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Sequentially Planned Integrative Counselling for Children Model Approach


The Sequentially Planned Integrative Cancelling for Children (SPICC) is a model developed to assist in child psychotherapy through five phases: applying theories to assist in counseling children with psychological distress. The purpose of the essay is to evaluate the theoretical framework of the SPICC, considering the strengths of the therapist model. The essay will discuss the assessment measures used in the SPICC therapy, explain the therapeutic relationship between the child and the therapist. The essay will reflect theories such as Erikson’s eight stages of development and how Erikson’s theory intermarries with SPICC to lead to a very effective theory.

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Evaluation of theoretical Framework

Geldard and Foo developed Sequentially Planned Integrative Counselling for Children (SPICC) to integrate integrative therapy into children and adolescents. SPICC enables therapies to children and adolescents in distress, allowing an interpersonal process that ensures clients to pursue recovery (Stein & Bartone, 2020). The use of SPICC includes integrating theoretical conceptions by applying practical strategies that facilitate the therapeutic changes among children and adolescents (Gola, 2016).

The SPICC model’s use proves that some of the therapeutic processes are more effective in achieving the set objectives in therapeutic processes than others. SPICC comprises five major phases; each phrase with different theoretical methods must be efficient and ensure integrity during the therapy process. All the SPICC model models reflect some similarities, which involve the process of being, person cantered, existential, and relationship-driven.

In the first phase of Spice, there is a need to provide assurance and safety for the child to ensure that they can speak and express themselves to the therapists. The children must understand that the therapist feels empathy for them to ensure they experience therapeutic interventions during the therapeutic process (Nortje, 2016).

Enabling the child to disclose information to the therapist is essential to enable the child to attain self-actualization. The therapists require to understand the level of a child or an adolescent and work towards meeting their needs at a certain level. An equitable relationship with a child is essential, and the therapist can enhance the relationship by forging play with the child (Erikson,994). The theoretical model establishes an interpersonal process that enables clients to resolve psychological problems. It is well known that the language to a child is playing.

The second phase of the SPICC includes using a child’s experiences to understand the events that currently take place in the child’s life. Gestalt therapy involves empowering the child to show their emotions, in which the child shows the shift in perception through thinking (Supriyadi, 2012). The child gets to talk about what is currently happening in their lives, making it easy for the therapists to understand. During Gestalt therapy, the child is requested to repeat and exaggerate a particular movement to ensure that the child is aware of a certain behavior or movement. By the end of the gestalt therapy, the child must be aware of particular sensations within the environment and themselves (Axline, 2010).

The third phase of the SPICC is narrative therapy; children start developing different perspectives and start working on self-perception improvement. Children start reconstructing stories of their problems using the narrative theory. The sand try is known to positively assist children in the imagination of a future through the expression of emotions as narrative theory leads to rewriting the past. During the fourth phase, the child engages in positive affirmations from the new experiences.

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Through Cognitive Behavior therapy, the child understands the need to review options regarding their consequences. On assisting the child in controlling their emotions, there is a need to ensure that they can eliminate unhelpful ways of thinking. CBT is an effective therapy for children as it focuses on behavior change, which may become the source of strength for children. The children understand how their emotions and thinking directly impact their behavior and acquire effective reasoning strategies. In the final phase of SPICC, the child adopts new behaviors and understands the consequences of the behaviors. When the child realizes that the new behaviors have positive consequences, they adopt new ways of behaviors.

The major strengths of the SPICC are that there is a paramount relationship between the child the therapist hence allowing children to feel free and open up. The therapist finds great ways to connect with the child hence the therapist can assist the child in connecting to a different world. The SPICC allows the therapist to place the adolescent or the child at a stage depending on the age and level of development. The Spice model ensues an aligned therapeutic process by ensuring conceptualization, ensuring client movement as the therapy leads to change. The models state a clear way to approach the client’s resistance during the process, making it easy to help the client.

