory, cognitive,
interpersonal and behavioural aspects (Joyce & Sills, 2009, as cited in Yontef & Jacobs, 2011).
I appreciate this holistic outlook and find that it fits well with my current philosophy of working
with children.
Nature of Healthy Functioning
One may ask, what constitutes healthy functioning? I believe that people are born with
the resources and abilities necessary to live a healthy and rewarding life, but that there are
times when something interrupts or challenges the process. This can lead a person to become
stuck with unhealthy patterns and beliefs about themselves. This outlook is very similar to the
Gestalt view on the nature of healthy functioning. Gestalt therapists stress the importance of
wholeness by being in contact with what is happening, identifying and trusting ones feelings
and desires, and being able to be honest with ones self and others (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011).
Gestalt therapists see healthy functioning in the context of an individuals perception of what is
relevant to their current needs and interests (Carmer & Rouzer, 1974). The more closely our
perceived needs match our actual needs, the healthier we will be (Carmer & Rouzer, 1974).
Healthy individuals are whole and healing happens when an individuals needs are met (Yontef
& Jacobs, 2011). Gestalt therapists focus on a persons ability to manage their internal
environment to maintain a state of equilibrium with changes in the external environment.

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People must cope with and prioritize various needs to meet their most essential needs, while
temporarily suppressing other needs to the background. When an individual is not able to
adjust and respond to environmental needs, form a figure of interest, or respond to what they
are aware of, they are considered to be experiencing dysfunction.
Major Causes of Dysfunction
I tend to believe that dysfunction occurs when there is a mismatch between an individual
and their environment that results in a persons needs not being met. Even when dealing with
children with significant behavioural challenges, many times the root of the matter is that an
individual does not feel loved. Gestalt therapists see unhealthy functioning as ongoing
unawareness of a persons experience along with a disconnect between an individuals needs
and what is available or required within the field (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). This view fits well with
my personal outlook. Gestalt therapists believe that people grow, learn and change throughout
life and that psychotherapy is warranted only when people routinely fail to learn from their
mistakes and experiences (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Psychological disorders become evident
when a persons self-regulatory ability is no longer enabling them to go beyond maladaptive
patterns that were potentially developed as creative adjustments in difficult or traumatic times
(Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). I also agree unexpressed feelings such as resentment, rage, hatred,
pain, anxiety, grief and guilt can linger in the background if feelings are not dealt with (Corey,
2009). This unfinished business can then show up as blockage within the body that must be
addressed (Corey, 2009). Although I do not feel that all illness and disease is the result of
unfinished business from the past, I do believe there are times when there is in a mind- body
connection with unresolved and unexpressed feelings.
The Gestalt approach states that increasing ones awareness can empower and help
improve the accuracy of perception of events as well as unblocking emotional energy that was
previously blocked (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Although I agree with this outlook, I also see truth
with the cognitive behavior therapy outlook that people respond to events based on individual

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learning history (Beck & Weishaar, 2011). There are times when responses end up maladaptive
as a result of misperceptions, misinterpretations, or dysfunctional interpretations of events (Beck
& Weishaar, 2011).
The Nature of Change
My philosophy of how people change could be succinctly explained by a quote from
Ekhart Tolles book A New Earth: Awakening to your Lifes Purpose (2005) that states, "you do
not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you,
and allowing that goodness to emerge. But it can only emerge if something fundamental
changes in your state of consciousness." (n.p). The primary goal of Gestalt therapy is on
awareness (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Gestalt therapists focus on the here and now experience
as well as personal responsibility. They do not focus on curing or fixing individuals. The goal is
exploration rather than a direct attempt to change behavior. I agree that increasing a persons
awareness can bring about change and strongly agree with the Gestalt view of awareness
existing along a continuum. There have been several times in my life where I have witnessed
adults and children make efforts to change when there is an increased awareness along with
structures and support. I agree with Yontef and Jacobs (2011) statement that there is a
difference between merely knowing about something and owning what one is doing (p.361). I
strongly feel that people may need help to understand that alternate reactions or ways to live
are available and within their capability. I really like the stages of change identified by Norcross
and Beutler (2011) in our textbook, Current Psychotherapies. I will definitely refer to this
information in the future.
Another reason that the Gestalt approach aligns with my personal belief system is that I
prefer to focus on the power individuals have to act or change circumstances within their life,
rather than spending a great deal of time analyzing circumstances from a persons childhood
that may have caused current challenges. This holds true with my interactions with adults and
children. Although I understand that the past can influence the present, I believe that people

