In psychology, psychoanalysis is a specific
psychodynamic theory and therapy that explains personality in terms of
consciousness and unconsciousness. Sigmund Freud developed the psychodynamic theory early in the 20th
century conferring that personality consists of the id, the superego, and the
ego. The id is responsible for a person’s instincts and pleasure seeking, the
superego attempts to obey the rules of authority and society, and the ego intermediates
between the id and superego to meet the demands of society. Freud’s theory
claims that childhood experiences shape personality and that tapping into these
repressed experiences could reveal unconscious thoughts and desires. The purpose
of psychoanalytic therapy is to release
bottled-up emotions and experiences and to help the patient adopt an awareness
into his or her unconscious. According to Freud, people suppress their “weaknesses, motives, pressures, instincts,
guilt, fantasies, and desires” (Freud et al., 1981). He also believed
that individuals must unravel, experience, and understand their true, suppressed
feelings to understand them. Although it is the oldest kind of psychodynamic
therapy, Classical psychoanalysis is now the least commonly practiced kind of
psychodynamic therapy because of its intense demands on the patients’ time and emotions.
Because of the high emotional demands, psychoanalysis is not usually recommended
for patients suffering from severe depression, substance dependency, disorders
of aggression, or schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Although therapy
is not recommended for these patients, some people suffering from these disorders
could find relief from psychoanalysis after their disorder has been minimized. Patients who could find great success with
psychoanalytic therapy include people with conflicts that are deeply embedded
into their personality such as people with “mild depression, character
disorders, neurotic conflicts, and chronic relationship problems.” Potential patients for this
therapy should have the ability to relate to the therapist to form an effective
working relationship called a therapeutic alliance. It is recommended that
these patients are able to “tolerate frustration, sadness and other painful
emotions that will be brought to consciousness during treatment and they must
be able to distinguish between reality and fantasy” (Blass 2003). Opponents to psychodynamic
theories claim the theories lack supporting scientific data.
psychoanalytic therapists, cognitive therapists seek to change meanings that
are unconscious, however, they do not use the term “unconscious” in the
psychoanalytic sense of “defensively repressed.” Rather, cognitive therapists
assume that unconscious thoughts are unnoticed because they are fleeting, like eye
blinks. Cognitive therapies are designed to provide patients with new
information about themselves and new ways of conceptualizing their experiences.
Since all mental illnesses have behavioral manifestations and behavioral change
is a major factor of therapeutic success, cognitive therapy focusses overtly on
helping patients change troublesome behavior. Patients who practice this
approach use imagery and self-instruction to alter their attitude and
perception in difficult situations. (Beck 1970) cites as an example of the
behavioral approach as a “man who felt anxious every time he saw a dog, even a
chained one or a puppy, because he has the fleeting, barely conscious thought, ‘He
is going to bite me'”. Cognitive therapists believe that bringing automatic
thoughts like the one of this man to the forefront of consciousness will allow
patients to recognize the irrationality of their fears. Patients who experience
the most success with this approach are people who suffer from anxiety
disorders, stress, extreme guilt, phobias, and emotional negativity. This
therapy is goal oriented so, therapists generally set therapeutic goals for
their patients that can be resolved in 12 to 16 sessions. (Frank, 1991)
Like cognitive approach, the
behavioral approach is also a short term, goal oriented approach (Chambless et al.,
1996). However, behaviorism is concerned with
how environmental factors (called stimuli) affect observable behavior (called
the response). The behaviorist approach proposes
two main processes whereby people learn from their environment: namely
classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Success in behavioral therapy
is much attributed to the educated interaction between the therapist and
patient. Sloane et al. (1975) found that
patients in behavior therapy who reported more improvement also experienced
their therapists as more warm, genuine, and empathic, a finding that is usually
like the perceptions of patients who improved in psychoanalytically oriented
treatment. Ultimately, the therapist expects the patient to learn which
aspects of therapy were most of beneficial and in the event of a reoccurrence
the patient can use the skills learned to limit the severity and duration of symptoms
without needing formal therapy (Emmelkamp 1986). Behavioral
therapist can help treat mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder,
as well as anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, obsessive compulsive
disorder, social phobia disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. It can also
be used to treat eating disorders schizophrenia substance abuse and various
other personality disorders. Low patient motivation can impede progress in both
the behavioral and cognitive methods, especially if the patient has a fear of
the treatment. Patients who have positive beliefs about their disorder needs
special intervention like schizophrenic patients’ delusions that they are
speaking to a divine being. Even when motivation is present, self-monitoring
might be too demanding a task for a person with severe intellectual impairment.
Behavioral methods may be more appropriate for these individuals than cognitive
strategies. Psychopaths might also have difficulty with certain cognitive interventions
when performing a goal directed task. (Newman et al., 1997)
approach is the most popular of therapeutic methods due to its humane, and
unintimidating style. Most therapists who practice other approaches will also employ
humanistic techniques to make patients more comfortable. The humanistic method
says that humans are rational, social, and constructive. It also states that
humans have potential to be self-actualized and that people are trustworthy and
only want to be free of defensiveness. This method creates a positive view of
human nature that simply put, says people are inherently good and they can
reach their full potential once defense mechanisms are taken away. Because of
this view, humanistic therapists strive to make their patients comfortable
enough to be able to reach self-actualization. Therapists do this by assuring
patients that as a therapist, they will not judge them morally or
scientifically. The overall goal of humanistic therapy is to help patients
build a well rounded sense of self. It also aims to help patients understand
their emotions. opponents to this method
believe it has is “no objective good” because “there is an obvious moral
danger in promoting strength of will as a sign of mental health because it is
morally neutral and could be used for evil.” (Castellano 2001) Freudians would
not share a humanistic view because they believe in tragically flawed human
nature. However, proponents believe the therapist’s role is not to judge whether the patient is morally
good, but to help the patient see himself as his own motivation in his own life.
