Psychological counseling has become an integral part of the modern psychoanalytic theory and practice. As the level of everyday stress experienced by people is continuously increasing, the modern society suffers from a vital need of new flexible counseling theories. The demand on new counseling theories should be interpreted throughout the fact that humanity has faced an epoch that can be defined all through addiction and dependence.
The offered theory of counseling is based on the ground of the reality therapy, also known as choice therapy. In addition, the given counseling model is combined with rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Altogether, these three compounds form a unique personal theory of counseling that is completely adequate in terms of comprehending contemporary relationships, values and providing appropriate psychological guidance for clients requiring addiction counseling. The forenamed theory is further referred as Jeff’s Theory.
Jeff’s theory distinguishes the client’s roots concerns from the stated concerns by means of identifying which of the basic needs remains unsatisfied and therefore stimulates the client’s frustration and sometimes depression. The client may be “depressing, headaching, anxietying, and angering” himself or herself with addictions due to the discrepancy of the expectations and the encountered reality (Corey, 2012, p. 318). According to Jeff’s theory, competent counseling should be perseveringly based on the keen ability of a professional counselor to clearly identify the roots of client concerns. The forenamed theory motivates the clients to connect to other people and to build healthy successful communications and relationships. The author believes that suggesting effective methods of taking control over one’s thinking and behavior patterns depends on the reasons affecting the individual’s choice of certain behaviors. Very often the client perceives the genuine nature of the problems in his personal reality as the result of the psychotic behavior of other people. As the client fails to solve his problems and therefore satisfy his needs he feels discontent with him/herself. Reality theory uses five human genetically encoded needs, which are survival, love and belonging, power and achievement, freedom and independence, and fun (Corey, 2012, p. 317). Jeff’s theory states that these genetic needs are to be perceived as the driving forces for the individual’s overall satisfaction with present life. The theorist believes that the first step towards providing efficient counseling is obtaining more data concerning the client. Jeff’s theory suggests building up an order of priority for all of the encoded needs. The author’s addiction counseling model reveals the message the client wants to deliver with his/her destructive behavior. Consequently, this conduct is to be substituted by a corresponding effective method of prompt message delivery throughout changes in behavior. Jeff’s theory strives for concentrating on the present of the client and showing him or her that suffering is their choice and responsibility. The client is to voice the message he or she wants to share with the people and what behavioral responses she or she wants to obtain. Besides, the counselor may offer a list of provocative situations and ask the client to offer his/her potential behavioral and emotional reaction to them. This would reveal the client’s unique quality world- the vision of specific people, values, and events that either fulfill the encoded needs or leave them unsatisfied (Wubbolding, Brickell, Burdenski, & Robey, 2012, p.22).
The vast majority of the clients attending addiction counseling are forced to do so by either court or family. Therefore, these clients are expected to change their addictive and self-destructive behavior. The first factor affecting the potential changes is the counselor’s ability to connect with the client. This aspect is to be achieved by all possible means as it is the key for successful therapy of addiction. Jeff’s theory implies the application of the WDEP system of questions to promote further changes in the client’s addictive behavior (Wubbolding, 2000, p.35). The W (wants) identifies the client’s vision of what he/she wants to be and do in life: What do you want to be and do?. The D (doing and direction) considers what the client is doing in the present and where is the desired destination: What are you doing? Where do you want to go?. The E (evaluation) assesses the manifested behavior as tool to achieve the client’s needs : Is you present behavior capable of getting you what you want?. The P (planning) specifies the most suitable plan of changes to a given client. The forenamed planning stage is to be conducted under the SAMIC principles. This implies that plan has to fit the individual in terms of being S – simple, A – attainable, M – measurable, I – immediate/ involved, and C – controlled (Wubbolding, 2000, p.84). The theorist believes that the client has to clearly understand the plan and the plain is to reflect the client’s capacities. Changes are to be observable and have a positive impact on the individual’s addictive behavior patterns. It implies the client’s analysis of what he/she can actively do in the present to change the situation. The author believes that the client needs to learn how to depend on himself only in the regular realization of the chosen plan. Jeff’s theory reinforces the role of the counselor’s personality as an assistant in the client’s plan of changes. It is hard to underestimate the function of the counselor personality in terms of addiction counseling as the theory views the counselor relationship with the client as a teacher-student system of interactions (Corey, 2012, p. 321). The author’s believes that the theory presented above reflects the human ability to change and step on the path of continuous self-improvement. In accordance with Jeff’s theory every given individual possesses the capacity to change the emotive, cognitive and behavioral processes within him/her own self.
