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Theories In Counseling Case Study

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Theories in counseling

Professional counselors use a variety of theories in their job and there are many theories that they can choose from. The physiotherapist theories offer a framework for the professional’s counselors to interpret the conduct of their clients, thoughts and feelings and assist them in navigating the client’s journey from diagnosis to after-treatment. This paper will discuss to theories and choose the best of the best out of the discussed theories based on their application.

Case Study Number 4 – Sabrina

Theory one – Person Centered Therapy.

  1. Definition.

This counseling theory is centered on the patient as the one who should be made aware of their ability to be their own personal doctor. It was created in 1950 by Carl Rogers, a psychologist. He stated that human beings have an innate ability to develop themselves to their optimal potential. However, this ability can be prevented by certain life experiences especially those that affect a person’s sense of self value (Lotzke, et al., 2019).

The therapist therefore explores the patient from their standpoint and then seeks to view the client on a positive light in all aspects but still remain open and genuine to the client in their interactions. This helps the client to feel appreciated and accepted hence they get better at understanding their feelings (Rudnick & Roe, 2018). This leads to the patient been able to self-actualize and realize their self-worth, therefore enabling them to find their own way of positively moving forward.

  • Counselor-Client Relationship

In person centered therapy, the counselor must fulfill these three conditions so as to be able to get the best response from the patient: –

  •  He/she must be totally genuine.
  • He/she endeavor to grasp and understand the patient’s experience.
  • He/she must remain positive and non-judgmental throughout the therapy (Yun & Choi, 2019).

This approach helps the patient to achieve the following: –

  • To reconcile between the ideal idea of themselves and their actual selves.
  • To get to better understand themselves and be more aware of their self-capabilities.
  •  To drop their sense of insecurity, guilty and defensiveness as well as be able to trust them better.
  • Be able to express them better (Stange, MacNamara, Kennedy, Hajcak, Phan, & Klumpp, 2017).
  • Application Of The Theory To The Case

In this case, the client, Sabrina is having issues of low self-esteem, low self-drive, sense of worthlessness and dejection. By listening to her story, especially seeking to understand the reasons why her boyfriend left her, her relationship with her mother, the counselor can establish the cause of her negative feelings towards herself (Rowe, 2017).

Once the cause of her negative attitude is established, the counselor can proceed and create a sense of positive on Sabrina. He/she can help her reconcile the idealized version of herself with the actual version (Du Toit, Shen, & McGrath, 2019). This can be achieved by asking about how she visualized her life to be in future before the breakup with her boyfriend and other events led to her negative attitude. He/she can then help her create her reconciliation of that idealized version with the current version that is full of negativity (Kim & Park, 2019).

Next the counselor can help her become aware and her self-worth. By reminiscing with her about her past when things were positive, she can start to see her self-worth and begin looking at herself in a positive light (Kim & Park, 2019).  This will lead to her looking at her situation with optimism hence make her more expressive and forward looking.


If this theory is applied correctly and is complimented with another theory, it can result in a positive outcome for Sabrina. However, the counselor needs to be understanding, non-judgmental and accommodative of her issues in order to successfully guide her towards establishing her self-worth and been able to fully express herself and have a positive outlook at her life (Kim & Park, 2019).

Theory Two – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

  1. Definition.

This is a therapy technique that helps people with various mental disorders to look for new ways of behaving and improving their mental positivity by changing their thinking patterns. It focuses on how someone’s thoughts, attitudes and beliefs can affect the way they behave and their feelings (Dobson & Dobson, 2019).

Developed and adopted in the 1940’s, it is very helpful to people to overcome stress, deal with complicated relationships, overcome grief and other challenges. it works on the premise that how we think and interpret life’s events affects how we behave and ultimately how we feel. Since it focuses on the individual’s present-day challenges, thoughts and behaviors, it calls for them to be actively involved in its process (Hayes & Hofmann, 2017).

  • Therapy process.

During CBT sessions, the counselor goes further than just developing a therapeutic relationship with the patient. A good and trusting relationship between the client and therapist is very important; CBT believes that real change comes from the client learning how to change their thinking process in order to rationalize their attitudes and personalities. Therapists therefore focus on teaching their clients on gaining the ability to self-counsel (Carpenter, Andrews, & Witcraft, 2019).

The therapist gets as much information from the client about what they want out of life, their goals and aspirations. They then teach them on how to achieve those goals. The interaction between the therapist and the client is that of one party listening, teaching and encouraging while the other party expresses their concerns, learns and actualizes (Stange, MacNamara, Kennedy, Hajcak, Phan, & Klumpp, 2017).    

