Sociodynamic Counselling Overview


What Is

SocioDynamic Counselling is a contemporary form of counselling comprised of three interrelated components:

 1.  A Constructivist Perspective on Society and Self
 2.  A Philosophy of Helping
 3.  Counselling practices based on 1 & 2

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SocioDynamic Counselling is based on the assumptions that:

 1.  Selves and personal identities are evolving configurations of stories, meanings and practices
 2.  Selves are dynamic and constantly altering and re-organizing in relation to contexts in which they are embedded
 3.  Individuals and contexts within which they reside are subject to slow, evolutionary change and to precipitous, unpredictable change as well
 4.  Communication - in the form of speaking and listening, visualizing, and writing and reading - make up the principal "cultural tools" for constructing selves, meaning, and social life; and for getting things done in social life.

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SocioDynamic Counselling is organized around the principle of
"self creation"

SocioDynamic Counselling is organized around the principle of "self creation." Self, relationships and society are viewed as constructed (co-constructed). Construction takes place through communication, by visualizing what is possible in the future, and by active engagement with others and the material world.

Imagine - Desire - Act is the empowering formula for self-creation and for moving toward goals in life.

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"Cultural Tools"
not "Psychological Techniques"

People "make" their self-identities and resolve their existential concerns through dialogue, story-telling, and through quided participation using mental and technical tools available in the culture. To a large extent the concept of "cultural tool" replaces the concept of "psychological technique" in the SocioDynamic Counselling method.

Communication and culture produce each other. The counselling process is an interactional achievement of social actors operating within the reciprocating contexts of communication and culture.

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SocioDynamic Counselling is a philosophical response to the human need for personal help

Pico della Mirandola's question: "How should I fashion my life?" is an organizing idea in SocioDynamic Counselling. This is a question embedded in most existential and moral concerns that help-seekers bring to counsellors. It is a philosophical question requiring a philosophical response and genuine dialogue.

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Literary Models
for developing human
understanding are used in SocioDynamic

In addition to philosophical concepts, SocioDynamic Counselling utilizes literary models such as "story," "narrative," "self-authoring," "dialogue," "voice," "metaphor," and "autobiographical self" as tools for describing individuals and their activities.

The problems encountered in understanding and constructing life narratives and relationships are approached, negotiated and understood by applying philosophical, literary, and other cultural tools to the problems presented.

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Ongoing life experience and personal knowledge of the existential situation are the starting points
for most counselling

The SocioDynamic perspective anchors understanding and solution-seeking in the everyday experience of the individual; in the communication space between individuals; in the material aspects of culture; ways of communicating; rituals; the body; and various social practices.

This implies a recognition that culture cannot be separated from either communication or from the geographical, biological and ecological material facts in which culture and individual are situated.

Individuals are social beings and counselling is a culturally defined social practice.

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A practical definition
of SocioDynamic Counselling

In practical terms, SocioDynamic Counselling is a general method of life planning. It is a method of helping individuals to clarify and articulate their reasons for acting, and to reorganize their life activities so as to better achieve goals that they decide upon.

SocioDynamic Counselling is a joint activity (counsellor and help-seeker) in response to the basic question: "How should I fashion my life?," with reference to some troubling aspect of the person's life space.

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SocioDynamic Counselling
is a holistic method of helping

The SocioDynamic encounter is construed as a help-producing meeting between one person and another. "Help-producing" implies respect for various versions of self - each of which is considered "whole" when presented in the counselling situation.

Working self, relational self, embodied self, spiritual self, learning self, and creative self are all considered important versions of self-identity and should not be disregarded or devalued in the counselling encounter. Counselling always has a focus determined largely by the life experience or concern presented by the help seeker. The SocioDynamic counsellor should be careful not to accept responsibility for those aspects of the person's life that lie outside the counsellor's experience and professional knowledge.

However, the counsellor should remain open to the "fullness of being" of the other and should not quickly attempt to reduce the other to a segment, fragment, diagnostic category or mandated client for reasons of efficiency, turf, or counsellor disinterest.

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