The textbook describes the significance of the social constructionism approach, which I perceive to be vital as a therapist. It holds that realities do not exist independent of observational processes corresponding to the argument of Owen on the concept of constructionism in psychotherapy (1992). According to this approach, a therapist needs to value the client’s reality without disputing whether it is accurate or rational. I perceive this approach to be crucial in the modern era because instead of considering myself as an expert, a collaborative stance would prioritize giving clients a chance to recount their experiences.
As a therapist, I would better view my client as the expert in their own lives. This approach is crucial because it encourages me to strive to be an expert at assessing clients’ frames or references and identifying those perceptions that can be vital in promoting a more satisfying life for my client. This approach rejects the traditional positivistic approach to knowledge that is generally nonreflexive. Additionally, it upholds the belief that the way we understand the world is a product of a historical process of negotiation between people.
Solution-focused brief therapy is another approach I find vital to therapists. This approach assumes that the client already knows, on some level, the necessary life changes. The counselor’s role is to help clarify the client’s goals and help them achieve these goals. It is grounded on the optimistic assumption that people competent and healthy to construct solutions that enhance their lives (Corey, 2016). As a therapist, I wouldn’t want to perceive my clients as incompetent and unhealthy when they enter my office. I would like to see them as adequate to craft solutions, help them recognize the competencies they already possess, and apply them towards developing a solution. With this approach, I could become assist clients’ transition to a world full of possibilities. I would also prefer concentrating on small, realistic, achievable changes that can result in more positive outcomes. It is possible with the use of solution-focused brief therapy.
The narrative approach is another postmodern approach that I find essential to providing quality services to my clients. A client plays a crucial part in mapping the direction of the journey. This approach entails conversations and interactions. As a counselor, the idea is to understand what interests the client and how the therapy suits their preferences. I love listening to people before making conclusions, a concept promoted by narrative therapy because it is not right to sit behind a desk when diagnosing a client and not give them a chance to tell their side of the story. This approach encourages therapists to establish a collaborative session, specifically, paying greater attention in listening respectfully to their stories, assessing a time in their lives when they were resourceful, and avoiding diagnosing or labeling them. My clients are not medicalized victims living hopelessly; instead, they are victors on their own with vivid stories to recount. Such stories could transform them and could also impact me positively as a therapist.
The three postmodern approaches (social constructionism, solution-focused brief therapy, and narrative therapy) are making significant contributions to the field of psychotherapy. The compelling contribution is the optimistic orientation these approaches take on trusting clients to use their resources to develop solutions. Notably, many clients today can make significant moves towards building more satisfying lives within a short time. The non-pathologizing stance of these approaches will help me become a better counselor such that instead of over-focusing on what is wrong with the client, I could focus on their resourcefulness. Even therapists who formulate diagnoses can learn how to relate with their clients respectfully from these approaches.
Corey, G. (2016). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. Cengage Learning.
Owen, I. R. (1992). Applying social constructionism to psychotherapy. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 5(4), 385-402. https://doi.org/10.1080/09515079208254483