Counseling Goals and Techniques

The primary goal for assisting Maria in reaching her highest potential would be to empower her to identify with more than the victim voice. Once this is accomplished, the second goal would be to help Maria to not focus on the chaos of all of the voices arguing, but instead realize that each voice has its proper place in her life and should be honored. This will allow her to decide which voice or voices she would like to access at any given moment. The third goal would be to explore Maria's spiritual experiences and development.

To attain the first goal, empowering Maria to move beyond the victim voice, the transpersonal counselor could use several techniques. One such technique would be to examine her ancestry and culture. It is true that Latino culture identifies strongly with collecti vistic and family-oriented tenets, but this does not mean that Maria could not also be personally strong. Maria could study and get in touch with both the feminine and masculine voices that are present in her culture. In Latino culture, women are often respected as strong decision makers that often fill a role that is seen as masculine in Western culture. By bringing together and listening to the masculine and feminine voices, Maria is less likely to break down, choosing rather to fight in the face of adversity. One way to get in touch with these voices would be through guided imagery. Maria could be taught to relax while the counselor could verbally guide her to mentally envision herself as a strong Latino woman. Through repetition of this process, Maria could begin to identify with this cultural heritage and possess the shared masculine-feminine voice as her own. Another technique would be for Maria to give the victim character in her dreams a voice. What does it feel like to be powerless to find an exit? What does it feel like to be pursued by faceless people? These are just some of the questions that could allow Maria to give voice to the victim.

For Maria to be able to honor all of the voices within her and to discern which voices should be listened to at appropriate times, the counselor could encourage Maria to give credence to all of the voices in her life. Maria could give voices to the victim, pain, spirituality, masculine, feminine, mother, family, and professional. The transpersonal counselor would help Maria in identifying when it might be most appropriate to listen to one voice over another voice. Another good technique for this process toward unity of the self is bib- liotherapy, which is well within the realm of transpersonal interventions.

Finally, the spiritual element of Maria's life needs to be addressed. An in-depth history of her spiritual development and experiences would be integral to this process. Once this is obtained, the counselor will have a good idea of how Maria values the spiritual and how it can be used to gain insight into her authentic self. Prayers, meditation, guided imagery, and Catholic spiritual traditions will be excellent tools for Maria to connect with something greater than herself. As she begins to continually unify herself with this power, her feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness will begin to dissipate.

Final Thoughts

It is important to note that these are just a few techniques that might be used with Maria. Transpersonal counseling and theory can be seen as an extension of or as an umbrella over a wealth of other counseling theories. Techniques generally characterized from other theoretical orientations are embraced in transpersonal therapy. The overarching goal is to aid Maria in her process toward an authentic self and to achieve her highest potential, regardless of the intervention used.

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