Counselling a Client

Review Paper #2 Instructions
The third review paper is worth 15 points of the final grade. There is no specific page limit or requirement, the goal is to answer the questions as completely as you are able. You may determine this by asking yourself, “is this my best effort?”  “does my response fully address all the points in the questions?”  Papers should be double-spaced, in 12-point font in Times New Roman, with one-inch margins on all sides.  You do not need to include a title page, simply include your name and page number as a header or footer.

There are no “right” answers to the questions below, especially given the subjective nature of the questions–but they should be addressed from within the existential tradition or orientation. This is an opportunity to begin to consider how you might work with a client from this approach.

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PAULINE: A young woman facing death
The existentialist views death as a reality that gives meaning to life. As humans we do not have forever to actualize ourselves. Therefore the realization that we will die, jolts us into taking the present seriously and evaluating the direction in which we are traveling. We are confronted with the fact that we have only so much time to do the things we most want to do. We are motivated to take stock of how meaningful our life is. With this existential perspective in mind, assume that a young woman of 20 comes to the center where you are a counselor.

Some Background Data:
Pauline has recently found out that she has leukemia. Though she is in a period of remission, her doctors tell her that the disease is terminal. Pauline is seeking counseling to help herself deal with this crisis and at least get the maximum out of the remainder of her life. She is filled with rage over her fate; she keeps asking why this had to happen to her. She tells you that at first she could not believe the diagnosis was correct. When she finally got several more professional opinions that confirmed her leukemia, she began to feel more and more anger—toward God, toward her healthy friends whom she envied, and generally toward the unfairness of her situation. She tells you that she was just starting to live, that she had a direction she was going in professionally. Now everything will have to change. After she tells you this, she is sitting across from you waiting for your response.

Questions for Reflection:
Attempting to stay within the frame of reference of an existential therapist, what direction would you take with her based on these questions?

1.  What do you imagine your immediate reactions would be if you were faced with counseling this client? What would be some of the things that you would initially say in response to what you know about Pauline?

2.  What are your own thoughts and feelings about death? How do you think that your answer will affect your ability to be present for Pauline?

3.  What goals would you have in counseling with her?

4.  In what ways would you deal with the rage that Pauline says she feels?

5.  Pauline tells you that one of the reasons she is coming to see you is her desire to accept her fate. How would you work with her to gain this acceptance? What specific things might you do to help her find ways of living the rest of her life to its fullest?

6.  Do you see any possibilities for helping Pauline find meaning in her life in the face of death? For more information on Counselling a Client see this:

Counselling a Client

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