As the new (and my final) semester gets underway, I am struck by how the first reading for my Theories of Mental Health Counseling class has turned into a reflective assignment.
When I heard I had to take a course entitled Theories of Mental Health Counseling, I couldn't help but inwardly groan thinking it would be the same theories we have heard at least a handful of times at this point in our schooling with a textbook that is less than interesting (and costs a small fortune). Of course Freud and psychoanalytical theory was first up on the syllabus.
The first chapter allowed me to reflect on how at this point in my training I have yet to really adopt a theory and also stresses the importance of having a theory to identify with. It made me stop and think about what assumptions I have regarding human behaviour and motivation. These may seem like simple things that should have crossed my mind and although they have, I have never taken the time to really think about them and how they will affect what theory I will identify with as a professional.
In my experience as an expressive arts therapy student, you hear the term person-centered frequently, which I have never understood what exactly that means for me as a practitioner in the field. I have also been told many times, "you'll make up your own theory by pulling bits from existing theories". This chapter discussed how eclecticism (pulling bits from everywhere) is not necessarily the best way to serve your clients.
The first chapter has given me many things to think about as I proceed with this course and examine multiple theories deciding which is the best fit for me and my practice.
Off to read chapter 2 on psychoanalytical theory!