Concepts To Understand Clients In The Counseling And Therapy Process

  1. Life Stage Concept

According to (Kimmel 1974. In Donald H. Blocher 1987) “The thing to be aware of in using the concept of life stage is that it can be coercive and callous in categorizing people. The life stage concept establishes a developmental framework for understanding expected social roles, developmental tasks, and transitions that trigger discontinuity. The formulation of life stages originates from Freud's developmental theory of psychosexual stages in childhood.

  1. Life Development Stage Model

1)  organizing stage,

The organizing stage is very complex, therefore this stage is divided into several sub-stages.

Baby / infancy (born - 3 years) at the time of birth every baby carries a number of potential within them. Allport (1963) in Donald H. Blocher 1987 states that the baby is a psychological phenomenon. 

Erikson (1963) in Donald H. Blocher 1987 explains that the developmental tasks of infants are broadly related to the development of trust and affiliation to infants or adults around them. The development of trust becomes the main task that is most crucial for babies to be able to move on to the next developmental task. An example of the development of trust in infants is that they are able to be separated from their mothers for longer and longer periods without experiencing anxiety.

Early childhood (3-6 years) when a baby grows and enters early childhood, the social environment around it changes rapidly. When a child grows up, he gets a new role, siblings and also playmates are two roles that a child gets who enters early childhood. In this role the child is expected to be able to share, cooperate and communicate.

Late childhood (6-12 years) According to Erikson (1963) in Donald H. Blocher 1987, the key at this stage is the concept of initiative and industry In initiative and industry requires planning and organization of developmental tasks. Initiative requires self-confidence and mental strength to forget the failures that have occurred and repay the failure by mobilizing all the minds, joy and enthusiasm. 

Early adolescence (12-15 years) is known as the most critical period in the stage of human development. Psychological waves change in many ways and along with expectations or demands for adulthood which then creates an imbalance. 

Two important changes in role expectations occur in the early adolescent stage. Coleman (1962) in Donald H. Blocher 1987 explains that early adolescence is a period where the influence of family and school begins to decrease. When expectations in family and school conflict with each other, it is possible to create a 'bind situation' that will trigger anxiety.

According to Erikson (1963) in Donald H. Blocher 1987 problems in the main developmental tasks of early adolescence are identity conflict and role confusion. The integrity of the new role, volatile emotions, emerging values ​​and aspirations are all part of the 'identity crisis'. 

2)  Exploration Stage .

At this stage, individuals experiment with new relationships, friendships, acquaintances, education and careers. This requires individuals to learn to give and take in various situations based on mutuality and cooperation, namely things that are mutually beneficial and cooperative.

Late adolescence (15-23 years) new social roles at this stage are so many that it often causes confusion. For example workers, leaders, subordinates, supervisors, and colleagues or colleagues At this stage these new roles will begin to compete and contradict each other so that it will make individuals face much more complex problems in solving problems and making decisions.

The key to the developmental task of late adolescence is educational and vocational development. The identity crisis that occurs in early adolescence turns into identity as a worker. as Super (1957) in Donald H. Blocher 1987, states that the process of vocational development involves questions related to the implementation of one's identity in the world of work.

Early adulthood (24-30 years) early adulthood is a period that is quite crucial in individual development where individual skills will be tested. The two social roles tested in this stage are marriage and family.

Erikson (1963) in Donald H. Blocher 1987, argues that the main task in this stage is the achievement of intimacy and commitment. Intimacy is the capacity of a concrete form of honest affiliation of a union where the union is strong even though it requires great sacrifices from each individual. While commitment is a major part of intimacy. Commitment is a person's capacity to manage time, energy and self-confidence. Success in various fields requires commitment in it. Without a commitment the possibilities for career development will be limited.

  1. Realization Stage

At the realization stage a person often has a great opportunity to interpret their main role and also modify or reject the existing role that is felt to be incompatible with their needs and the values ​​they believe in, this is called ' role freedom'. Role freedom gives individuals the opportunity to express themselves which they did not at the previous stage.

When a person is able to reach the stage of role freedom they will be able to interpret and accept the role which will increase personal satisfaction and confidence:

  • Leadership roles where an individual has a major contribution to a project and receives recognition, especially in terms of membership of an organization.
  • Helping roles in which an individual contributes to improving well-being, growth and development. 
  • Creative roles where an individual is able to create new and original contributions.
  • Accomplishment roles where an individual is able to reach a useful and useful level in a social environment.

Counseling aims to help a person achieve role freedom more than psychotherapists who aim to reconcile the status quo of an individual. The main developmental task at this stage is the ability to utilize existing strengths and resources to achieve major life goals and values. This ability is called generativity.  

  1. Stabilization Stage

At this stage there is often a ' midlife crisis', namely a period in which a person is afraid of death and tends to reassess his life purpose (Jung, 1933) in Donald H. Blocher 1987. As a result, a person may change his career, marriage, family relationships and other aspects. in their life.

Levinson (1978) emphasizes several developmental tasks that are fundamental to the midlife crisis period :

  • Looking back, appreciating and ultimately leaving early adulthood.
  • Make big decisions about what to do in the years to come.
  • Overcoming critical issues in life.

Midlife transition is a time to rebuild and redevelop aspirations and potential within oneself. Career changes, divorce, problems with alcohol dependence and depression are some of the factors that trigger the emergence of the midlife transition. A person who fails to face the midlife transition may experience stagnation or a state of stagnation. The state of stagnation makes a person feel useless, unnecessary and unloved. Solving the midlife crisis has an impact on the success or triumph of the ' generativity' of the pressure of stagnation and despair (Brim, 1976) in Donald H. Blocher 1987.

