Asa future psychologist, the category of clients with whom I see myselfworking with most effectively are school going youngsters agedbetween 13 and 19 years suffering from social phobia. Social phobia,also known as social anxiety disorder, is a nervousness syndrome inwhich an individual has an exaggerated fear of ordinary socialcircumstances like going to class, church, or even speaking in frontof people for the fear of criticism and judgment. Social phobia isworse than shyness because it can get intense to a point that it cannegatively affect an individual’s daily activities like having anordinary phone conversation. I envision working best with the clientsin this age bracket because I can see myself intervening in myprofessional capacity to try and assist teenagers suffering fromsocial anxiety disorder overcome the social challenges they face whenin school.
Itis an irrefutable fact that social phobia has a myriad of negativeimpacts on the regular schooling activities of teenagers. As aconsequence of social anxiety, school going teenagers do not reapmaximum benefits from their learning processes for the reason thatthey afraid of the entire social environment at school. Sociallyanxious teenagers do not achieve the best scores in theirexaminations because they are poor public speakers hence fail tomake presentations in front of their classmates even in gradableexaminations. In some instances, teenagers get petrified of turningup to school every day. Consequently, they opt to drop out of schoolsince they cannot put up with the social environment. What makes itworse is that other students make fun of socially anxiousindividuals, possibly making their anxiety situations worse. In thisintricate scenario, I visualize myself as a significant player whoserole will be to assist such teenagers overcome their elevated levelsof social anxiety so that they can also enjoy the ample socialenvironment at school. I am certain that once the social anxietyproblem is solved, all the other consequential issues like dismalacademic performance will also be sorted out because these teenagerswill be in a better position to enjoy the entire learning process.From this point of perspective, this category of clients is my mostpreferred because I feel that this is where the impact of myprofessional duties as a psychologist will be felt the most. I willbe overwhelmed when i change the future prospects of teenagers who’vegiven up on themselves because of controllable social complications.
Toelicit the anticipated changes in social behavior among my teenageclients, there are certain treatment approaches I plan on employing.The first treatment approach with which I see myself practicing mosteffectively is the psychodynamic approach to counseling. It is theopinion of Kegerreis (2013) that psychodynamic counseling advancedfrom the works of Sigmund Feud. Throughout his profession as amedical doctor, Sigmund Feud came across many patients who sufferedfrom medical conditions that apparently had no “tangible” or“physical” cause. Since these groups of illnesses had nosuperficial cause, Sigmund Feud was led into assuming that the trueorigin of such mental illnesses lay in the unconscious part of theminds of his clients. Using this approach, I will aim at bringingsome memories stored in my client’s unconscious mind into theconscious in a process known as psychoanalysis. Throughpsychoanalysis, I will be able to question the anxious teenagers onany past traumatic events that they may have forgotten abouttransferring such events into the conscious mind.
Oncein the conscious, I will query more to get a deeper comprehension ofthe happenings that may have contributed to the development ofexaggerated social phobia. After evaluating my client’s incidentsof childhood trauma, I will help them progress psychologically byencouraging them to release all the negativities they still holdlinked to any traumatic happenings (Kegerreis, 2013). Behavior is theresult of a stimulus. My clients are responding to a stimulus,yielding this “destructive” social phobia. Therefore, it will bemy responsibility to change the negative response (anti-socialbehavior) exemplified by my teenage clients in a social setting likea school (stimulus). Through the application of Sigmund Feud’spsychodynamic counseling approach, I will be better placed toevaluate the source of social problems among my treasured clients andhelp them advance psychologically by formulating tailor made clinicalactions to their social challenges.
Thesecond treatment approach I see myself working with most effectivelyis the behavioral approach to counseling. It is the opinion of McLeod(2013) that the behaviorists approach to counseling is built on theassumption that the environment greatly influences an individual’sbehavior. From this perspective, I will employ this treatmentapproach because it will help me ascertain how a socially anxiousteenager responds to different social scenarios subject to what hadbeen reinforced as a child. According to the author, behavior therapytreatment focuses on individual behaviors that have been learned fromthe environment and hence, can be “untaught.” While working withthe teenagers in the future, I will acknowledge their predicament ofnot being able to fit into the society because of the antisocialtendencies allegedly learned from the environment. Therefore, it willbe my professional responsibility to intervene and help them“unlearn” the unwanted antisocial tendencies reinforced as achild. Per se, I will professionally assist these teenagers byworking with them to help them modify their social proficiency. Ihave chosen this treatment approach because the results of itsemployment are quantifiable. With the advancement of behavioralcounseling, I will be able to determine the degree of utility of myprofessional intervention as I will physically observe theprogressive changes in social inclinations in my teenage clients.
