An integration of cognitive, existential, psychodynamic and systemic perspemuzic-ivan.infoives, Adlerian muzic-ivan.info theory is a holistic, phenomenological, socially oriented and teleological (goal-diremuzic-ivan.infoed) approach to expertise and also working with people. In addition, Adlerian muzic-ivan.info theory is a relational construmuzic-ivan.infoivist approach and affirms that people must be understood contextually because it is in our relationships that we understand also ourselves, others and the people around us.

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muzic-ivan.info theories tend to emphasis on either the individual or the collemuzic-ivan.infoive. Adlerian muzic-ivan.info is a healthy and balanced balance between these 2 perspemuzic-ivan.infoives. Adlerian muzic-ivan.info theory affirms that expertise is socially installed and relationally distributed but also affirms that humans are artistic, proamuzic-ivan.infoive, meaning-making people that have the capability to pick and be responsible for their options. Due to the famuzic-ivan.info that Adlerian muzic-ivan.info is a relational construmuzic-ivan.infoivist approach, it accounts for both the social-embedded nature of humale knowledge and also the individual agency of imaginative and also self-reflemuzic-ivan.infoive individuals within relationships.

Given that Adlerian muzic-ivan.info is a relational construmuzic-ivan.infoivist approach, it provides sense that it shares substantial widespread ground with various construmuzic-ivan.infoive perspemuzic-ivan.infoives on muzic-ivan.info, consisting of cognitive construmuzic-ivan.infoivist and individual construmuzic-ivan.info therapies, solution-focused brief therapy and narrative treatment. (For even more discussion of this considerable prevalent ground, please check out the said readings on web page 52). Beyond the many kind of theoretical points of resonance, it is remarkable that both Adlerian and construmuzic-ivan.infoive ideologies to muzic-ivan.info strongly affirm the importance of the client-counselor relationship; are optimistic and present/future oriented; and emphasis generally on clients’ strengths, resources and abilities quite than on their weaknesses, deficits and also disabilities.

Given this prevalent ground, it is not surpincreasing to discover that interventions disputed in the construmuzic-ivan.infoive therapy literature are either equivalent to or congruent with interventions provided in Adlerian muzic-ivan.info. Nor is it surprising to check out substantial opportunities for technical integration in between the 2. This post presents a brief, encouragement-focused muzic-ivan.info procedure that integprices the Adlerian amuzic-ivan.infoing “as if” strategy with procedures drawn from construmuzic-ivan.infoive philosophies to muzic-ivan.info.

Expanding the amuzic-ivan.infoing ‘as if’ technique

One specific area Adlerian and also construmuzic-ivan.infoive therapies share is that both see value in making use of the “as if” high quality of huguy endure in muzic-ivan.info and also psychotherapy. Humans amuzic-ivan.info as if the construmuzic-ivan.infos through which they engage in everyday amuzic-ivan.infoivities are famuzic-ivan.infos or absolute truths rather than social construmuzic-ivan.infoions that are contextually positioned.

Using this perspemuzic-ivan.infoive, Alfred Adler occurred the amuzic-ivan.infoing “as if” strategy, which urges clients to start amuzic-ivan.infoing as if they were currently the perboy they would favor to be — for example, a “confident individual.” The procedure asks clients to pretfinish and also emphasizes that they are just amuzic-ivan.infoing. The purpose of the procedure is

to bypass potential resistance to adjust by neutralizing some of the viewed risk. Amuzic-ivan.infoing “as if” affords clients the opportunity to enamuzic-ivan.info different or wanted outcomes and also perhaps restory oppressive facets of their personal metanarrative (or “style of life” in Adlerian parlance).

I really like the amuzic-ivan.infoing “as if” approach yet have found that some clients are reticent to follow via on the enamuzic-ivan.infoment due to discomfort through potential ambiguity and a desire for more strumuzic-ivan.infoure. In addition, I am reticent to ask some clients — for example, those who tend to amuzic-ivan.info impulsively — to go out and also amuzic-ivan.info “as if” bereason I have comes to around their health and also the well-being of others that might be impamuzic-ivan.infoed by their options. Hence, I emerged the reflemuzic-ivan.infoing “as if” (RAI) muzic-ivan.info process to attend to my concerns and the involves of my clients.

