Can a Humanistic Model of Counselling be Integrated with a Cognitive One

0 Comment

Humanistic counsellors focus on emotional elements such as love, social belonging and self-esteem development to provide effective treatment. This paper answers the question as to whether humanistic models of counselling can be integrated with cognitive approaches and find success in the process. Humanistic versus Cognitive Approaches Humanistic approaches deal with emotional elements associated with social principles and adjustment. Self-esteem development and reaching one’s fullest potential, in self-actualization, are the key dimensions of this approach. The elements that drive internal motivation is explored in humanistic counselling, many of which are family-oriented or lifestyle-related when blended with emotional responses in the patient. To be considered well-adjusted in this field of psychological study, one needs to look beyond the external environment and social conventions to find mental health and well-being. Cognitive approaches are similar, yet have different elements of thought for the counsellor. This field is interested in the mechanisms for how people come to their conclusions, believing that emotions can be studied scientifically (Morris amp. Maisto, 2005). These counsellors have a more optimistic view that patient values and beliefs can be tested against reality to view the self and the external environment more positively (Leahy, 2009). Learning, intelligence and emotional responses are often measured in this counselling field to change or modify negative behaviours. Carl Rogers’ View of People Carl Rogers is a predominant psychologist in humanistic theory. He believes that individuals are all born with a certain inherent set of capacities, with a tendency to match self-concept with inborn biological realities of thought and behaviour. Rogers is a strong supporter of a nurturing environment as well, believing that unconditional positive regard is necessary for development of mental health and positive self-regard. For instance, love stemming from caregivers creates a more well-adjusted youth based on warmth and affection. Rogers believes that most people have considerable potential to become fully-functioning so long as the quality of relationships in their lives are satisfactory and rewarding. His belief is that maladjusted behaviours or attitudes are created by certain dependencies within the social network that create distortions in logic and thinking style, with many of these based on social experiences. Rogers believes that situations that can help a patient change these distortions is to re-enact situations from the past to identify where these distorted concepts of self and the social environment began. His idea is to build an empathic relationship with the counsellor to help them identify more fluid and mature styles of thinking. Under Rogers’ view, a humanistic counsellor will help people to steer away from defensive behaviours that might have been created in the social environment in their past experience. A type of perceptive defence against allowing troubling stimulus to enter the conscious mind plagues the patient with mental health crises (Rogers, 2002) and therefore a subception begins to block these negative feelings from burdening their lives and relationships. He believes that getting others to trust individuals in their social