  1. Exam Stage

is the final stage of life, optimal development at this stage is the achievement of ' ego integrity' expressed by Erikson (1963) in Donald H. Blocher 1987. Integrity is the ability to accept themselves as they are and accept what happens to them. Integrity includes peace in the heart including self-acceptance of death as part of the stages of life.

At this stage when a person is open, flexible and able to adapt to change, chances are he will be able to cope with the stress that may occur.

  1. Lifestyle Concept

In the current context, we use the concept of individual or lifestyle to show a person's cognitive patterns and attitudes in dealing with stress, seeking satisfaction, and understanding problems that exist in the environment.

1)   Mimic Style.

Some of the specific imitative styles that define a person's interaction with the environment can be identified as follows:

  • Minimizing and avoiding things or situations that can trigger stress.
  • Impulsive – Intuitively deal with stress spontaneously and as quickly as possible without planning. Facing things based on what feels right and following intuition in dri.
  • Rationale – Analysis of this imitation style, a person chooses to delay taking action in stressful situations until they are able to analyze the situation carefully and sometimes make detailed plans.
  • Confrontive-Tenacious finding the root of the problem and then overcoming it with certain strategies until the results of the problem are clear.

2)   Interpersonal Style

Interpersonal attitudes we learn from the family during childhood, where at that time we have not been able to analyze the effectiveness of what we learn. Karen Horney (1950) in Donald H. Blocher 1987. divides interpersonal styles into three categories:

  • Moving closer to others in this interpersonal style when a person is under stress he tends to move closer to others to discuss their problems, share their feelings, fears and seek emotional support from others.
  • Moving away from other people in this interpersonal style, a person moves away from others when he is in a stressful situation. This style is also often referred to as the ' strong silent type'
  • Moving against others, in this interpersonal style a person copes with stress in a way that contradicts others in an aggressive and painful way. This style is an example of the phenomenon of ' frustration-aggression' where someone who feels frustrated vents his frustration to those around him in an aggressive way.

3)  Cognitive Style

Research in cognitive psychology by Witkin (1978) in Donald H. Blocher 1987, shows that people have different ways of organizing perceptions and information and that different cognitive styles have important implications for a person's general attitude. In this study there are two different cognitive styles, namely;

  • Field dependents are those who are at some level of difficulty in separating and discriminating parts or aspects of the stimulus. People in this area are less cognitively flexible.
  • Field Independents are people who on the one hand can distinguish between variables and facts in complex situations. People in this area tend to have a more flexible response, they are more open to new ideas, suggestions and innovations.

Cognitive styles tend to influence how people solve tasks, problems and learn about opportunities. In the world of counseling, a person's cognitive style will affect how a person responds to suggestions, assignments and explores experiences.

  1. Living Space Concept

The concept of living space is a psychological state that includes the physical environment and individual perceptions of an environment. The living space is reflected in the roles and ways of a person in building a relationship. A person's interpersonal space is organized and explained in different ways and with different meanings.

  1. Social Role

Social role is more or less defined as one's participation in social interaction (Allport, 1963) in Donald H. Blocher 1987. Social role has more than one dimension where it can determine how a person interprets something and begins to organize their living space:

  • Role expectations are cultural prescriptions that are generally inherited from social groups in society.
  • Role conceptions, including the way a person displays a role in accordance with perceptions and expectations.
  • Role performance, includes the way a person behaves in a situation.
  1. Stress

In simple terms, stress can be interpreted as a threat to the satisfaction of basic needs. Stress is not always dangerous, in fact stress in an individual's life space triggers the emergence of new attitudes and learning. We can examine three main aspects of stressful situations in individual living spaces (Torrance, 1965) in Donald H. Blocher 1987 which include; intensity, duration, and individual circumstances. These three factors influence how stress affects each individual and how individuals cope with and modify stress levels. 

  • Intensity

The most obvious and most immediate factor in eliciting a stress reaction includes intensity. When living things encounter a stimulus that triggers stress, the general reaction is clear and vivid.

People who experience severe stress, pain and fear usually lose their ability to complete tasks well. Severe stress will become something that is destructive and weakens a person if it is experienced at an unexpected time and cannot be overcome (Cohen & Ahearn, 1980) in Donald H. Blocher 1987.

  • Duration

Another factor that triggers stress is duration. This usually occurs in children.

The symptoms that arise in chronic stress are almost the same as those that occur in severe stress. However, because chronic stress is relatively mild, the symptoms appear after a long period of time, months or even years. Temperament, insensitivity to others, digestive problems and unstable moods will further prolong the chronic stress experienced by individuals. 

  • Individual Circumstances

The state of health of the individual is an important factor in the stress reaction. Eating habits, sleeping and exercise are important aspects in controlling stress. General physical condition, age, and health record are also important factors . 

In an effort to understand the client's living space and find the source of the client's stress, the counselor needs to obtain data about the client's general health and data about his previous learning background.

  1. Support

Support or support is another variable that will help us understand the client's living space. The concept of support referred to here is support which includes material and relational factors. In assessing the living space of a client or potential client, the counselor's first task is to determine the level of material support that exists.

The second aspect of support is social or emotional support. This kind of support comes from the result of a positive relationship and is a form of concern for relationships with others in the living space of each individual.

When a person does not get social support, he will feel alienated, insecure, hurt, hopeless and lonely. In this case, a counselor often begins counseling by providing a little support in the client's living space by providing a direct supportive relationship.

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