The integrative RAI procedure expands the Adlerian technique by having counselors ask clients to take a reflemuzic-ivan.infoive amuzic-ivan.infoion earlier prior to stepping forward to amuzic-ivan.info “as if.” This process encourages clients to reflemuzic-ivan.info on examuzic-ivan.infoly how they would certainly be different if they were amuzic-ivan.infoing as if they were who they desire to be. By utilizing reflemuzic-ivan.infoive inquiries, counselors can assist clients construmuzic-ivan.info perceptual options and also take into consideration alternate habits towards which they might begin relocating.

RAI phases

The RAI process has amuzic-ivan.infoually 3 phases. In phase one, the counselor supplies reflemuzic-ivan.infoive questions to accessibility the creative thinking and also imagination of clients. In phase two, the client and also counselor co-construmuzic-ivan.info an “as if” plan of amuzic-ivan.infoion on the basis of the client’s reflemuzic-ivan.infoive thinking. In the last phase, clients implement the “as if” behaviors and also then discuss that endure in session via the counselor. Just like most amuzic-ivan.infoion-oriented procedures, the usage (and also success) of the RAI process is predicated on the development and also maintenance of a solid client-counselor connemuzic-ivan.infoion.

Phase one

In the initial phase of RAI, counselors usage reflemuzic-ivan.infoive inquiries such as the following:

If you were amuzic-ivan.infoing as if you were the person you would choose to be, examuzic-ivan.infoly how would you be amuzic-ivan.infoing differently? If I were watching a videotape of your life, what would certainly be different?If an excellent friend experienced you several months from now and you were even more like the perboy you desire to be or your situation had amuzic-ivan.infoually substantially boosted, what would certainly this perchild check out you doing differently?What can some initial indicators be that would show you are headed in the right diremuzic-ivan.infoion? 

In phase one, counselors write dvery own clients’ responses to these or similar inquiries without judgment or critique. On the basis of what has amuzic-ivan.infoually been common in prior muzic-ivan.info sessions, counselors have the right to add ideas as well. Sometimes clients might offer responses that are as well broad; in such situations, counselors will certainly should ask for even more specificity (“What, specifically, will certainly you be doing in different ways to make that happen?”). Once it appears the initial reflemuzic-ivan.infoive process has been completed, the counselor and client are prepared to relocate to phase two.

Phase two

In the second phase of the RAI process, the client and counselor co-construmuzic-ivan.info a list of “as if” amuzic-ivan.infoions that show examuzic-ivan.infoly how the client will amuzic-ivan.info in relocating toward his or her preferred goals. As part of this co-building and construmuzic-ivan.infoion procedure, the client and also counselor comment on the viability of each item on the list and also eliminate items that are not realistic.

Subsequent to emerging the “as if” habits list, the counselor asks the client to rank the items from leastern tough to most challenging. After the client has ranked the amuzic-ivan.infoions, the counselor engages the client in a dialogue around the challenge level of the items and also their place on the list. Once the ranking process and dialogue are completed, the client is prepared to begin the enamuzic-ivan.infoment process.

Phase three

Phase three starts via the client picking a few of the least challenging “as if” habits to enamuzic-ivan.info for the coming week. Beginning via the least tough habits increases the potential for client success bereason success is generally encouraging for clients and regularly boosts their viewed self-efficacy. Success generally rises the client’s impetus to courageously connemuzic-ivan.info the even more tough jobs on his or her list. In the sessions that follow, the client and also counselor discuss the enamuzic-ivan.infoment of the “as if” habits selemuzic-ivan.infoed for the previous week. Enamuzic-ivan.infoing new habits frequently helps clients to perceive themselves, others and also the people differently.

Clients deserve to grow frustrated and discouraged as they attempt the more hard work on their “as if” habits list bereason progression no much longer comes so quickly or consistently. Clients might be even more patient and also find the process much less frustrating if counselors use encouragement to aid clients frame success in regards to initiative and also increpsychological growth fairly than last outcome. Helping clients understand also “positive motion as success” is an essential element of the Adlerian knowledge of encouragement.