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have a tremendous capacity to transcend difficult or stressful times, to demonstrate resiliency,


recover and heal. Gestalt therapy emphasizes looking at experiences in the present moment
(Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Although there may be unfinished business from the past that creates
problems in the present, these problems can be resolved and healing can occur in the present.
The one major difference between Gestalt therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy that
shifted my personal counselling philosophy towards Gestalt is that unlike cognitive therapists,
Gestalt therapists do no profess to know the truth about what is considered to be an irrational
thought (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Growing up, my parents often told me that feelings are neither
right nor wrong; they just are. I learned at a young age that the way someone is feeling is their
reality and it is not up to you to judge how they are feeling. This continues to be a phrase that I
live by to this day. I find it particularly helpful when supporting children, especially those with
behaviour disorders. Children often have multiple interpretations of one event. Several
teachers that I work with are quick to say one of the children is not being truthful. I often remind
them that the story may be the childs interpretation and it is true to their reality. This is an
important piece for counsellors to remember, as I believe people are good and want to be good.
Another difference between Gestalt therapy and cognitive therapy that has influenced
my personal theory of counselling is that the process of change in CBT follows the steps of
setting a goal, having an expert identify ways to reach that goal and then a whole lot of practice.
This does not always result in a person changing or being able to sustain the change.
Alternatively, in Gestalt therapy there is an understanding that pushing harder will not result in
psychological change, but in having us push back (Corey, 2009). Although the Gestalt
approach identifies with the need for practice, this approach believes change occurs when there
is self-acceptance.
The Counselling Experience
Definition of Counselling

PERSONAL COUNSELLING THEORY

My definition of counselling is of a collaborative process with the active engagement of


the individual to create a whole, resilient, authentic person, not just a person that is free of
pathology. I agree with Corey (2009) that a focus on psychopathology restricts therapy as it
emphasizes deficits instead of strengths. My belief is that individuals have internal and external
resources and competencies to solve their own problems, but they benefit from a structure or
external scaffolding system to help attain their goals.
Counselling Process Beliefs
Counsellor-client relationship. I believe that the quality of the therapeutic relationship
is the most important factor in successful counselling. In fact, research suggests that the most
significant factor in the efficacy of counselling may be the level of relationship established
between a client and individual therapist (Mulhausser, 2011). This relationship needs to be
open, engaging and honest where the counsellor genuinely cares about their clients feelings,
thoughts and life experiences. It is within this type of respectful relationship where an individual
will feel free to explore a new sense of self.
I agree with the Gestalt philosophy that therapists must be comfortable with differences
between themselves and their clients. I also agree with the Gestalt view that awareness and
human relations are inseparable and that people define themselves by how they experience
themselves in relation to others (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011, p. 354). This is expressed by the IThough dialogue that occurs between the counsellor and client. I am less comfortable with the
Gestalt stance on therapist self-disclosure. My personal philosophy would be to be very
thoughtful with my level of disclosure to help ensure that it did not take away from the clients
needs or time. However, I do feel that it is important for therapists to allow themselves to be
affected by their clients, and to actively engage with their clients in the here-and-now. I believe
that a strong therapeutic relationship is one that changes both the client and the therapist.
Counsellor and client roles. In Gestalt therapy, the counsellor observes the client
while directing them to increase the awareness of their thoughts to explore different ways of

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thinking. Gestalt therapy is a based on the belief that reality is created between the observer
and the observed (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). The counsellors role is helping elucidate a clients
awareness of self and their environment (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Counsellors must be
responsible for the quality of their presence, have a strong understanding of self and remain
open to their clients at all times (Corey, 2009). I feel that it is important that counsellors do not
get lost or caught up in a role or bound to specific techniques, rather they are authentic with
their clients. This is why I am drawn to assimilative integration. I believe that methods need to
be based on a clients response to treatment goals, and fit both the client and therapist
(Norcross & Beutler, 2011). My last practicum supervisor often reminded me that there is a
science and an art to counselling and psychology. A balance between the art and science leads
to a true connection and healing.
A Gestalt therapists role is to encourage awareness toward the present environment, to
learn about themselves by attempting new behaviours and noticing what happens (Corey,
2009). Although a therapist is there to guide, facilitate, present experiments, and share
observations, the true work of therapy is done by the client (Corey, 2009). I appreciate this
approach and feel that people need to want to change in order for it to happen. As therapists
we are there to help facilitate and guide, but if the change is to be lasting, it needs to be owned
by the individual. This reminds me of an analogy that I have long held regarding teaching. Leo
Buscaglias book Living, Loving and Learning (1985) references this quote by Niko Kazantzakis,
Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to
cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create
bridges of their own (n.p.). This quote illustrates the connection I see between a counsellor
and client.
The course of therapy. Another aspect that I appreciate about the Gestalt approach is
that it is adaptable to short and long-term therapy (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Gestalt therapy
does not recommend a cookbook of prescribed techniques for specialized groups of