The main limitation of the SPICC model is that not all professionals will easily embrace the therapeutic process in assisting children to overcome psychological problems. The most common limitation is that few professionals can fully attain expertise in the five phases of the SPICC model.

The Use of Assessment Measures

There is a need to ensure that therapists meet with the child’s parent before starting with the assessment process since the parent’s participation in the therapy process is essential. All parties’ contribution toward the assessment process contributes to a better understanding of the therapy requirements during the assessment process. Parents and psychological therapists require demonstrating transparency during the assessment procedure to make the therapy process easy and successful.

The assessment process is essential since it helps form the background of the information required for the required case formulation, hence understanding the causes of the psychological distress with a child. The assessment was done with due respect and lack of judgment to explore all the information required (Pope & Vasquez, 2016). When the therapists first meet with the parents, there is a need to agree and allow them to speak with the child to establish the relationship between the therapist and the child. Through the question that a child asks the therapist during the assessment, the therapist can help them understand why the child is in the therapy.

Genograms are a good assessment procedure that facilitates engagement with a child, expands the capacity to grasp information from clients, and is easily used by the therapist to understand the different family institutions. The Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire assess’ hyperactivity, emotional symptoms, and peer problems among adolescents and involve a brief screening questionnaire. The SDQ is mainly for children aged between 3 to 16 years of age (Hoosen, 2018). A young person’s CORE Form assessment involves monitoring any changes resulting from the counselling and psychotherapy (Geldard & Geldard, 2009). The CORE outcome has instruments used to measure trauma, depression, and physical problems among young people.

The Therapeutic Relationship

In the SPICC, nothing can happen between the therapist and the child without a consistent relationship and understanding. The therapist must find a profound way of connecting with the child to feel safe and free to explore. If the child finds acknowledgment with the therapist, they can open about their concerns and the issues that bother them. The therapist requires to ensure confidentiality by setting some boundaries. They get therapeutic assistance when they open up, which occurs only when the relationship with the therapist deeply grows; children give experimental pieces of their stories attached to emotions making the therapy attain their objectives easier. Interrupt

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During the therapy and creation of a connection between the therapist and the child, the reference frame should be from the child. During sessions, family members should not interfere or compromise the sessions through unwanted introductions. The therapist must avoid emotional attachment with the child but can ensure emotional involvement during the conversation. Counseling the child and attaining self-actualization requires to be the main goals of the therapy.

Child therapy is conducted differently from adults since the adults can answer relevant questions directly with clients, unlike children who require one to play tricks and create a relationship before they can open up to the therapist. To understand an adult’s experience, the therapist can have the client lying on the couch, talk about their past experiences and take notes regarding the same. Most children are uneasy and cannot sit in one place telling a consistent story as they get bored quickly, especially when talking about themselves. Children do not understand much about their past, unlike adults making their therapeutic sessions different.

The children’s psychological problems can only be identified through the language of play hence the need for therapists to create a conducive environment for the child to feel free and open. Through games and playing with toys, acting, or any art, children express the happenings in their lives. When working with a child, the level of expertise determines how the therapist understands the child’s psychological problems. For the adults, the level of therapy effectiveness depends on the extent to which clients decide to open up.

There is a high need to create a therapeutic relationship with children and teens; therapists must understand the strategies to facilitate the children’s easier learning. The therapies can understand their nonverbal behaviors, for example, through tapping their hands see their response. The need to respect the children or teens’ silence some of the clients might have had their privacy violated before and are afraid of the same issue reoccurring (Jones-Smith,2012).

The major challenge therapists face when dealing with the adolescent is that some teens are egocentric and may act differently when dealing with their counselors (Fourie & Van der Merwe, 2019). Some adolescent may not be willing to open up, leading to difficulties in the counseling sessions. The major challenge of a therapeutic relationship with children involves high expectations from parents, compromising the relationship between the therapist and the child.

