My Take on Psychopathology

The cause of mental illness is a combination of biological and psychological factors. Physiological and emotional causes can sometimes work in tandem yielding minor or severe psychological abnormality and difficulties. It is my desire to treat each client with unconditional, positive, regard and work past societally induced negative stigmas.

Each problem should be treated as a disorder the client is struggling with, not as the sole identifier of the client—this would be degrading and dehumanizing. The use of therapy will depend on the clients’ presenting issue and the severity of his/her mental illness. Since therapy is a systematic intervention seeking to improve and/or strengthen one’s cognitive, behavioral, and emotional state, the best approach of care would be a comprehensive approach. Comprehensive treatment can better address client problems, as a team of professionals can work together to interconnect their expertise in properly diagnosing the mentally ill client. This team may consist of a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, and social worker. In therapy I believe the tried and true adage applies—“It takes a village.”

I view each client as the expert in the therapeutic alliance. Essentially he/she knows the most about their own story and circumstance. Seeing that no person is ever an absolute, there are various factors that construct each human life. Family, community, culture, educational experience, and social identity are all interwoven threads that create the tapestries of life and situated identity. I like to approach my counseling sessions with clients through a culturally informed, hermeneutic lens. It is vital to take each facet of the client’s lived experience into account and to intentionally give stock to their position and experience within society. My intention is to hold these themes in the background of my interactions with clients (the session needs to be at the foreground) in order to adequately conceptualize each case.

I see my role as the therapist as the informed and knowledgeable catalyst that helps facilitate the client (unconscious expert) in making lifestyle changes and decisions toward becoming mentally healthy. The talk therapy serves as the conduit—or vehicle that the client and I use to explore, discern, and discover the process of change that is most apt to their particular circumstance. I think the client and therapist represent a team because both meet each week in efforts to work toward the end goals of treatment.

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