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This article came from our Issues in Clinical Mental Health course and covers Developmental Counseling and Therapy (DCT), explaining how clinicians can better serve their clients by knowing when to match and mismatch a client's cognitive-affective style (CAS). I chose this article because it fundamentally changed my approach to working with clients and also impacted my cohorts at my site in their work with clients. Minton & Myers (2008) describe various cognitive-affective styles that clients and counselors can exhibit: sensorimotor (present-focused, oriented in physical [emotional] sensation), concrete (focused on narrative events and causality), formal (reflective and pattern-aware), and dialectic (social constructionist and able to adopt multiple perspectives across systems). Clients present with these styles through their statements and actions, while counselors' professional cognitive-affective styles are revealed through their theoretical orientation and intervention choices (Minton & Myers, 2008).


Minton & Myers (2008) note the techniques that work best for each client CAS: biofeedback, mindfulness, and Gestalt for sensorimotor; CBT, solution-focused approaches, and skills training for concrete; existential/humanistic for formal; and social constructionist approaches for dialectic. By matching client styles, one may enhance the therapeutic alliance and aid in client's willingness to change. By intentionally mismatching clients' CAS, therapists can help to shift their perspectives and coping strategies. Ultimately, Minton & Myers (2008) describe DCT as a means of achieving successful theoretical integration and a higher level of empathy as a counselor. Put into practice, DCT has aided me in my work with clients and has helped other counselors whom I have turned on to the approach.

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