Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

Self-Mapping in Counselling: Using Memetic Maps to Enhance Client Reflectivity and Therapeutic Efficacy/Le Self-Mapping En Counselling : Utilisation De la Cartographie Mémétique Pour Améliorer la Réflectivité Du Client et L'efficacité Thérapeutique

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

Self-Mapping in Counselling: Using Memetic Maps to Enhance Client Reflectivity and Therapeutic Efficacy/Le Self-Mapping En Counselling : Utilisation De la Cartographie Mémétique Pour Améliorer la Réflectivité Du Client et L'efficacité Thérapeutique

Article excerpt

The self has been defined as a culturally mediated cognitive self-referencing representation that allows for reflection on one's spatial and temporal context (Donald, 2001; Harre, 1989; Mead, 1934; Seigel, 2005). The advantages of having such a self include volitional decision making (Caprara et ah, 1998), relational competence (Leahy & Shirk, 1985), and future orientation (Hermans & Hermans-Jansen, 1995). The costs of this consciousness include embarrassment, anxiety, depression, and knowledge of one's mortality (Leary, 2004). Internalized self-representations have been linked to problems of depression (Dozois & Dobson, 2001), suicidal ideation (Robertson, 2011), self-esteem (Lent, 2004), efficacy (Bandura, Barbaranelli, Caprara, & Pastorelli, 2001; Wiedenfeld et ah, 1990), and intimacy (Erikson, as quoted in Corey & Corey, 2003, p. 98). Grieving has been described as a process of building new or revised selves (Bridges, 1980, 2001), and the experience of Aboriginal children in church-run Indian residential schools has been described as an attempt to re-engineer the selves of those children (Robertson, 2006). Despite a plethora of such applications, little has been done to represent the self structurally. Counsellors working with clients' self-awareness, self-empowerment, self-esteem, or self-concept would find depictions of the self underlying such concepts potentially useful.

GRAPHIC SELF-REPRESENTATION IN PSYCHOLOGY, SOCIAL WORK, AND EDUCATION

Field theory, as developed by Lewin (1931), used play, emotion, speech, and expression to generate environmental and psychological indicators of future behaviour in children. Weighted vectors1 were produced, showing the influence of external and internal factors with the assumption that, if influencing factors were sufficiently understood as part of a dynamic process, behaviour could be accurately predicted. Subsequently, Lewin (1943) declared that field theory was not properly a theory but a method of analyzing causal relations. Further complexity was acknowledged through introducing and representing temporal dimensions of the psychological past, present, and anticipated future as understood by the individual.

Commenting on the problem of system complexity in the field of social work, Hartman (1995) argued that cognitive understandings are typically arranged as chains of simple cause and effect, but this reflects limitations of thought and language rather than the nature of the real world. She advocated using graphic representations to aid in understanding interrelated parts holistically. Resultant eco-maps are representations of the systems at play in a client's life with the ecological metaphor used to help professionals "see the client not as an isolated entity for study, but as a part of a complex ecological system" (Hartman, 1995, p. 113). Typically, a circle is placed at the centre of such self-maps and labelled "me." Members of the individual client's family system and other relevant interacting systems are connected to this "me" with lines coded to indicate relationship strength, stressful relationships, and direction of influence. Supplemental genograms are used to illustrate intergenerational family dynamics impacting the individual.

Self-maps in counselling and education have also connected a largely undefined self to surrounding forces influenced by internal perceptions. Cahill and Martland (1996) used such maps to illustrate the nature, causes, and possible resolutions of career problems. Internal forces impacting on career choice included existing aspirations and perceived weaknesses. Shepard and Marshall (1999) used the idea of mapping to illustrate possible future selves in goal-directed activities that included consideration of internal aspirations, values, and fears. Mind mapping in educational settings (Budd, 2004; Weeks, 2002) places the self-as-knower in a central position linked to known self-characteristics. Mind-mapping has also been used in cognitive-behavioural therapy to provide flexible holistic case summaries (Williams, Williams, & Appleton, 1997). …

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