Sul Ross State University Description of Self-actualization, Behavioral, and Gestalt - Personality and Counseling Theories By: Fernanda Arroyo Dr. Barbara Tucker ED 5314 Personality and Counseling Theory Fall 2016 The amount of personality and counseling theories that exist to help clients become better people is immense. This research paper will be exploring three of the major theories of personality and counseling, these are self-actualization theory, behavioral therapy, and gestalt therapy. Self-Actualization Theory Self-actualization theory is a component of the Humanistic approach. Self-actualization theory concentrates on the importance of the free will and how experiences play a role in the development of personality in the human being. Psychology is pretty much about what the client needs and meeting the client \' s needs, in the book The Carl Rogers Reader by Rogers, Kirschenbaum, and Henderson (1989), they describe this idea and they explained that there were various incidents that helped them realized that is only the client who is able to know when something is hurting them or bothering them; it is the client who decides in what direction to go when having to face a problem. Self-actualization theory is known to be part of two of the most famous psychologists of all time, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. According to Chang and Page (1991), this theory has influenced the humanistic psychology movement in the United States because it represents the ideal psychological condition for all human beings. In self-actualization theory or Roger \' s theory (self-actualization theory is a term that is generally used to describe Maslow \' s theory of self-actualization), the term person-centered approach is quite common. When using a person-centered approach, the psychological growth of a person is the goal (Rogers, 1995). In the book Way of Being by Rogers (1995), these conditions are explained and he described that a therapist should act as a friend rather than an actual therapist. He also talked about how important it is to always have an acceptant attitude even when in disagreement with the client \' s ideas, and to always keep in mind to be empathetic to the client \' s feelings and attitudes towards a certain topic being discussed. One concept that is important in this theory is empathetic understanding. Rogers stated that when we have empathetic understanding towards others, that is when that person feels valued, cared for, and accepted as the person she or he is (Rogers, 1995); being that the reason why is necessary to be empathetic towards clients, to help them find meaning in their lives by focusing on free-will, responsibility, and self-determination. Behavioral Therapy Behavior t herapy focuses on observable behaviors rather than the unconscious like the majority of the personality and counseling theories, it focuses on the present instead of the past, and it is a short-term type of treatment (Seligman & Reichenberg, 2010). Currently, behavior therapy plays a significant role in the world of counseling and psychology. Some of the major contributors for the development of behavior therapy are Skinner, Harlow, Pavlov, Eyseneck, Lazarous, Wolpe, Dollard and Miller, Krumboltz, and Bandura According to Seligman and Reichenberg (2010) there are eight steps to help people change behaviors and facilitate treatment: 1. Describing the Behavior: this is the first step to change behavior. It describes the target behavior in precise and measurable ways. Both undesirable and desirable changes need to be specified in this step. 2. Establishing a Baseline: after the behaviors are described, a baseline must be obtained where it reflects on the severity and the frequency of the behaviors. According to Seligman and Reichenberg (2010), the client and the clinician must agree on the following in order to determine the baseline: Ways to measure behavior Ways to record the measurement 3. Determining Goals: goals need to be meaningful, clear, specific, measurable, and achievable. Both the client and the therapist need to understand the goal and keep track of it. When clients reach their goals it allows them to challenge themselves to a deeper level, but if they fail at that particular goal it can discourage them. Goals need to be designed to facilitate accomplishment rather that frustration. 4. Developing Strategies: during this step the strategies to help people achieve their goals are identified. It is very important that the clinicians consider several strategies when