The theorists personal experience has led to a profound understanding of the unacceptability of imposing new philosophy to the clients consciousness. Jeff’s theory states that the counselor is to be a wise teacher who gives the student the correct direction but never does the job instead of the student. The author sees the client’s personal involvement as a major background for potential changes in the behavior. As Jeff’s theory requires the counselor to be gentle but firm in his confrontation of the client’s false beliefs it compares the process of counseling to healing. The authors sees the counselor as benevolent teacher who assists his students in getting sight of their mistakes without blaming them or provoking guilt-based emotions. The theory characterizes the counselor as a person who succeeds in neither getting extremely close to the client nor appearing to be very distant. Getting extremely close implies the danger of “sharing” the responsibility with the client instead of helping him to take the responsibility for his behavior. Being very distant may result in the client’s perception of the formal character of the counseling process which may minimize his/her personal involvement. According to Jeff’s theory the therapist is supposed to direct the client but not deliver formulated advice taking one-down position in relation to the client. In other words, the counselor by all means is to avoid the position of being an expert and let the client become the only expert able to understand and solve the existing problems. The author believes that effective counseling is possible only under the condition of the counselor being understanding, respectful, congruent, and accepting. A professional therapist will always be challenged by the client and therefore should be psychologically ready for such confrontation. Once the theorist gets intimidated by the client – the process of counseling becomes uncontrollable and therefore dangerous for the client.
The author believes that using humor, suspending judgments, and truly listening to the client is the most appropriate therapeutic conduct in terms of addiction therapy. Jeff’s theory holds to a therapeutic alliance with the clients which is based on the principles of an atmosphere with no place for attacks or criticism. Along with that, the counselor is to respect the cultural values manifested by the client. The correlation of the clients culture and the values of the dominant group is the major source for understanding precisely what behavior needs to be changed. Nevertheless, such correlation is to be generated by the client himself. Jeff’s theory is primarily focused on Americans with a tendency to perform addictive behavior. Nevertheless, it can be referred as a multicultural theory for addiction counseling. The multiculturalism of Jeff’s theory is revealed through its dedication to studying the ways of communication of clients belonging to various cultures, and Western cultures in the first place. Cultural differences stimulate the counselor to adapt the therapeutic process and speech expressions to a given client to ensure the connection. The therapist may become “softer” or “harder” depending on the cultural origin of the client and get a clear picture of the client’s values throughout properly listening. In other words, a professional counselor is flexible in adopting his techniques to each given client starting from changing the formulation of the questions and ending with elimination of those aspects that may be intimidating for the client.
Carl Rogers’ center-oriented therapy and Alfred Adler’s individual psychology have significantly affected the author’s innovative counseling patterns revealed through the application of the principle of humanistic counseling. According to Carl Rogers realist therapy is the “necessary and sufficient conditions to change…” (Wubbolding, 2000, p.169). The policy of acceptance and non-judgment is the cornerstone of humanistic psychology introduced by Rogers and the essence of Jeff’s theory. In order to change and feel happy an individual is to achieve self-actualization which is impossible with unhealthy maladaptive behavior patterns. Adlerian therapy in its turn affected the author’s understanding of the client responsibility in the present for the faced life situation and the ability to create his/her own destiny by setting appropriate goals (Corey, 2012, p. 11). Both of the theories have had a tremendous impact on the author’s perception of the counseling process. As a result, Jeff’s theory is the conjunction of three elements: reality therapy, rational emotive behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Reality Therapy, introduced by William Glassner in 1960’s has managed to create a new viewpoint in terms of author’s psychotherapeutic preferences (Lennon, 2010, p.17). Glassner emphasizes the fact that the essence of making changes is recognizing the necessary to act in a relationship and not be a suffering victim of the action of other people (Glasser, 2001, p.1).