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individuals (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011, p. 367). Yontef and Jacobs (2011) indicate that Gestalt
therapy has the largest range of styles and types of therapies offered when compared to all
other therapy systems. This helps increase the options to ensure the right fit for therapist and
counsellor. I like the flexibility that this offers both the client and the therapist. I also feel that the
counselling process should be flexible enough to take as few or as many sessions as needed to
foster and facilitate client change.
Gestalt therapy originates with the first contact between the counsellor and client (Yontef
& Jacobs, 2011). From that initial meeting, the focus remains on what is happening now and
what is needed now (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). The therapist then moves towards facilitating the
clients awareness of self and environment (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). If the client and therapist
are suitably matched, therapy proceeds with the process of increasing awareness (Yontef &
Jacobs, 2011). Gestalt therapists will gather information regarding a clients life circumstances
and general history as the information becomes relevant (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Gestalt
therapy is either individual, couples therapy, or both and is suitable for all ages with
recommendations for specialized training when working with children (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011).
All techniques within the Gestalt approach are considered experiments (Yontef &
Jacobs, 2011). They range from common techniques like focusing, enactment, guided fantasy,
imagery, body awareness, loosening and integrating techniques (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011).
Although I see great value in many of these techniques, I will incorporate techniques and
strategies from other approaches, particularly with the cognitive behaviour therapy approach.
This is partially due to the extensive resources available to educators and school psychologists
that are CBT based programs but that compliment the Gestalt approach. The goal of Gestalt
therapy is that the client is able to direct the work, integrate problems solving and regulate his or
her awareness (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Although this is a suitable goal for an adult, the end of
therapy goal would need to be adjusted slightly for children. My hope is that the added structure
of CBT would help meet the needs of the children I support. Most importantly, I feel that

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therapists need to have a large number of techniques to be able to draw on to meet their clients
needs.
Past, Present and Future in Counseling
Gestalt therapy is a phenomenological approach that is present-centered. Therapists
believe that the here-and-now is the most significant tense in Gestalt therapy and productive
place for change. Unlike traditional psychoanalysis, this approach does not spend a great deal
of time exploring past experiences. As Corey states (2009), Gestalt therapists feel that focusing
on the past can be a way to avoid dealing with issues in the present. Although, I do not feel that
we can ignore the past or future in therapy, focusing on the present allows the client to focus on
what is. I agree that many people invest too much energy upset about past mistakes, over
focus on how their life should or could have been different or make endless plans or resolutions
for the future without any energy directed towards affecting change in the present. I appreciate
that Gestalt therapists ask what and how questions with a focus on the now to help keep
their clients connected in the present moment (Corey, 2009). Gestalt therapists attempt to
understand humans by the study of what is experienced and how it is experienced (Yontef &
Jacobs, 2011). They explore the existential themes of existence, life and death, choice and
responsibility, connection and separation (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). I feel that components and
interventions from Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy would help facilitate focusing on the
here-and-now.
Emotions, Beliefs and Behaviors
Gestalt therapists feel that emotions are crucial for healthy functioning because they
ground a person to their current relationships and environment and signal a person towards
self-regulation (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Gestalt therapists feel that gaps in personal awareness
and barriers to personal growth are created when an individual avoids expressing or owning
upsetting feelings (Coon & Mitterer, 2008). The central message of Gestalt therapy is that
emotional health comes from taking full responsibility for ones feelings and emotions by