Tofruitfully perform my duties as a psychologist, I have to be inconstant communication with my clients. Bearing in mind that I expectto come across teenage clients from all ethnic backgrounds, there area myriad of ethical factors I will have to consider so that I can actresponsibly in my professional capacity. In my evaluation andintervention strategies, there will be need for me to assess thelevels and categories of medication appropriate for each and everychild in the context of family standards, culture, social class,economic status, among many other client-specific factors. To actprofessionally, I will not assume that the assessment, formulationand clinical actions that will work on an American teenager from ahigh social structure would be appropriate for an African Americanteenager coming from an impoverished family. Also, I will not assumethat individualized family and cultural settings do not have a rolein the appropriateness of any clinical action. To me, the relevanceof any assessment and clinical action will be highly dependent on thefamily values, cultural standards, social structure, economic status,among many other family-specific standards and values. Hence, I willincorporate all these ethical considerations on each and everyteenage client I will come across in the future so as to avoidinstances that may appear to be prejudice or biasness against certaintribes, ethnics, or races. With the integration of multiculturalconsiderations in my assessment and clinical actions, I canconfidently comment that I will have acquired cultural competence asa professional psychologist.
Inthe future, I see all these client-specific issues influencing myassessments, formulations, and decisions regarding appropriate andeffective clinical actions. To explain my point, allow me to revisitthe hypothetical scenario I had created earlier. Imagine I have twoteenage clients one American and the other African American. TheAmerican teenager is socially detached because of a traumaticexperience in kindergarten where a gun-wielding deranged man attackedchildren. The African American is socially anxious because she wasridiculed for more than a year over one wrongful answer in onemathematics class. Evidently, both these clients are sociallydetached albeit for different causative factors! Additionally, thefamily dynamics, values, culture, traditions, and economic situationsof the families these clients hail from are completely different.Consequently, these issues will influence my assessment,formulations, and decisions regarding appropriate clinical actionsbecause I will have to consider and include them as well. My futureassessments, formulations, and clinical actions will factor inpersonalized considerations of family values, cultural settings,economic status, and many other clients dedicated factors.Intrinsically, I will be acting professionally by formulatingcustomized clinical actions appropriate and relevant to my each of myclient’s personalized psychological needs (Archer & McCarthy,2013).
Asan upcoming professional psychologist, it is very important to engagemyself in personal and professional development to guarantee aneffective future practice with my clients. The area I intend todevelop the most is the scope of cultural competence. I am mostinterested in developing my cultural competence for the reason thatin the future, I would like to be a professional psychologist who canmanage the social issues of patients from many cultures.Professionally, I am certain of the fact that an excellent degree ofcultural competence will go a long way in making my future practiceof psychology more efficacious. To improve my cultural competence, Ihave short-term and long-term actions I will take. As a short-termplan, I intend to engage in interactive research on the influence ofculture on mental health treatment actions across different races. Iwill achieve this goal by allocating time to visit differentlibraries and peruse over anthropology books that discuss mattersrelated to culture and mental health treatment actions. My long termplan of professional and personal improvement is to further mypsychological studies along the axis of culture and its influences onclinical actions. Culturally competent, I know I will be betterplaced to work more effectively with my clients in future practice.
Archer,J., & McCarthy, C. J. (2013). Theoriesof counseling and psychotherapy: Contemporary applications.San Diego: Bridgepoint Education Inc. ISBN: 9781621781059
Kegerreis,S. (2013). ‘Knowing all this just makes it easier: PsychodynamicIdeas on the Frontline. PsychodynamicPractice,19(1),4-21. doi:10.1080/14753634.2013.750091
McLeod,A. S. (2013). Behaviorist Approach. Retrieved August 08, 2016, fromhttp://www.simplypsychology.org/behaviorism.html