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Goals of Counseling and Psychotherapy

The adaptability of Adler's theory is seen as one of its greatest strengths, and the emphasis on specific goal types can be beneficial when helping clients. While the overall goal of counseling is encouraging a client's social interest, clients may begin with wanting instant and magical relief of symptoms or possibly to continue what he or she is doing without feeling so uncomfortable. The goal of therapy is not necessarily fulfilling these expectations; rather, an Adlerian counselor assists a client by distinguishing between life goals that account for the development of a unique lifestyle and more immediate goals that account for everyday behaviors. The central aim of Adlerian counseling is to help a client identify and understand mistaken beliefs and assumptions about self, others, and life; make changes in those beliefs; and thus participate more fully in a social world.

The beginning process of goal setting is assisting a client in developing behaviors and beliefs characterized by actions that contribute to social interest (Abramson, 2007). A counselor works at educating a client toward the useful side of life and developing a sense of belonging to the world in terms of a client's perceptions of self and others and the basic beliefs that support his or her lifestyle. An individual who feels like a part of a community will have less feeling of inferiority (Ferguson, 2003). In the beginning of counseling, a counselor will help a client develop a plan of what is wanted, how to plan to get what is wanted, what is stopping the attainment of goals, how can mistaken beliefs and behaviors be changed into constructive thoughts and actions, and how the use of strengths can help to achieve goals. A synchronization of goals is needed to provide for a healthy relationship between client and counselor.

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