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4 Areas of Focus for Counseling

Book cover for "Garden Your Mind"

4 Areas for Counseling & Therapy Work

  • Garden will teach you an easy and effective system of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

“We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation.” —Jim Rohn

4 Areas: Coping, Problem-Solving, Perspective-Taking, Original Identity

  • There are four primary areas that should be addressed in counseling.
  • Easy to hard is based on the amount of work required, not the difficult
  • You can rate your counseling experience on how well each of these four areas is explored and resolved.
  • You can rate your counseling skill on how well you address each of these four areas.

List of 4 Areas by Name

  1. Coping
  2. Problem-Solving
  3. Perspective-Taking
  4. Original Identity

1. Coping Area for Counseling Focus

  • Coping is a good place to start because people often come into counseling because their limited set of coping skills is not working.
  • Coping is the easiest and most straightforward area to explore and develop in counseling.
  • Learning to cope is learning to accept reality as it is.
  • Coping is acceptance.
  • Coping as a response is opposite to the response of using a defense mechanism. For more information on defense mechanisms, see 32 Defense Mechanism Including Freud’s 12.

Fix It or Accept It

  • Coping also involves the choice to stop with acceptance or to proceed on to problem-solving.
  • Yes, you must accept a problem in order to be able to properly fix it. Instead of painting over the water spots on your ceiling, you might want to first accept, find, and fix the leak in your roof.

See “The Two Healthy Options” for more information on when to choose problem-solving.

These books will help you learn to cope:

More Resources for Coping

2. Problem-Solving Area for Counseling Focus

  • Problem-solving is needed when you can help fix problems.
  • Problem-solving is a skill that people are not born with and that few teach.
  • Problem-solving can be taught as a series of steps.
  • Improving your thinking skills helps with problem problem-solving.

5 Simple Steps for Problem-Solving

  1. Research solutions.
  2. Practice a solution.
  3. Evaluate its success.
  4. Redo or refine the solution.
  5. Or, pick a new solution.

More Resources on Problem-Solving

3. Perspective-Taking Area for Counseling Focus

  • Perspective-taking is a skill that can be taught and learned with practice.

2 Types of Perspective-Taking

(1) You find alternative views of something (at least five always exist).

  • Different views of a problem allow you to understand how the problem is seen or understood by others.
  • The 5TP Teaches the skill of finding different views for problems or issues.
  • The 5TP is the easiest and best model for learning to look at things from different points of view.
  • Read Discovery Demands 5TP to learn more about perspective-taking as a skill.

(2) You find different ways to approach the problem without lying about what the problem is.

  • Different approaches to a problem allow you to choose different ways to deal with the problem.
  • Different approaches require different attitudes.

Different Approaches (not just different views)

Instead of blaming or whining, you cope. Instead of just coping, you find a way to use the problem to your advantage.

  • You do not pretend the problem is not what it is, but you do find out how to best approach the problem.
  • How can I use the problem to my advantage? This is not pretending the problem is not a problem or is a gift.
  • “I can learn from this.” Not, “This is a lesson sent to me.”
  • “I can make the most of this.” Not, “This is a gift.”

Yes, you can be grateful that you have an alcoholic history because that is how you found spirituality. However, this does not make your alcoholic history into something good.

Some Questions for a Different Approach

  • How to make the problem less bad?
  • How to make a new use for the problem?
  • How to make the problem into a partial advantage?

Some Attitudes for a Different Approach

  • I will not change or lie about what the problem is.
  • I will not pretend away the problem.
  • I will choose to learn, benefit, or find a use for the problem.

4. Original Identity Area for Counseling Focus

  • Your original identity is the one you had as a little child. It was your true identity.
  • You are only authentic when you identify with your actual being.

Help Clear Your Mind of False Identities

  • Learn and practice the main REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) principles of USA (unconditional self-acceptance), UOA (unconditional other acceptance), and ULA (unconditional life acceptance).
  • Remember nothing is about you because nearly everything is about your ego and others’ ego for you.
  • Remember the story of life is not about you.
  • Stop trying to know, do, or be something.
  • Unlearn your self-esteem and self-talk habits of fantasizing about being things and thoughts.
  • Reduce your ego drives, games, and needs.

Help Re-owning Your Authentic Self

  • Relearn your old self-hosting habits. You are the container, not the contents.
  • Be your authentic self, which means act more spontaneously.
  • Be real, which means to be honest and direct.
  • Say what you think and feel or wait to talk later.
  • Mean what you say or don’t say it.
  • Do what you say you will do or don’t say you will do it.
  • Be true to yourself, which means to keep honest about your intentions and desires.
  • “This above all: to thine own self be true,” Hamlet, William Shakespeare. Here are 32 ways you deceive yourself.
  • Return to natural-self experiences (remember and recreate).
  • Learn about your vessel nature (Read Self: Who Am I?)

3 Books Will Help You with Understanding & Reducing Your Ego

  1. Mind Your Ego
  2. Games Ego Plays
  3. Journal Journey from Ego


  • People who can cope are happier and do better in life since life is full of changes and challenges.
  • People who can problem-solve lead more successful lives both at work and at home because problems are fixed when possible.
  • People who have mastered perspective-taking can live fully and peacefully in any time or situation and thereby help others to do so too.
  • People who have their right Identity can be content being who they are without having to prove anything to anyone. Authentic people can stand before God, but phonies and pretenders cannot.