The psychological problems of the client, Yisel revolve around her choice of career, and are rooted in the fact that she is trying hard to live and make decisions according to the expectations of her parents as she fears disappointing them. Yisel is incongruent because there is a very slight overlap between her ideal self and her real self. With this being the case, it is very unlikely that she will achieve the state of self actualization. Seeking to conform to the needs and desires of her parents has consistently widens the gap between her real self and her ideal self to the extent that she has resorted to counseling. Because of the width of the gap between her real and ideal selves, Yisel is maladjusted and needs assistance. The actual problem facing Yisel is a situation where she wants to study and major in psychology while her parents want her to study medicine – a discipline in which she is likely to fail as she is a poor science student.
The nature of the issues is complex because, what started as a decision making problem has led to various compounded problems. The problems are psychological in nature, and are all contributing to her current incongruent state. Foremost, Yisel is torn between pursuing her career of choice – psychology – or her parents’ choice – medicine. Secondly, the first problem has degenerated into other problems, namely drug abuse and sleep problems. Speaking of drugs, Yisel smokes marijuana on a daily basis so as to feel relieved from her psychological tortures. The sleep problem is further associated with nightmares, both straightforward and complicated ones. For instance, Yisel dream of failure at the business school. This is a straightforward problem because she is poor in science subjects. She lacks motivation, as she does not have the passion to do medicine. Her mind is currently preoccupied with the thoughts of disappointing her parents and the impending failure in the event that she joins medicine school.
The distance between the ideal and the real selves of Yisel is widened by the fact that she does not have the capacity to pursue medicine as her science grades are wanting. It is a battle of her expectations versus her parents’ expectations. The potential origin of the problems that Yisel is going through can be traced from her biographical information. Apparently, her parents, upon immigrating to Minnesota were disoriented and frustrated by the fact that they could not secure decent jobs despite having learnt in Mexican colleges. Their inability to secure decent jobs, which is associated with the language barrier, seems to be the core of the problem because they sought to achieve greater things through their children. From the family story of the case study, the parents hoped their first born daughter could live to be a doctor, something that did not happen. As such, they turned the dream to Yisel, who is not willing to pursue medicine because of her poor performance in sciences and her lack of motivation. Among her coping strategies are such activities as running, cooking and meeting friends as ways of keeping the psychological trouble on the low.
Discussion of Yisel’s Relevant Demographic and Biographical Information
In person centered therapy, the focus is usually more on the client and not the problem. When Carl Rodgers gave this presumption in the year 1940, what he meant is that the therapist should focus more on empowering the client to cope with future challenges than to help them solve the problem (Corey, 2009). While this is the case, it makes sense that the therapist should endeavor to understand the client to an extent that he can effortlessly describe them, using both their biographical information and the psychological needs. For the purposes of this paper, the person or client to be described is known as Yisel. Yisel is a Mexican American girl aged 21. She is a child in a family of four children and two married parents. Her parents immigrated into Minnesota from Mexico in the year 1980. Just like her two brothers, Yisel was born in Chicago while her elder sister was born in Mexico. Yisel is an excellent student when it comes to courses associated with psychology. On the contrary, she is very poor in courses associated with science. For this reason, she is not willing to pursue medicine, which is her parents’ implicit choice. She takes utmost pleasure in helping others – for instance, her favorite moments of the week are the times she spends tutoring struggling high school students.
The Treatment Plan for Yisel
The main problem presented by the customer is a wide gap between her real self and her ideal self. The gap exists because she wants to live according to the wishes of her parents, i.e. to study medicine, which is certain that she will not perform well in, given that she is poor in sciences. The second presenting problem is drug use. The third one is sleep problems and nightmares. Ultimately, Yisel is headed towards potential depression. The etiology of the problems is the decision to select from the two options, and the potential consequences.
Goals of the Therapy
The goals of the treatment plan are both long term and interim. The long term goals are the overall and core aims of the therapy (Greer, 2013). On the other hand, the interim goals are the immediate or short term goals, which ought to be attained within the first few days. The interim goals are to help: eliminate the marijuana problem, eliminate the sleep problem, establish career direction, and establish congruency. On the other hand, the overall or long term goals of the therapy are to help Yisel: report fewer incidences of nightmares, acquire motivation, gain focus, eliminate maladjustment and gain satisfaction. For example, during the interactive sessions, I would ask her to narrate to me her daily dreams. This would make it an interesting session and this would encourage the development of an open relationship where we could interact in such a way that Yisel will be in a position to develop and grow.
The Methods and Approaches
In seeking to remedy the problem, I will adopt a multifaceted approach which will embrace psychotherapy and planning of the positive coping strategies. This will mean that I will meet Yisel three times in a week, for counseling and assessment of personal development and growth in the capacity to deal with similar situations in the future. For example, I will ensure that Yisel is equipped with the right skills to effectively counsel a friend in the same dilemma in the future. During the sessions I plan to employ four techniques namely: active listening, reflection on feeling, appropriate disclosure and personal development evaluation. For example, reflection on feelings is an approach I can adequately apply together with such tools as the Johari widow. This way, I will be in a position to determine whether or not Yisel has changed her attitudes. In furtherance of the coping strategies, I will help Yisel come up with a program which will see her: having evening runs three times a week, cooking twice in a day, spending social moments with friends for at least two hours a day, assisting the high school students with studies thrice a week, and attending reflective sessions with me twice in a week.
