Clinical work has to be a balance of addressing personal and systematic factors. If clients are homeless and anxious, it is great in theory to work on cognitive restructuring of distressing thoughts and relaxation techniques. However, the majority of their time is spent in a very anxiety producing situation. Maslow posited that if client’s basic needs aren’t being met, there is no way to address higher level needs. In therapy, we are not doing enough intervention if we aren’t somehow targeting these lower level needs. However, what exactly does that look like in therapy? Problem solving should be woven into the thread of therapy. Advocacy on a higher level for vulnerable populations is a must. Therapists should be involved in helping to shape public policy to create a better world for our clients. It can be insulting to work on depression/anxiety issues in therapy if the client is acutely suffering from systemic oppression/issues. If you would like to engage in therapeutic services at Interact with professionally trained counselors, contact the front desk at (215) 487-1330 to make your first appointment for an intake today!
Author: Jessica Harpel, M.A.