Self actualiztion with Abraham.

Photo by Marcin Bogucki

Abraham Maslow and his approach for human existencialism is the last part of the Introduction to Humanistic and Existentialism approaches in Counselling and Psychotherapy. In this post I will summarize my last three posts to make it as simple as I can.

It is worth to be reminded of Maslow’s opinion about self-actualization where he believes what people need for personal growth and discovery in life is personal meaning, depending on what is worth and important for them. According to the characteristics for instance: ” They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty. Accept themselves and others for what they are. Spontaneous in thought and action” or self-actualization person behaviour. For example:

“Experiencing life like a child, with full absorption and concentration. Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths. Listening to your feelings in evaluating experiences instead of the voice of tradition, authority or the majority.”

Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” and his investment for education make a major contribution to work for teaching and classroom management. As a human, we need to strive for full potential and step by step retaliate ourself in our own life from basic existence, biological and physiological needs, from safety to love and belongs and from esteem, reputation to self-actualization.

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

Carl Rogers.

Personal development and growth during the journey of therapeutic approaches in humanistic and existentialism, as a person, have to be experienced and evaluated by our own self-awareness, find the locus of evaluation and constantly improve actualizing tendency to remember the condition of self-worth and organismic processes during human life.

A developing person has to remember about Rogers rationale where we know that we exist in the hierarchy of human needs and our growth by own experiences and awareness of own control self. Constantly looking and improving meaning and sense in life. Foster a good working relationship with ourself and others. The humanistic school believes when the therapist provides proper therapeutic processes, then the client can heal himself, in many issues without medication.

Personal growth lets us be at ease with ourself, more truly and more understanding and more aware. To be more responsible as a person who has their own choice, be in the here and now at present, no to live in the past and by going there and checking it out is primitive and by not staying in there, is key for peronsal growth.
Theories of counselling provide the therapist with a conceptual framework by which their work allows them to think systematically about human development and therapeutic processes.

Another value in human development is finding the sense in life according to existentialism approaches and from authors like Victor Frankl, who wrote the amazing book “Men search for meaning “, a book from experience in his life during which he has to stay in Nazi camps during the WII. He asks his comrade and himself what is the meaning of life, what is the purpose and the aim. Even though the experience casues irreperable damage because of the loss of his family, he does not lose the sense of the life as he knows by reflection and by the self-determination and the uniqueness of the human. We can find existentialism by many authors from the philosophical point of view Nietzsche, Soren Kierkegaard, Sartre or Buber to more phenomenological structures and close in time like Rollo May, Irvin Yalom, James Bugental. All that helps in the development by humanistic approaches, is that any human is unique and individual, we are born alone and will die alone. We come into the world for a particular reason and a purpose for living; To live in the here and now.

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.”

Carl Rogers

How we build a self esteem ?

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The Personal Development is a long process of human puzzling. Many different stages of our life create something new. It exists every time something important or useful occurs in rest of our being. In this post I will touch base on the Rogerian Theory and I will continue with the Introduction to Humanistic and Existentialism approaches.

According to Carl Rogers, the essence of personal growth is the “Self” where he believes the person changes during their life and creates their personality during their existence by experiences and self-concept (self-image, self-worth or self-esteem, and ideal self).
Since an individuals self-image is depicted as how we see ourself, we make an opinion about our body image or perceive ourself as wise or obtuse because we are influenced by parents, a member of family, friends, social media and other factors in the human environment. The self-image could be very important for another factor such as self-esteem and self-worth, where we find what we are thinking about ourself, and that this believing system aroused and formed in childhood, could stay indefinitely throughout adulthood. Next aspect of the Rogerian school is the ideal self, where we imagine who we would like to be, according to our ambitions and aims in life. The ideal self is not persistent, as the typical self-consistently changes and it depends on circumstances in life and could vary from person to person.

The emotional state as a core of self-concept can be individual and have personal meaning. It could possibly have happened personally at some stage, as it is projected as not what we want to see or how others see us. For instance, Johari Window exampled the deeper examination of own self and how others perceive us and how we see ourself.

According to Person-Centred Therapy (PCT), Rogerian believes that the individual and the unique experience of humans as letting them be the human and the expert on his life with the person perception. As stated before, when two people observe the same pigeon, they have two different experiences and two feelings. Two people look at the same object through the window and will have diffrent perceptions as well as spotting different objects in the same direction of view. Considering the growth and personal development, we cannot forget about self-awareness, where we have to ask ourself “Who am I?” and explore the power of the big “Why”?
An outstanding value in the process of developmet we hold is an initial core condition such as empathy, where we learn how to understand others more genuinely and adequately.
Unconditional positive regard is utilised in the therapeutic process and is not dependent on the client’s personality or behaviour. As theories of counselling provide the therapist with a conceptual framework, others will ask how and what way it can work and will allow those to think systematically about human development and the therapeutic process.

As a grown person, we accept others unconditionally without bias and prejudice. For instance, I still offer help no matter if someone is homeless or addicted. A typical example would be where the parent prefers where their children are calm and gentle and/or the congruence where we achieve self-awareness where the counsellor shows evidence of high-quality openess and the authentic person. Lastly, during demonstrations in a session of Person-Centred Therapy (PCT) by Carl Rogers with Gloria, she showed significant evidence of how we can develop during a psychotherapy session using only one kind of therapy;

“I feel more comfortable the way you are talking to me in a low voice, and I don’t feel you will be so harsh on me.”


