A TRANSCTIONAL MODEL OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR

Based on the Adelman and Taylor book, “Learning Problems and Learning Disabilities,” I adopted a transactional model of human behavior. The model recognizes that while two people involved in an interaction are communicating, the process is not linear in function, but circular. One person is constantly responding to the other person by initiating messages and sending responses.
In terms of counseling and coaching, this means a client comes to a session with not only a presenting problem but also personal history and current states of being as does the mental health professional. The coach and the client interact within a physical and emotional environment. Within these perimeters progress is made – or not.
For example, a 28-year old woman makes an appointment with a mental health professional because of recurring PTSD symptoms. The presenting problem is nightmares related to childhood neglect and abuse by her parents. While she has seen several therapists; she feels that no one has helped her and has little faith these sessions will be any different. The experienced professional has worked with the issues of PTSD for years but has a migraine headache triggered by a fight with her partner. Her office is in a medical facility; the office is clean but sterile. The client’s belief that no one can help, the professional’s migraine headache, and the surroundings all play a role in the outcome of the session.
If this is true, mental health professionals must examine what they bring to the counseling session – their beliefs and experience, as well as their physical condition at the time of the session. This premise is the focus of the NLP for Mental Health Professionals website.

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