DSST Fundamentals of counseling

A client in the formal stage of cognitive development

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Unformatted text preview: A client in the Formal stage of cognitive development will be able to talk abstractly about their feelings and recognize patterns. Otherwise known as the Reflective stage, this is the level where self-knowledge and understanding start to arise. The understanding of why they are feeling a certain way or behaving like they do is the first step toward growth, however at the formal stage the client is unable to make the changes necessary to actually act on their new understanding of themselves. It is estimated that 25 to 40% of North American adults do not get to the formal stage of cognitive development. The last stage of cognitive development is the Dialectic stage. At this systematic point of cognition, the client is able to integrate all their personal reflections and multiple perspectives to devise a plan that will address any dysfunctional thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. They will be able to see their emotions as multidimensional and be able to reframe their emotions to suit the situation and context. Example: Being sad when a loved one passes away but also happy that the person is no longer suffering. Effective developmental counseling and therapy requires the counselor to identify the predominant cognitive developmental orientation of a client. A client will use one of the orientations most often and it is important for the counselor to meet the client on the same level. By joining a client at the level they are currently at, the DCT counselor can work in partnership with the individual raising the level of cognitive awareness by modeling and encouraging more self-analysis. Developmental counseling and therapy uses four different therapeutic environments that relate directly to the four cognitive developmental orientations. Each environmental style is used in order to help move the client through to the next stage. Environmental structuring is the style used with the sensorimotor orientation. Environmental structuring provides firm but gentle parameters permitting both the client and the counselor to explore sensory based feelings in a safe environment. When a client is in the concrete stage of cognitive development, Developmental counseling and therapy suggests the use of a coaching environment. This coaching environment helps the client and counselor to clearly outline their thoughts and feelings and present them with an agreed upon structure. The whole process is set up to foster predictability and create trust. This framework can be carried outside the counseling environment and applied to all the situations a client may encounter A consultative environment is appropriate for clients in the formal stage of cognitive development. Consultation implies that the counselor facilitates the skill of reflecting on one’s emotions but he or she does not influence the process. In this way the client learns the skills necessary to reflect on his or her thoughts, feelings, and behavior across many different contexts and situations....
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A client in the Formal stage of cognitive development will...

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