• Application: Differentiation of How Problems Arise and People Change from Three Theories—Person-Centered, Cognitive-Behavioral, and Psychodynamic

As you learned from the resources this week, person-centered theory focuses on client’s strengths and self-determination, and client-focused resolutions of developmental challenges that he or she may face. This means that the foremost considerations for the psychologist working within the person-centered framework is how well the client is functioning (rather than solely looking at the problems a client is having), the disparity between who the client feels he or she is (the real) and who the client wishes he or she were (the ideal), as well as the need for all humans to experience “unconditional positive regard.”

Is this Application Assignment, you consider person-centered, psychodynamic, and cognitive-behavioral theories in terms of how clients’ problems arise and how clients change. After reviewing the basic tenets and beliefs of these theories, you analyze the differences between them with respect to these two areas—problem causation and resolution. You also reflect on how studying person-centered theory has influenced your own evolving theoretical orientation.

To prepare for this assignment:

  • Review, if necessary, and then evaluate the basic tenets of person-centered theory.
  • Review the “Person-Centered Counseling” section on the course DVD, Counseling: Theories in Action. Pay particular attention to psychologist and client interactions.
  • Review prior weeks and assignments regarding psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral theories. Focus on how psychologists and clients interact.
  • Think about the similarities and differences between the three theories (person-centered, cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic) with respect to how client problems arise and how people change. Consider your own perspectives on these issues.

The assignment: (4–6 pages)

  • Briefly describe and evaluate two of the basic tenets of person-centered theory.
  • Compare (similarities and differences) among person-centered, cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic theories with respect to how client problems arise and how people change.
  • Analyze this information with respect to your beliefs about how problems arise and how people change. Explain the affect that person-centered theory has had on your own theoretical orientation.
  • Outline your thoughts on how your theoretical orientation has evolved and identify which of the three theories (person-centered, cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic) best resonates with you and why.

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