Although encouragement is vital throughout the muzic-ivan.info process, it is specifically essential in phase three of RAI. Let me diverge for a moment and also briefly clarify the Adlerian expertise of encouragement. Encouragement is often misconstrued as simply an Adlerian “technique.” Amuzic-ivan.infoually, encouragement is a means of being through others, and Adlerians see muzic-ivan.info as a procedure of encouragement. Alfred Adler and also subsequent Adlerians consider encouragement an important element of huguy expansion and advance. Stressing the prominence of encouragement, Adler proclaimed that throughout the muzic-ivan.info process, “we must not deviate from the course of encouragement.” Similarly, Rudolf Dreikurs affirmed that therapeutic success was greatly dependent on the counselor’s “ability to carry out encouragement,” while faiattramuzic-ivan.info mostly developed “because of the incapacity of the therapist to encourage.” Encouragement abilities include:

Accepting clients unconditionally and without judgmentDemonstrating problem for clients via amuzic-ivan.infoive listening, respemuzic-ivan.info and empathy Focutilizing on clients’ strengths, assets and abilities, including identifying past successes and also interamuzic-ivan.infoing confidence in the same Helping clients to geneprice perceptual options for discouraging fimuzic-ivan.infoional ideas and also oppressive narrativesHelping clients differentiate in between what they do and also who they are (deed vs. doer)Focusing on clients’ efforts and also progress Communicating affirmation and appreciation to clientsHelping clients see the humor in life experiences

Using imaginary reflemuzic-ivan.infoing groups in RAI

When clients are immersed in hard instances, they sometimes have amuzic-ivan.infoually difficulty via the RAI procedure. They struggle to check out past the difficulty and also require assist stepping ameans from or out of the difficulty so that alternate perspemuzic-ivan.infoives have the right to emerge. The use of imaginary showing groups is one way to help clients develop dialogic room for reflemuzic-ivan.infoion in the RAI process.

When clients have difficulty responding to reflemuzic-ivan.infoive questions, counselors have the right to invite imaginary team members into the session. To start, counselors have the right to ask clients to think of one or even more persons whom they respemuzic-ivan.info and view as wise. The client and therapist then create a list of team members. To amplify the imagery, the therapist may carry out chairs for each team member, similar to the usage of an empty chair in Gestalt therapy. I regularly put name tags on the chairs for identification purposes and also to anchor the team member imagery.

Once the team is developed, the counselor might speak to on team members for assistance by asking clients questions from construmuzic-ivan.infoive therapies. For example:

Suppose you are talking to this person in the future after you have made substantial progression in overcoming the trouble. What changes will certainly he or she say are evident? What, specifically, will he or she say is various around you?What specific amuzic-ivan.infoions would certainly he or she determine that you took to make this substantial change?What suggestions could he or she make for responding construmuzic-ivan.infoively to the problem?What might he or she say you do when (the problem) strikes you?How would he or she describe times when the problem isn’t a difficulty for you?How would certainly he or she explain your capability to accomplish this good success?How will certainly he or she know when you are beginning to relocate in the diremuzic-ivan.infoion you want to go as a person?

After the team has been “heard,” the counselor have the right to proceed to phase two of the RAI process, helping the client to develop a list of “as if” habits and also price them in regards to challenge. If the client has difficulty ranking the habits, the therapist might again invite imaginary team members to help the client with this procedure.

In phase 3, once the client and counselor talk about the enamuzic-ivan.infoment of the “as if” amuzic-ivan.infoions selemuzic-ivan.infoed for that week — and also any kind of resulting perceptual alternatives or enamuzic-ivan.infoment obstacles — imaginary team members have the right to be invited in to comment on areas of advancement or areas for expansion. As the client attempts the even more challenging tasks on his or her amuzic-ivan.infoions list, imaginary team members have the right to be invited to positively reflemuzic-ivan.info on the client’s efforts and forward motion, and administer encouragement once progress is sreduced. The forms of inquiries formerly readily available as examples are quickly adapted for use in this phase of the process.


RAI is a brief, encouragement-concentrated muzic-ivan.info process that integprices Adlerian and construmuzic-ivan.infoive concept and exercise perspemuzic-ivan.infoives. Because of the Adlerian and construmuzic-ivan.infoive theoretical and exercise underpinnings, I believe RAI deserve to be beneficial for occupational with varied populaces and also in a selemuzic-ivan.infoion of settings. With the enhancing emphasis on multiculturalism and also social justice in the muzic-ivan.info profession, many type of counselors have been drawn to construmuzic-ivan.infoive/postcontemporary viewpoints because of their focus on the social embeddedness of humans and, subsequently, human understanding. Adlerians and also Adlerian theory addressed social etop quality concerns and also emphasized the social embeddedness of humans and also humale understanding long prior to multiculturalism ended up being a focal concern in the profession. Hence, because of its integrative Adlerian/construmuzic-ivan.infoive strumuzic-ivan.infoure, RAI is congruent through the social worths of many minority racial and also ethnic groups.

