In psychology, psychoanalysis is a specificpsychodynamic theory and therapy that explains personality in terms ofconsciousness and unconsciousness.
Sigmund Freud developed the psychodynamic theory early in the 20thcentury conferring that personality consists of the id, the superego, and theego. The id is responsible for a person’s instincts and pleasure seeking, thesuperego attempts to obey the rules of authority and society, and the ego intermediatesbetween the id and superego to meet the demands of society. Freud’s theoryclaims that childhood experiences shape personality and that tapping into theserepressed experiences could reveal unconscious thoughts and desires. The purposeof psychoanalytic therapy is to releasebottled-up emotions and experiences and to help the patient adopt an awarenessinto his or her unconscious. According to Freud, people suppress their “weaknesses, motives, pressures, instincts,guilt, fantasies, and desires” (Freud et al., 1981). He also believedthat individuals must unravel, experience, and understand their true, suppressedfeelings to understand them. Although it is the oldest kind of psychodynamictherapy, Classical psychoanalysis is now the least commonly practiced kind ofpsychodynamic therapy because of its intense demands on the patients’ time and emotions.
Because of the high emotional demands, psychoanalysis is not usually recommendedfor patients suffering from severe depression, substance dependency, disordersof aggression, or schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Although therapyis not recommended for these patients, some people suffering from these disorderscould find relief from psychoanalysis after their disorder has been minimized. Patients who could find great success withpsychoanalytic therapy include people with conflicts that are deeply embeddedinto their personality such as people with “mild depression, characterdisorders, neurotic conflicts, and chronic relationship problems.” Potential patients for thistherapy should have the ability to relate to the therapist to form an effectiveworking relationship called a therapeutic alliance. It is recommended thatthese patients are able to “tolerate frustration, sadness and other painfulemotions that will be brought to consciousness during treatment and they mustbe able to distinguish between reality and fantasy” (Blass 2003). Opponents to psychodynamictheories claim the theories lack supporting scientific data.
Likepsychoanalytic therapists, cognitive therapists seek to change meanings thatare unconscious, however, they do not use the term “unconscious” in thepsychoanalytic sense of “defensively repressed.” Rather, cognitive therapistsassume that unconscious thoughts are unnoticed because they are fleeting, like eyeblinks. Cognitive therapies are designed to provide patients with newinformation about themselves and new ways of conceptualizing their experiences.
Since all mental illnesses have behavioral manifestations and behavioral changeis a major factor of therapeutic success, cognitive therapy focusses overtly onhelping patients change troublesome behavior. Patients who practice thisapproach use imagery and self-instruction to alter their attitude andperception in difficult situations. (Beck 1970) cites as an example of thebehavioral approach as a “man who felt anxious every time he saw a dog, even achained one or a puppy, because he has the fleeting, barely conscious thought, ‘Heis going to bite me'”. Cognitive therapists believe that bringing automaticthoughts like the one of this man to the forefront of consciousness will allowpatients to recognize the irrationality of their fears. Patients who experiencethe most success with this approach are people who suffer from anxietydisorders, stress, extreme guilt, phobias, and emotional negativity. Thistherapy is goal oriented so, therapists generally set therapeutic goals fortheir patients that can be resolved in 12 to 16 sessions. (Frank, 1991)Like cognitive approach, thebehavioral approach is also a short term, goal oriented approach (Chambless et al.,1996).
However, behaviorism is concerned withhow environmental factors (called stimuli) affect observable behavior (calledthe response). The behaviorist approach proposestwo main processes whereby people learn from their environment: namelyclassical conditioning and operant conditioning. Success in behavioral therapyis much attributed to the educated interaction between the therapist andpatient. Sloane et al. (1975) found thatpatients in behavior therapy who reported more improvement also experiencedtheir therapists as more warm, genuine, and empathic, a finding that is usuallylike the perceptions of patients who improved in psychoanalytically orientedtreatment. Ultimately, the therapist expects the patient to learn whichaspects of therapy were most of beneficial and in the event of a reoccurrencethe patient can use the skills learned to limit the severity and duration of symptomswithout needing formal therapy (Emmelkamp 1986).
Behavioraltherapist can help treat mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder,as well as anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, obsessive compulsivedisorder, social phobia disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. It can alsobe used to treat eating disorders schizophrenia substance abuse and variousother personality disorders. Low patient motivation can impede progress in boththe behavioral and cognitive methods, especially if the patient has a fear ofthe treatment. Patients who have positive beliefs about their disorder needsspecial intervention like schizophrenic patients’ delusions that they arespeaking to a divine being. Even when motivation is present, self-monitoringmight be too demanding a task for a person with severe intellectual impairment.Behavioral methods may be more appropriate for these individuals than cognitivestrategies. Psychopaths might also have difficulty with certain cognitive interventionswhen performing a goal directed task.