The NOT technique oriented approach is no doubt the most effectual strategy as it focuses on contextual solving of problems (Corey, 2009). This approach is a one shoe fits all kind of strategy as it is can be used in practically all situations. This approach is quite flexible, and has hardly any negatives. I can employ self disclosure technique in assisting Yisel find a solution by herself through revealing that which is troubling her. The appropriate self disclosure is exceptionally effective as it allows the counselor to establish the point of beginning the administration of the therapy. However, the effectiveness of this approach will greatly depend on my potential to build an environment of trust.
While this is the case, I will have to be exceptionally careful in creating a good first impression and a subsequent growth promoting environment such that Yisel reveals her inner desires. This strategy is applicable where the information available about the client is insufficient and the counselor needs to know more in order to find a starting point. For example, the first moment I will share with Yisel will be one where I will have to act as the most caring and understating person. I will try to create a friendly environment in such a manner that she will freely open up. I will make her see that there is nothing difficult about her medicine-psychology dilemma. Active listening is another primary tactic that I can include in the plan. Apparently, this technique is quite superficial as it does not tend to assist the client establish congruence. It is rather concerned with apathy, which does not work in all situations.
I estimate that after a fortnight, all the interim goals will have been accomplished. This is because Yisel’s mind will have stabilized from the confusion, and found better things to take refuge in rather than to smoke marijuana. Achieving the long term goals will require a longer period, probably two months. Worth noting is the actuality that the success or otherwise of the long term goals depends on the strength of the relationship between Yisel and I.
Roles of the counselor
My roles as a counselor can be categorized into three: remedial role, the preventive role and the educational role. In assisting Yisel, I will be expected to play all the three roles effectively. With regard to the remedial role, I will employ all potent tactics to help Yisel fix the incongruent state. For example, I will encourage her to engage more in her coping strategy activities such as running, cooking and helping the high school students. This will help her achieve the short term therapeutic goals such as quitting marijuana. This will as well contribute to attaining long term goals. for instance, maximizing the pleasure of helping high school students will reveal to her that she is more suited for the helping profession – psychology and counseling, rather than medicine. Prevention is concerned with anticipating and barring from happening. For example, I will help Yisel not fall into such problems as severe depression, which is associated with suicidal tendencies. Ultimately, the educational role is the most important in PCT because it empowers the client and makes it possible for such a client to handle such difficult situations in the future. For example I will educate Yisel on the various ways to deal with incongruent states. I will educate her on how to cope with such situations through equipping her with the necessary skills for the same.
I will as well be required to handle Yisel with unconditional positive regard (UPR). This means that I should see Yisel as a human being, foremost, and not along the prejudices such as race and so on, and that I should accept and care for her unconditionally (Greer, 2013). Additionally, I ought to create a permissive growth promoting environment, through an empathic, accommodative and understanding mood, such that Yisel feels at home and appreciated. My role, as a counselor is remarkably helpful as it will assist Yisel, grow and learn to cope with problems in addition to having solved the current one.
At the end of the session with Yisel, I anticipate the achievement of various things and goals. For example, I expect to have disclosed the root cause of the problem. Secondly, I will have disclosed the way forward for Yisel i.e. how she will address the issue with her parents without causing further problems. By the end of the sessions, Yisel should have grown and developed in such a manner that she can handle such problems without resorting to such negative ways as marijuana smoking and so on. I will also have learnt the various ways of handling clients with career related problem because this is the core of Yisel’s predicament. The lessons learnt from this case will definitely help grow and develop newer skills in management of similar cases.
Strengths and weaknesses of My Conceptualization and Treatment Plan
Foremost, my conceptualization and treatment plan are strong as they foster a therapeutic relationship between the client and I. this is so because in PCT, the client opens up to the counselor, who is, in essence the role model to a human being struggling with psychological issues (Greer, 2013). Secondly, my approach promotes client responsibility. This is quite obvious, especially considering that PCT is concerned with the counselor helping the client find a solution within them (Corey, 2009). My conceptualization addresses all aspects of the problem. In straightforward terms, it addresses the problem itself, the etiology of such a problem, the potential strategies to solve it, as well as the relevance of each strategy in different contexts. The treatment plan’s strengths revolve around the fact that it is based on the activities that Yisel has found to be relieving. In other words, the foundation of the solutions is tested and proven, at least for the achievement of short term goals. Additionally, it will help Yisel find the long term solution to the issue and improve her potential to deal with such situations in the future. Additionally the treatment plan will allow the counselor carry out continuous evaluation of the client’s development.
Perhaps the most notable weakness of the plan is the actuality that it might take long for the final solution to be reached. Secondly, it overemphasizes the relationship between Yisel and I such that some aspects of the problem may end up being overlooked. Additionally, this approach will place too much responsibility on Yisel as I will only be acting as a guide. Worth mentioning also is the reality that this approach emphasizes the individualistic western concepts, which may not be appealing to all clients (Greer, 2013).
Corey, G. (2009). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy (9th Edition). Brooks/Cole Publishing Company: Pacific Grove, CA.
Greer, C. (2013). Introduction to counseling psychology. Psychology 3511