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changing I cant to I wont or I must to I choose to. (Coon & Mitterer, 2008). Clients are
encouraged to stop intellectualizing or talking about feelings and instead fostered to learn to live
in the here-and-now, feeling the pain or unpleasantness and surrendering to being who you are
(Coon & Mitterer, 2008). This viewpoint aligns with my personal and professional beliefs that
people need to be who they really are for change to happen. I often find that the children that
progress with IEP goals are ones where the child and their parents have come to accept their
entire being.
Focusing on one aspect of a person (such as irrational thoughts) compartmentalizes
dysfunction into one part of that clients being. My belief is that human dysfunction affects a
whole person. This is inline with one of the foundational principles of Gestalt therapy, holism.
This is the understanding that we can only be understood as whole beings including all aspects
of human functioning (Corey, 2009). Gestalt therapists focus on a clients thoughts, feelings,
behaviors, body and dreams (Corey, 2009). In addition, the importance is on the integration of
the parts and how those parts connect with the environment (Corey, 2009). It is not overly
surprising to me that this aligns with my personal philosophy. I have always been a teacher that
looks at children holistically.
Many of the children and their parents whom I currently support have varying levels of
anxiety. Gestalt therapists believe that anxiety is created cognitively or through unsupported
breathing habits (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Anxiety is often the result of people futurizing, or not
remaining in the present leading to negative predictions, misinterpretations and irrational beliefs
(Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). I will likely use a combination of mindfulness-based cognitive
behaviour therapy to support children with anxiety.
The Process of Change and Resistance
The concept of resistance is very important in Gestalt therapy. This is not the traditional
psychoanalysts definition that resistance is reluctance to face painful truths about oneself, but
the idea that resistance is opposing the formation of a thought, feeling, impulse or need that is

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judged to be dangerous (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). Often these inhibited experiences are out of
our awareness (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). These feelings may be pushed out of awareness to
help prevent vulnerability, but the experience remains (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). This leads to
dichotomous relationships as the resistance protects the individuals self-regulation abilities. I
agree that there are many times when an individual is unaware of vulnerabilities that might be
impeding their abilities in the present. This is very evident in a couple of my single friends that
struggle with commitment.
Therapists determine individualized interventions based on how an individual resists
contact in therapy or how they resist change (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). The Gestalt theory of
change suggests that the more people attempt to be who or what we are not, the more we
remain the same (Corey, 2009). This paradoxical theory of change indicates that we change
when we become aware of what we are in contrast to trying to become what we are not (Corey,
2009). Gestalt therapists stress that clients be who and what they are instead of striving to
become what they should be (Corey, 2009).
Gestalt therapists do not focus on the therapist as a teacher, but rather as a facilitator for
the clients own self-discovery and learning (Corey, 2009). My views slightly differ from the
Gestalt standpoint in that I feel that people can engage in self-discovery and at times can also
benefit from the teaching of a therapist. Perhaps once a teacher, always a teacher. This is an
area where my personal counselling theory blends the emotional and experiential work of
Gestalt therapy with many of the concepts and techniques of cognitive behaviour therapy.
Interventions
Gestalt therapists use active methods and personal engagement to increase the
freedom and self-direction of the individual (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). The Gestalt view is that
experiments help individuals gain greater self-awareness, experience internal conflicts, resolve
inconsistencies and dichotomies, and work through and impasse that is preventing completion
of unfinished business (Corey, 2009, p. 210). As previously stated, I do see value in many of

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the interventions used by Gestalt therapists. However, I also see value in many of the
techniques used in cognitive behaviour therapy and the other therapies and approaches that we
studied this term. I appreciate the directive approach of CBT as well as the non-directive
approach of Gestalt therapy and believe that integrating these two techniques may help
enhance the creation of a healthy counselling relationship as well as focus on specific change
for the client (Miller et al., 2011).
Defining and Recognizing Success
Gestalt therapists view growth in a three-stage sequence (Corey, 2009). It begins with
the process of discovery when individuals are able to reach new discoveries and realizations
about themselves, acquire a new way to approach or view an old situation or significant person.
The second stage is accommodation, when an individual begins to recognize that they have a
choice (Corey, 2009). This is followed by the third stage, assimilation where an individual learns
how to maximize their chances of having their needs met from their environment (Corey, 2009).
I agree with the process of defining and recognizing success and feel that this model empowers
an individual to be able to cope and deal with circumstances that are experienced in everyday
living.
Contextual Factors
The underlying philosophy and methodology of Gestalt therapy is that the principles
must always be adapted for each particular situation (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). As a result,
Gestalt therapy is appropriate for any population that the therapist understands and feels
comfortable supporting (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). An added benefit to Gestalt therapy is that
experiments can be tailored to fit the unique and diverse ways that an individual may perceive
or interpret their culture (Corey, 2009). However, there are limitations with using this method
with multicultural populations, particularly with individuals from cultures where they have been
culturally conditioned to remain emotionally reserved (Corey, 2009).