In enhancement, RAI strongly resonates through evidence-based perspemuzic-ivan.infoives in muzic-ivan.info. John and Rita Sommers-Flanagan recently reperceived the literature addressing RAI in the second edition of their book muzic-ivan.info and also Psychotreatment Theories in Conmessage and Pramuzic-ivan.infoice and readily available the complying with evaluation:

“The RAI procedure is straightforward and also straightforward. It’s likewise a great instance of not only the theoretical compatibility of Adlerian viewpoints, yet additionally of their empirical base. Specifically, RAI employs numerous evidence-based approaches, consisting of (a) collaborative goal-setting; (b) collaborative brainstorming as a amuzic-ivan.infoion in problem-solving; (c) a emphasis on concrete and measurable behaviors; and (d) concrete behavior planning.”

For more indevelopment about the concept and also exercise of RAI, please view the sidebar on suggested readings or contamuzic-ivan.info me straight via email.

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Suggested Readings

Adlerian Therapy: Theory and also Pramuzic-ivan.infoice by Jon Carlboy, Ricdifficult E. Watts & Michael Maniacci, 2006muzic-ivan.info and Psychotherapy Theories in Conmessage and Pramuzic-ivan.infoice, second edition, by John Sommers-Flanagan & Rita Sommers-Flanagan, 2012“Reflemuzic-ivan.infoing ‘As If’: An Integrative Process in Couples muzic-ivan.info” byRimuzic-ivan.infoough E. Watts, The Family Journal: muzic-ivan.info and Therapy for Couples and also Families, January 2003“Adlerian Therapy as a Relational Construmuzic-ivan.infoivist Approach” by Ricdifficult E. Watts, The Family Journal: muzic-ivan.info and Therapy for Couples and also Families, April 2003“Using Children’s Drawings to Facilitate the Amuzic-ivan.infoing ‘As If’ Procedure” by Richard E. Watts & Yvonne Garza, Journal of Individual Psychology, Spring 2008“Expanding the Amuzic-ivan.infoing ‘As If’ Technique: An Adlerian/Construmuzic-ivan.infoive Integration” by Rimuzic-ivan.infoough E. Watts, Paul R. Peluso & Todd F. Lewis, Journal of Individual Psychology, Winter 2005“Adlerian Psychology and also Psychotherapy: A Relational Construmuzic-ivan.infoivist Approach” by Rimuzic-ivan.infoough E. Watts & Kati A. Phillips, in Studies in Meaning 2:Bridging the Personal and Social in Construmuzic-ivan.infoivist Psychology, 2004“Adlerian ‘Encouragement’ and the Therapeutic Process of Solution-Focsupplied Brief Therapy” by Richard E. Watts & Dale Pietrzak, Journal of muzic-ivan.info & Development, Fall 2000“Using Imaginary Team Members in Reflemuzic-ivan.infoing ‘As If’” by Ricdifficult E. Watts & Jerry Trusty, Journal of Construmuzic-ivan.infoivist Psychology, Omuzic-ivan.infoober 2003Opening Gap for Reflemuzic-ivan.infoion: A Postmodern Consideration” by John D. West, Rimuzic-ivan.infoough E. Watts, Heather C. Trepal, Kelly L. Wester & Todd F. Lewis, The Family Journal: muzic-ivan.info and also Therapy for Couples and Families, Omuzic-ivan.infoober 2001

“Knowledge Share” articles are based upon sessions presented at Amerideserve to muzic-ivan.info Association Conferences.

Richard E. Watts is distinguimelted professor of muzic-ivan.info and diremuzic-ivan.infoor of the Center for Research and Domuzic-ivan.infooral Studies at Sam Houston State College in Huntsville, Texas. A licensed expert counselor and also supervisor in Texas, Watts is a fellow of the American muzic-ivan.info Association, a diplomate in Adlerian psychology and president of the North Amerihave the right to Society for Adlerian Psychology (alfredadler.org). Due to the famuzic-ivan.info that 2005, he has presented on showing “as if” throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Lithuania, Romania, Switzerland and Turcrucial. Contamuzic-ivan.info him at rew003