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Assignment Questions

Finding Possibilities Through Divergent Thinking

Two texts require to use with additional sources.

Egan, G. (2010). The skilled helper: A problem-management and opportunity-development approach to helping (9th ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole (Cengage). ISBN: 9780495604341.

Norcross, J. C. (Ed.). (2002). Psychotherapy relationships that work: Therapist contributions and responsiveness to patients. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780195143461.


In Chapter 12, Egan discusses how divergent thinking can expand the possibilities for solving a problem. Often clients develop “tunnel vision” when trying to resolve difficulties in their lives, and therapy can help to open up their field of vision. For this discussion, you will choose one of the following cases for your initial post:

The Case of Bill

Bill is a 42-year-old Caucasian male who has recently become unemployed. He has worked for 12 years as a therapist, then as a supervisor of a mental health facility, and now feels he is seen as too old to be hired again in this kind of position. Bills feels stuck and fairly pessimistic about his future. He cannot afford to retire yet but is very unsure as to what he should do next. Bill is not married and does not have any children.

The Case of Jean

Jean is 28 years old and has been married to her husband, Jon, for less than a year. Jon is 35 years old and Caucasian. Jean is of Hispanic origin. She has been working as a financial consultant for five years. Thus far, Jean has been fairly satisfied by her career and professional success but she often wonders if she can be doing more. Jean has not given any real thought to having children yet, while Jon firmly believes Jean should concentrate primarily on managing their home and preparing to raise children. Faced with her husband’s demands, Jean is now very confused about what she should want in life. She feels very insecure and questions her place in this marriage.

For this discussion, respond to the following:

* Choose one of the cases. Clearly define the problem as it is perceived by the client.
* Using strategies suggested by Egan in Chapter 12, help your client start to move out of confusion by identifying possibilities for the future. Explain your method and list some questions you might ask to help the client.
* Construct a dialogue between yourself as the therapist and your client that shows how you might help the client explore possibilities, develop choices (goals), and evaluate the goals to be sure they are appropriate for her or him.

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