Besides Glassner’s traditional view on counseling, Jeff’s theory introduces highly didactic elements stimulating the change in the client’s thinking and judging framework. The theorist believes that counseling is a process of replacing inoperative thinking patterns by rational knowledge, consequently leading to analogous rational behavior modifications. Jeff’s theory is focused on the individual’s present (reality), individual’s needs (responsibility), and the choices for further development (the rights-and-wrongs) (Corey, 2012, p. 317). Rational emotive behavioral therapy adds to Jeff’s theory by revealing the client’s necessity to stop absolutistic thinking, blaming, and repeating false beliefs. It also implements the A-B-C theory of personality according to which false beliefs throughout intervention and disputing are transformed into a new effective philosophy helping the client to avoid self-defeating conduct (Wubbolding, 2000, p.32). Cognitive behavioral therapy introduces the cognitive premise of the client’s addictive behavior as it provides an action-oriented approach to a certain problem. General psychological practice has established that healthy communication is the key to a successful relationship and positive self-evaluation (Lennon, 2010, p.21).
The author’s personal experience has revealed that having one significant person is an integral element of efficient personal development. The theorist believes that each individual is a carrier of the emotional and behavioral standards which were initially adopted from the behavioral scheme engaged by parents or other significant family members. Such an imprint strongly affects each sphere of individual’s interpersonal functioning: relationships with family members, relationship with peers, relationship with colleagues, and naturally, the relationships with the opposite sex. The inability of a man to control his/her thinking and thinking-induced emotions often results in the choice of living a life in unsatisfying relationships (Wubbolding, et. al., 2012, p.25). According to the theorist’s standpoint, the didactic elements of the theory are implemented through converting the process of counseling into a sort of educational process. The primary goal of Jeff’s theory is to stimulate the manifestations of responsible behavior and therefore change the clients relationship and addiction paradigm. It offers new alternatives of managing frustration and pain experienced by the clients due to their inability to overcome their personal well-established behavioral mechanisms. The development of Jeff’s theory is seen through the prism of applying more stimulating components.
One examples of such components are Gendlin’s six steps with the choice theory car metaphor. Gendlin’s six steps integrate the following actions into Jeff’s theory: clear a space, get a felt sense, find a handle, resonate and check, ask, and receive (Burdenski & Wubbolding, 2011, p. 22). Clearing a space implies creating a new quiet space inside one head that would be free from the old opinions and thoughts. Getting a felt sense requires asking only open-ended questions like: “What is the feel of the whole problem?”. Finding a handle involve finding an images, a word, a phrase to reveal one’s feelings about the situation. For instance: “It’s like macaroni and cheese—it‘s comforting”. Resonating and checking deals with finding new images to match the felt sense. Asking ensures that the open-ended questions are not limited to the “yes” or “no” answer, for instance: “And what was so disappointing about that moment?”. Receiving implies aiming the client to become open to more clear spaces in his cognition that can subsequently be filled with efficient thinking and behavior (Burdenski & Wubbolding, 2011, p. 23). The author believes that introducing seven caring habits, each one at a time, to the client’s cognition has the potential of truly changing his behaviour. The client is to learn how to be supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting, and negotiating differences instead of having the habit of constantly criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and rewarding to control.
The positive effect of the therapy is to result in the establishment of the therapeutic alliance and the client’s ability to use the WDEP system on his own. Jeff’s theory achieves positive results throughout the focus on the desired behavior along with the accent on the individual’s strengths. The absence of result is the primary indicator of the counselors inability to connect to the client and create an environment of a therapeutic alliance. The best observable result is the “new total behavior” manifested by the client (Glasser, 2001, p.120). Any positive change should be reinforced throughout including changed behavior into more spheres of individual’s life to make sure the client acquires the power of doing what is in his/her control to do. Like any other theory, Jeff’s theory has three basic limitations. The major limitation of the theory is that though it seems simple it requires much training to be properly implemented. Another limitation is that in certain situations psychological disorders may be viewed as behavioral choices. In addition, the danger of presenting a strong confrontational style and imposing the counselor’s rational thinking patterns. In spite of the aforementioned limitations, the theory may be an effective tool of performing addiction counseling.