Developmental Considerations

The theories of human development such as Erikson, Maslow, Piaget, Bowlby, and Kohlberg state that all humans can solve their problems. Through a person’s life, humans achieve competencies through resolutions from the different problems achieved. The Erikson theory applications help children gain strength in their ego through personal identity; hence failing to complete the states of development may require a child to undergo therapy (Orenstein & Lewis, 2020). Using the Erikson theory, one may understand why some children may act insecure, why other children seem to experience shame, guilt, inferiority, confusion, and isolation.;

From the Ericson eight stages of development, understanding that a child might have mistrust at the infancy stage may result from neglect from caregivers requiring parents to show assurance to the child when need be. For children who experience shame at the toddlerhood stage, the caregivers may advise them to stop discouraging them. (Syed & McLean, 2017). Some children that feel criticized for pursuing their dreams may feel guilty at the stage thereof development, at the preschool years hence the need to assure the children. In the early school years, the teenagers became fully aware of themselves, and those that do not achieve certain aspects of their lives may feel inferior (Maree, 2020).

Some children may experience a weak sense of self-worth at the adolescent stage and lead to confusion in their lives. The Erickson theory assists therapists in understanding the psychological distress caused by the preliminary stages of development (Elliott, 2016). One of the therapy models that marry well with the SPICC is the Erikson’s since each stage of development explains the psychological distress that can be attained if the child misses a certain stage. Piaget and Kohlberg stated that children acquire behaviors at specific places in their development (Oaklander, 2007). Through understanding, the development of a child depends on the environmental adaptations, Piaget theory. Therapists guide people on the relevant developmental processes that children.

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The attachment theory by Bowlby explains the four faces of attachment that occur between a child and care giver during the initial stages of development. The four stages of attachment are pre attachment, attachment in making, clear cut and formation of reciprocal relationship (Chan, 2017).

The therapists use the application of the attachment theory to recognize the problems that children and adolescents encounter. Children who have attachment issues may experience problems relating to other children, hurt others through bullying, fear ‘’strangers, avoid eye contact, and lack affection to their caregivers (Geldard & Geldard, 2010). The therapists involve parents in the child’s development, making the parents understand the need to provide children with a sense of security during the early stages of development. Infants require to know that their caregivers are dependable when the need arises.

Ethical Considerations

Parents require an understanding of the different steps involved in the therapeutic processes of their children. The relationship between a child and the therapist must understand the client better; hence, therapists need to maintain confidentiality when working with children and adolescents. Some of the unique dilemmas experienced by therapists include high expectations from parents that might interfere with the therapeutic process (Landreth G. 2012). Some therapists may encounter a problem when trying to understand a child’s goals and the parent’s goal on their child.

All parties involved in the therapeutic process need to understand how consent and permission are managed; the children involved in therapy must understand how the data given will be kept private (Knight, 2017). Therapists require to use simple terms when explaining to clients to understand better and ensure full consents of all the practices in the therapeutic process. Informed consent is essential during counseling with adolescents and parents of a child. It helps clients understand federal laws associated with failure to protect the information given to the therapists and by the client (Geldard & Geldard, 2013).

The child protection legislation governs children wellbeing through by ensuring children rights violation does not take place. The therapeutic process that leads to child abuse of any nature may face charges from the Child Protection Legislation; hence therapists need to ensure all legal processes adherence during the therapist process (Alderson & Morrow, 2020). The relationship between the therapist, the child, and the caregiver is circulating during the therapeutic process. The therapist needs to communicate with the caregiver regarding the counseling process’s outcome and advise the caregiver regarding different aspects of life.


The theoretical evaluation of the SPICC model illustrates how the model works well, ensuring a therapeutic process for children and adolescents. There is a clear indication of how the therapist needs to ensure application of the first principle of the therapy, which involves setting a relationship with the client. The SPICC model explains how therapists need to spend time with children, involve the caregivers through assessments, apply the most revenant psychological theories, and ensure ethical considerations when counseling children and adolescents. The SPICC model shows that children and adolescents may require interventions from a therapist to attain certain goals in their lives even after encountering some psychological distress in their lives.


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