(Newman et al., 1997)The humanisticapproach is the most popular of therapeutic methods due to its humane, andunintimidating style. Most therapists who practice other approaches will also employhumanistic techniques to make patients more comfortable. The humanistic methodsays that humans are rational, social, and constructive. It also states thathumans have potential to be self-actualized and that people are trustworthy andonly want to be free of defensiveness. This method creates a positive view ofhuman nature that simply put, says people are inherently good and they canreach their full potential once defense mechanisms are taken away. Because ofthis view, humanistic therapists strive to make their patients comfortableenough to be able to reach self-actualization. Therapists do this by assuringpatients that as a therapist, they will not judge them morally orscientifically.
The overall goal of humanistic therapy is to help patientsbuild a well rounded sense of self. It also aims to help patients understandtheir emotions. opponents to this methodbelieve it has is “no objective good” because “there is an obvious moraldanger in promoting strength of will as a sign of mental health because it ismorally neutral and could be used for evil.” (Castellano 2001) Freudians wouldnot share a humanistic view because they believe in tragically flawed humannature.
However, proponents believe the therapist’s role is not to judge whether the patient is morallygood, but to help the patient see himself as his own motivation in his own life.The therapist will not take thistoo far; for example, he wouldn’t nod in approval if the client thought aboutcommitting murder, but he might not intervene for personal matters such asdivorce or abortion. So, although the humanistic approach is supposed tobe against imposing moral values, by selecting when to intervene and when notto do so, the therapist implicitly projects a set of values onto thepatient. (Castellano 2001)sites an examplethat “when a Hindu expressed his anxieties in the context of his belief in fateand reincarnation, his therapist encouraged him to see himself as the proactiveforce in his life. The therapist claimed that he had treated the Hindu whilerespecting his religion, when in fact he had undermined the philosophy uponwhich most forms of Hinduism rest.
” Because of incidents like this many opponentsbelieve it can be believed that humanistic therapy is culturally neutral. However,in western culture there has been great success in using a humanistic approachwith patients suffering fromdepression, substance abuse,anxiety disorders, panic disorders, eating disorders, body-image issues,relationship issues and low self-esteem.Therapycan be used to solve many problems located in the human subconscious. Dependingon what disorder the patient has will determine the kind of therapy they shouldhave. In a lot of cases having to do with mental illnesses, patients are turnedto using drugs prescribed by a doctor.
Whether it be depression, bipolardisorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, doctors will prescribe them with medicationthat is suppose to aid their illness. Now that may help, but therapy is shownto provide long term results over the medication. Therapists are known to buildtrust with every client. As humans we are social beings. Every person needscommunication and social interaction. It is also hard for some people tocommunicate effectively. This can lead to them bottling up their emotions.
Withtherapy there is now a safe space for patients to really find what is hidden intheir subconscious. Therapy is also effective for phobias and self doubt.Phobias and not knowing self worth come from deep within the mind. Most peopledo not know where the problem originally sprouted from. It is the hands of thetherapists to go back and try to find the source of the problem. In many casesphobias 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 isvery low. Psychotherapy should be applied before trying any medication method.Being dependent on a drug is not actually fixing the problem itself, but moremuting the problem. If therapy is applied the patient can get to the realsource of the problem and have actual help with overcoming it. As aperson who has suffered with bipolar depression the kind of therapy I wouldmore than likely use is the cognitive approach.
Cognitive therapy helps withlearning more about the person you are. It is designed more for mentalimbalances. Bipolar depression comes with times of lows and highs. The lows arewhere the depression comes from. The highs are known as manic periods. Whengoing through a manic period it is common to act out.
Whether it be staying outpartying, substance abuse, and or participating in risky sexual behaviors, usdiagnosed tend to act out of our character. Each high and low can last fordays, weeks, months depending on the circumstances. Cognitive approach helpsthe patients stop their troublesome behavior. It teaches them new ways to dealwith their manic periods and turn it into productive outcomes. As well as withdepression it helps the patients see the brighter side.
Althoughall methods of therapy work well for each patient, I personally would not strayto anything other than cognitive therapy. Psychoanalytic approach is known tonot work well for people with the depression, and bipolar disorder. It can workfor some, but is not recommended until after the crisis has been resolved.
Behavioral approach does not seem to interest me either. Behavioral therapy isfocused around one’s environment. This may work for some, however, I ratherknow what is happening within myself.
My disorder comes from within myself. Itis not caused from the environment around me. Some cases if a person is beingabused I can see how the behavioral approach could work. For someone like mewho deals with conflict all on my own I do not see it being beneficial. Now thelast therapy, humanistic sounds appealing at first.
I considered that one at asmuch as I considered cognitive. They both deal with one’s inner being. The partthat pushed me to cognitive was that therapists using humanistic approachproject a set of values on the patient. I like my own moral values. Therapyshould be more listening and helping get inside the mind where one cannot reachthemselves. I do not believe in implicating one’s values on another. Atherapist should remain unbiased to their clients morals.
Respecting thepatient’s views and not pushing their personal views onto them. Work Citations Frank, J. D., & Frank, J. (1991). Persuasion and healing:A comparative study of psychotherapy.
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Bergin (Eds.),Handbook of psychotherapy and behavior change (3rd ed.).Wiley, New York.Chambless, D. et al. (1996). An update on empirically validated therapies.
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