Elements of Cognitive Behavioral Theory

During CBT sessions, the patient will be able to learn the following: –

  • He/she will be able to identify a problem affecting them more clearly and be more aware of thoughts that are triggered automatically.
  • Be able to dig deeper and critique assumptions that are not necessarily right and to differentiate between the truth and thoughts that are irrational.
  • Get to know how past experiences have an impact on present feelings/beliefs and a different vantage point with which to view situations.
  • Be able to better understand the motivations and rationale behind other people’s actions and be more positive in their thinking and in recognizing their emotions.
  • Stop taking generalized, all or nothing view of situations by confronting their fears instead of hiding from them (Carpenter, Andrews, & Witcraft, 2019).
  • Define and describe themselves and others with more clarity instead of judging.
  • Application.

In the case of Sabrina, she seems withdrawn and aloof. Her demeanor, low moods, low motivation, sense of feeling empty and distant are traits of someone who is suffering from lack of personal drive and motivation to continue with her life. She seems to have been greatly affected by the breakup with her boyfriend, something she don’t seem to understand because she was in the same situation before and easily came out of it (Carpenter, Andrews, & Witcraft, 2019). There are no legal or ethical issues involved since it is a case of emotional withdrawal triggered by events that are social in nature. 

The first step towards having successful therapy is establishing the clients trust and confidence. Assuring the client that they can trust you with any information they share with you and that it is protected by law is very important.

After establishing rapport with the patient, the therapist can then start by probing areas of Sabrina’s life which seems to have triggered her nonchalant behavior, leading her to drop her ambitions and goals.  Asking her about her relationship with her mother and her boyfriend can help the therapists to identify where the problem originated from so as to know how to proceed with the therapy (Stange, MacNamara, Kennedy, Hajcak, Phan, & Klumpp, 2017).

After discovering where her aloof demeanor is coming from, the therapist can now concentrate on teaching her on how to cope with her low self-esteem. He/she teach her how to handle the negative thoughts of worthlessness, self-hate, not been appreciated and life been pointless by: –

–        Making her understand that it wasn’t her fault for her boyfriend to leave her by making her see her self-worth, how she was more worth in the relationship than she thinks.

–        Get her to see the positive side of the end to that relationship. How she can now concentrate on other things that can bring more value to her life.

–        Guide her to start thinking positively about her life going forward and how to stop relating every situation she is facing with past disappointments.

–        Make her understand that been positive and optimistic in her activities will bring about positive lifestyle and relationships with the society which will work towards improving her life (Kim & Park, 2019).

4. Outcome.

If the therapy goes on well, a positive outcome is very likely. First, she needs to be made to realize her self-worth, be made to feel like she is a part of the world and she is needed. Ten she needs to understand that positive interactions with the society are the only way to bring back positivity to her life and become optimistic. Once she is able to understand this, she can change her attitude and outlook at life and get drive and self-actualization. She can start answering questions the right way (Carpenter, Andrews, & Witcraft, 2019).

The therapy can take around 20 sessions but can be extended shortly if need be so as to achieve the desirable outcome.

Theory with the best outcome

In order to get the best outcome in this case, the counselor needs to apply Cognitive Behavioral Theory. This theory will result in guiding the patient to self-actualize and realize a positive attitude while the other theory will involve the counselor’s adding areas of therapy that he/she feels the patient may not have achieved through the person-centered theory (Carpenter, Andrews, & Witcraft, 2019).  Therefore, an application of Cognitive Behavioral Theory will result in most areas of therapy been covered to the betterment of the patient.


As discussed in this paper, theoretical approaches are a vital and integral part of the therapeutic progression. There are various methods that a psychoanalyst can apply why offering counseling services. The theories discussed give a deeper understanding of these counseling methods and hence should be applied in the psychodynamic perspective.


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Dobson, D., & Dobson, K. S. (2019). Evidence-based practice of cognitive-behavioral therapy. London: Guilford Publications.

Du Toit, S., Shen, X., & McGrath, M. (2019). Meaningful engagement and person-centered residential dementia care: A critical interpretive synthesis. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 26(5), 343-355.

Hayes, S., & Hofmann, G. S. (2017). The third wave of cognitive behavioral therapy and the rise of process‐based care. World Psychiatry, 16(3), 245.

Kim, S. K., & Park, M. (2019). Effectiveness of person-centered care on people with dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical interventions in aging, 12(4), 381.

Lotzke, H., Brisby, H., Gutke, A., Hägg, O., Jakobsson, M., Smeets, R., et al. (2019). A Person-Centered Prehabilitation Program Based on Cognitive-Behavioral Physical Therapy for Patients Scheduled for Lumbar Fusion Surgery. A Randomized Controlled Trial. Physical Therapy, 78(5), 69-88.

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Rudnick, A., & Roe, D. (2018). Serious mental illness: Person-centered approaches (Vol. 1). Florida: CRC Press.

Stange, J., MacNamara, A., Kennedy, A., Hajcak, G., Phan, K. L., & Klumpp, H. (2017). Brain-behavioral adaptability predicts response to cognitive behavioral therapy for emotional disorders: A person-centered event-related potential study. Neuropsychologia, 88(6), 132-145.

Yun, D., & Choi, J. (2019). Person-centered rehabilitation care and outcomes: A systematic literature review. International journal of nursing studies, 93(14), 74-83.

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