I hope you find this piece to your satisfaction.

See you soon in next post.

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The Importance of Student’s self-care in counselling room.

Photo by Marcin Bogucki

We have a beautiful day, and everything seems to be perfect today.
Few more sessions and we start the weekend. But what if we are getting tired and our mood becomes low? The condition dramatically will change.
Sounds a bit like we are in disbelief but it is possible. A few aspects have to taken into consideration.

When you feel flat, your last session was overwhelming, and we have a few more appointments, it is not easy to cancel the meeting and go home. The level of concentration decreases. Especially in present circumstances of COVID 19.

It is worth to remember that we have to keep ourself in excellent condition and care about our well-being. If we are in a bad mood, it is difficult to operate during the session. Typically if you are ready to make some mistakes today, then the level of empathy and UPR(unconditional positive regard) changes. It is not enough to be pleasant for the client. The person with who we are in the psychological relationship will know that there is something wrong.

I would like to suggest 5 books related to self care in counselling practice.

  1. First is written by Julia Cameron “The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self” one of my first books I read in my first steps of practice and working with myself.
  2. The second one is written by Daniel Freeman and suggested by BACP, another position from my shelf. This book will illustrate more about our behaviours and mind work to help understand our existence and will help you to cope with daily routines: Know Your Mind: Everyday Emotional and Psychological Problems and How to Overcome Them.
  3. In third position is my favourite: Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ, written by Daniel Goleman. In many occasions, it reminds me about the difference between our emotional intelligence and to be just wise. This book shows us how emotion can control our behaviour and how that movement can be destructive.
  4. The next one is a book which I read over and over in my last four years of education: The Self-Talk Solution: The Proven Concept Of Breaking Free From Intense Negative Thoughts To Never Feel Weak Again. A short story about anxiety which is definately against our wellbeing.
  5. The last fifth position from my book shelf is: The Making of a Therapist: A Practical Guide for the Inner Journey written by Louis Cozolino. Absolutly valuble for all students. I personally listened to this as a audiobook in my car on the way to work and always find something new.

Our mood and behaviour affect others and oppositely as well. Always we have to remember to take a break between sessions and take a few deep breaths before the next meeting. Try to meditate or do some stretching to release the stress and clear the mind.

Do not take more clients than you can manage. Avoid group counselling next to the room of one to one. Be mindful of other distractions like the noise of traffic. Sleep enough and eat healthy. Always be patient with your decisions.

Take time and think appropriately before we say something. It is typical to make a session more difficult when the person could understand wrongly or differently for what we want to say.

The Humanistic Approaches.

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Introduction to Humanistic and Existentialism approaches in Counselling and Psychotherapy. This title will be with us for next 3 post where I try to explain a bit of Humanistic and Existentialism approaches.

The humanistic and existentialism approaches derive from ancient Greece and Rome and were delivered by the 19th century. After all in 1964, at the Old Saybrook conference, it established the new movement in humanistic psychotherapy. Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and Rollo May are individuals who had participated in the conference.

Humanistic and existential approaches originally established in the 19th century after psychoanalytic school of Freud and the behaviourism approach. Abraham Maslow was one of the first people who was bound for creating humanistic psychology. Humanistic and Existential approaches, lie close to each other. Both respect clients beliefs and individualism, personal responsibility and ability for own choice to change. The third force psychotherapists are creators and developers of new aproaches like:

On one side, we meet a non-directive theory which is a Rogerians approach, who did the significant movement in humanistic psychotherapy with other famous people like Abraham Maslow with his “Hierarchy of Needs”. On another side, we have the theories of counselling which provide the therapist with a conceptual framework which works by allowing them to think systematically about human development and therapeutic processes.

Humanistic approaches are different from other psychotherapy schools because it concentrates on the “here and now” and shows more interest in the whole person, rather than the experience of psychoanalysing approach with Freud’s theory. Psychoanalyse delves through the deep past of human existence and tries research in unfortunate experiences rather than positive continuations. In personal development we need to learn how to change and how we can accept a person as an individual organism.

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

Carl Rogers

Superconsciousness and inner wisdom, are a source of a fully functioning person and self-awareness by understanding and acceptance. Most significant moments and experiences are not only in therapy but in life as a whole such as the time when we fully accept ourself as a person and as an organism through the fulfilment of the potential in our lives. This is protruded through Rogers as being called the “Fully functioning person” (Rogers 1963a). Rogers believed that humanity has one basic need to self-actualization, to achieve the tendency, we have to be in a state of congruence where self-image is close to ideal. As Rogers said in one of his book:

“The organism has one basic tendency and striving – to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing organism”

(Rogers, 1951, p. 487).

One typical issue for an internal locus of evaluation is explained in Dave Mearns and Brian Throne’s book:

“I suppose I went into the job to please my father. It seemed to make sense, too, regarding having some carrier structure or “…yes I have a feeling I married Jean because I knew my parents like her….”

All the talk between therapist and the client show significant evidence of locus of evaluation, when the client realizes he accepts the job or the relationship with Jean on purpose for pleasing his parents, but not for himself. These implications can make the client unhappy and could be devastating in the future. As the job does not satisfy him and is not productive as he wishes and the marriage is a mistification for pleasing others but not the individual. That is the point when we find own self-unfulfillment and unhappiness as we cannot achieve our full potential in life and the congruence of self-acceptance does not be retaliated by one or more wrong decisions in life.

I hope you enjoyed reading this piece.

See you soon in the next post.

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