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Gestalt therapy has proven to be effective in treating a wide variety of psychological


disorders and can be applied to almost every setting imaginable (Corey, 2009; Yontef & Jacobs,
2011). This approach can be used with organizations, schools, groups, individuals and couples
counselling (Yontef & Jacobs, 2011). I appreciate the wide application of this approach and feel
that is one reason I am drawn to it as I feel school psychologists support a highly varied
population, work in a variety of contexts and is adaptable to a variety of interventions and
techniques.
Reflection
Weakness of My Personal Theory
It is difficult to ascertain the weaknesses of my personal theory of counselling when that
I am still in the process of developing my understanding. I feel that I would benefit from more
time and space from this introductory course to consolidate my learning and then evaluate its
weaknesses. I found this course mentally taxing and I am curious to see whether I will feel the
same after having some time to reflect. It makes me think of the Gestalt view of contact and
resistance to contact. I wonder if I was able to have time for both contact and withdrawal.
There were several weeks where I was extremely busy in my professional and personal life and
I found that I had a level of introjection and confluence to resist contact with this course on a
level that I have not yet experienced in this graduate program. I was very curious as this was
the course that I was the most excited about in the program. Thankfully, I was very aware of
this resistance and worked through it to finish the course and develop my personal counselling
theory. I hope that this resistance did not impact my ability to be fully engaged and present
when learning each of the presented theories. I could also criticize my theory as being too
focused on adults and not with the clientele of children that I will be supporting. Finally, I could
criticize my theory of counselling for relying too heavily on the Gestalt approach.
Why I am Drawn to this Approach

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One of the major reasons that I am drawn to the Gestalt approach is that it has a great
deal of heuristic value- it makes sense to me in both my life, and the lives I have come into
contact with in my personal and professional life. Another major reason that I am drawn to this
approach is that it seems to align well with my upbringing, family culture and the way I live my
life. My husband and I have frequently commented how many of our friends dwell on the past
or ruminate about the future whereas we tend to adapt and live in the present. This was also
evident in how I chose to deal with my fathers death when I was in my early twenties. I was
resolute that I did not want to burry or avoid my emotions, be a victim or end up unraveling with
unresolved emotions in a midlife crisis. I wanted to deal with them in the here-and-now, and I
did. Thankfully, I consider myself well adjusted and I live a full and happy life. I do not deny or
stifle my feelings to this day. I am currently working on the practice of mindfulness to eventually
incorporate within my teaching practice.
Conclusion
School psychologists have always been involved with the welfare of children and
adolescents (Plotts & Lasser, 2013). Although, counselling has never been the primary focus of
the profession, it is often integrated into their broader role (Plotss & Lasser). For a school
psychologist, counselling encompasses interventions used to support and improve the social,
emotional and behavioural functioning of children and adolescents (Plotts & Lasser, 2013).
Todays school psychologists are also expected to provide counselling services within the
framework of response to intervention (Plotts & Lasser, 2013).
As a school psychologist, I will need to develop counseling and therapeutic skills to
support children and their families effectively. This is an area that I am interested in exploring
further, with the possibility of applying to be a registered clinical counsellor. In the meantime,
my current theory of counselling will help guide and inform my practice. For example, I will
continue to see children as whole beings in the context of their environment and to believe that
humans are capable of growth and healing when provided interpersonal contact and insight. In

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addition, I will strive to create genuine open relationships with children and parents, teachers
and colleagues. Finally, I will continue to live by Leo Buscalglias words to create joy for others,
share what I have for the betterment of personkind, and bring hope to the lost and love to the
lonely.

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References
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Current psychotherapies (9th ed., pp. 276-309). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.
Buscaglia, L. (1985). Living, loving and learning. Ballantine Books.
Carmer, J. C., & Rouzer, D.L. (1974). Healthy functioning from the gestalt perspective. The
Counseling Psychologist, 4.4, 20-23.
Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. O. (2011). Psychology: a journey (4th ed.). Belmont: Cengage.
Corey, G. (2009). Theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy (8th ed.). Belmont, CA:
Thomson Brooks/Cole.
Miller, A.M., Sward, J.M., Nielsen, R. C., & Robertson, S. N. (2011). Theoretical integration of
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Murdock, N. L. (1991). Case conceptualization: Applying theory to individuals. Counselor
Education & Supervision, 30, 355-365.
Plotts, C. A., & Lasser, J. (2013). The School Psychologist as Counselor: A Practitioners
Handbook. Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.
Tolle, E. (2005). A new earth: Awakening to your life's purpose. New York, N.Y: Dutton/Penguin
Group.
Yontef, G., & Jacobs, L. (2011). Gestalt therapy. In R. J. Corsini, & D. Wedding (Eds.), Current
psychotherapies (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.

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