Counseling and psychotherapy is mostly seen as the thing to turn to when we feel overwhelmed or when we are suffering about problems or symptoms.
While effective counseling helps to cope with problems and symptoms. The deeper aim of the counselor is to help client reach a more advanced stage of self development. This stage is referedd as self ‘actualization and is basically a dimension of our personality in which we operate at our higher potential. The ideal self, the fully functioning individual..there are many ways to describe it.
It is refreshing to see that the range of possibilities in mental health doesnt stop at the end of intense suffering or limiting symptoms.
Everett Shostrom integrated different therapeutic models from the humanistic perspective and developed a test that measured how self actualized, ideal version or fullyfunctioning we were. IN other words measuring mental health not from the negative side but from also from the more positive angles.
He listed 13 qualities that define an actualized person. These are aims and consequences of an effective therapy when ending suffering or bad symptoms has been accomplished.
1: Time orientation.
Capacity to live primarily on the present moment, rather than being captured in the past or jumping to the future
2: Core centeredness.
The tendency to trust one´s feelings as a criterion for behavior as opposed to looking for shoulds from authorities outside oneself.The willingness to trust one´s inner moral court.
The capacity to express and experience a personal sense of security, power, worth, adequacy and competence.
The capacity to express and experience one´s humaness, vulnerability, hurt, helplessness and inadequacy to cope with life.
The capacity to experience and express one´s feelings of anger as appropriate to the situation and anticipating accurately the consequences.
The capacity to experience and express feelings of warmth, tenderness, or affection to different people in different ways.
7: Synergistic integration
The understanding that polarities (strength-weakness, anger-love) are not opposite but rather mutually complementary, realizing that the power of polarities as a whole exceeds their summated power as parts.
The understanding that no one principle in isolation can control one´s life. Additional principles combined in relation to a context are what empower one´s quality of life.
An orientation to life that includes the willingness to be or express whatever one feels, thinks or senses within (such as joy, sorrow, helplessness or boredom) as opposed to a ¨doing¨orientation, which seeks to impress others by striving and pleasing.
10.Trust in humanity
The ability to constructively view the nature of man as essentially trustworthy and good.
11: Creative Living
The capacity to be effective and innovative and become excited about decisions or tasks, the utilization of unique ways of problem solving.
12: Manipulation Awareness.
The capacity to recognize common manipulative or controlling patterns in others and also in oneself
A sense of dedication to a life task or mission, a belief in the importance of developing one´s highest potentialities.