Trainee psychotherapists invariably bring tremendous personal material to the table. Students are often asked at some point in their training to critically review four approaches to psychotherapy and then to discuss how they might form a holistic transpersonal integrative model of psychotherapy. This typically takes place in the third year of training. In undertaking this exercise it is important to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of working therapeutically from a holistic perspective. Using case examples to illustrate your understanding of each approach whilst reviewing its efficacy is what the markers are looking for.
By the third year students will have built up a sizable number of placement hours and will have gained extensive experience of short term counselling. They will by then be asking themselves what does it mean to be holistic in approach. Students are often asked to select one approach from each of the following categories:
—Humanistic: Rogers or Gestalt
—Existential: Yalom, Laing, Frankl or May
—Transpersonal: Almaas, Wilber, Washburn or the CCPE model
It is important to note that Transpersonal Psychotherapy does not have exclusive rights when using approaches to spirituality in the treatment room. In the world of psychotherapy there are some modalities that allow for the spiritual in their therapeutic approach. The difference with transpersonal psychotherapy (as distinct from religious counselling) is that this modality actively involves the spiritual element in the therapeutic work.
counsellors pick their theory model based on the struggles they’ve had themselves in life
I suspect that counsellors pick their theory model based on the struggles they’ve had themselves in life. If,for instance, you have had issues with father figures, you probably will gravitate to a Freudian perspective. However, if you have had abandonment issues, you might follow object relations and attachment theory. Moreover, if you find structure and tradition distastely you might turn to existentialism. The aim of the Elements Model is to bring balance and harmony between the elements. Who will pick the Elements Model? Now that’s an interesting question.