Working with clients who find themselves having to function effectively in a `foreign' environment , has led me to favour a directive or instigative approach, rather than the more passive `client-centered' alternatives.
When our cultural reference systems that we have always depended on, without even being aware of it, have been disturbed, increased anxiety and learned helplessness can make it even more difficult to adapt to new circumstances. Previously unknown psychological and emotional difficulties may arise and existent difficulties may be exacerbated. There seems to be a greater need for being actively `steered in the right direction', at least initially, and to be guided out of the spiral of negativity that can become a maladaptive coping mechanism.
Rational-emotive, directive therapy is always implemented with the utmost respect for each individual's needs, potentials and limitations.
Working through actual life-experience examples as well as hypothetical situations , and sometimes identifying key or trigger events at the source of present behaviour, maximum client participation is encouraged .
Positive models are set up which can then be worked towards and reinforced.
Methods are based on the concept that we do have the necessary resources within us to be able to deal with change.
Flexibility and adaptability are drawn on so that a form of control and predictability can begin to be established and a new set of “habits” can be constructed, allowing the environment in which the person now has to function, to be perceived as more familiar and less threatening.
From this rebuilt `foundation', it becomes easier to establish more effective coping strategies in the face of encountered difficulties.