The therapist will not take this
too far; for example, he wouldn’t nod in approval if the client thought about
committing murder, but he might not intervene for personal matters such as
divorce or abortion. So, although the humanistic approach is supposed to
be against imposing moral values, by selecting when to intervene and when not
to do so, the therapist implicitly projects a set of values onto the
patient. (Castellano 2001)
sites an example
that “when a Hindu expressed his anxieties in the context of his belief in fate
and reincarnation, his therapist encouraged him to see himself as the proactive
force in his life. The therapist claimed that he had treated the Hindu while
respecting his religion, when in fact he had undermined the philosophy upon
which most forms of Hinduism rest.” Because of incidents like this many opponents
believe it can be believed that humanistic therapy is culturally neutral. However,
in western culture there has been great success in using a humanistic approach
with patients suffering from
depression, substance abuse,
anxiety disorders, panic disorders, eating disorders, body-image issues,
relationship issues and low self-esteem.
can be used to solve many problems located in the human subconscious. Depending
on what disorder the patient has will determine the kind of therapy they should
have. In a lot of cases having to do with mental illnesses, patients are turned
to using drugs prescribed by a doctor. Whether it be depression, bipolar
disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, doctors will prescribe them with medication
that is suppose to aid their illness. Now that may help, but therapy is shown
to provide long term results over the medication. Therapists are known to build
trust with every client. As humans we are social beings. Every person needs
communication and social interaction. It is also hard for some people to
communicate effectively. This can lead to them bottling up their emotions. With
therapy there is now a safe space for patients to really find what is hidden in
their subconscious. Therapy is also effective for phobias and self doubt.
Phobias and not knowing self worth come from deep within the mind. Most people
do not know where the problem originally sprouted from. It is the hands of the
therapists to go back and try to find the source of the problem. In many cases
phobias can even be overcome with therapy. As well as overcoming self doubt.
Therapy not only is cost-effective, but the chance of a relapse occurring is
very low. Psychotherapy should be applied before trying any medication method.
Being dependent on a drug is not actually fixing the problem itself, but more
muting the problem. If therapy is applied the patient can get to the real
source of the problem and have actual help with overcoming it.
person who has suffered with bipolar depression the kind of therapy I would
more than likely use is the cognitive approach. Cognitive therapy helps with
learning more about the person you are. It is designed more for mental
imbalances. Bipolar depression comes with times of lows and highs. The lows are
where the depression comes from. The highs are known as manic periods. When
going through a manic period it is common to act out. Whether it be staying out
partying, substance abuse, and or participating in risky sexual behaviors, us
diagnosed tend to act out of our character. Each high and low can last for
days, weeks, months depending on the circumstances. Cognitive approach helps
the patients stop their troublesome behavior. It teaches them new ways to deal
with their manic periods and turn it into productive outcomes. As well as with
depression it helps the patients see the brighter side.
all methods of therapy work well for each patient, I personally would not stray
to anything other than cognitive therapy. Psychoanalytic approach is known to
not work well for people with the depression, and bipolar disorder. It can work
for some, but is not recommended until after the crisis has been resolved.
Behavioral approach does not seem to interest me either. Behavioral therapy is
focused around one’s environment. This may work for some, however, I rather
know what is happening within myself. My disorder comes from within myself. It
is not caused from the environment around me. Some cases if a person is being
abused I can see how the behavioral approach could work. For someone like me
who deals with conflict all on my own I do not see it being beneficial. Now the
last therapy, humanistic sounds appealing at first. I considered that one at as
much as I considered cognitive. They both deal with one’s inner being. The part
that pushed me to cognitive was that therapists using humanistic approach
project a set of values on the patient. I like my own moral values. Therapy
should be more listening and helping get inside the mind where one cannot reach
themselves. I do not believe in implicating one’s values on another. A
therapist should remain unbiased to their clients morals. Respecting the
patient’s views and not pushing their personal views onto them.
Frank, J. D., & Frank, J. (1991). Persuasion and healing:
A comparative study of psychotherapy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Beck, A. T. (1970). Cognitive therapy: Nature and
relation to behavior therapy. Behavior Therapy, 1, 184-200.
Blass, R. B. “On Ethical Issues at the Foundation of the Debate Over the Goals of Psychoanalysis.” International Journalof Psychoanalysis 84 (August 2003): 929-943.
Sloane, R.B., Staples, E R., Cristol, A. H., Yorkston, A.H. & Whipple, K.
(1975). Short-Term Analytically Oriented Psychotherapy vs. Behavior Therapy.
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Emmelkamp, P. M. G. (1986). Behavior therapy with adults. In S. Garfield &
A. Bergin (Eds.),Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change (3rd ed.).
Wiley, New York.
Chambless, D. et al. (1996). An update on empirically validated therapies.
Clinical Psychologist, 49, 5-18.
Newman, J. P., Schmitt, W. A., and Voss, W. D.
(1997). The impact of motivationally neutral cues in psychopath is individuals:
assessing the generality of the response modulation hypothesis. Journal of
abnormal psychology, 106, 563-75.
Castellano, D. J.
of Humanistic Psychotherapy. Retrieved November 16, 2017, from
Freud; A. Bernstein and G. Warner,
An Introduction to Contemporary Psychoanalysis (1981)