The field of psychotherapy provides a therapist 11 diverse therapeutic systems, all of which are designed to achieve the same goal – to address the problems, whether emotional or mental, of the client. Some of these systems call for an active and directive participation from the therapist while some requires him to “hold back” and let the client heal himself. This paper aims to tackle the differences as well as discuss similarities between two of the eleven available counseling approaches – the Psychoanalytic Therapy and Person-Centered Therapy.
Comparative Analysis 3 A Comparative Analysis of Two Counseling Approaches Two of the most-utilized counseling approaches are Psychoanalytic Therapy and Person-Centered Therapy. Perhaps due to its very opposite characteristics, these approaches embrace the two types of clients – one who wishes to sit down, talk, remain distant and maintain no personal relationship with the therapist and one who prefers to spill his thoughts while creating an intimate relationship with the therapist. Definition
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According to Psychology Today, Psychoanalytic therapy is a general name for therapeutic approaches which try to get the patient to bring to the surface their true feelings, so that they can experience them and understand them. In this kind of therapy, the unconscious is studied with a focus on dreams, behavior, slips of tongue, post-hypnotic suggestion, and the use of techniques that provide the client an opportunity to search their thoughts for links to various issues and problems. Unconscious thoughts and processes are the basis for all forms of problem symptoms and behaviors.
On the other hand, a Person-Centered Therapy, sometimes called Rogerian Therapy, focuses on immediate conscious experience. Rogers (1977) describes this form of therapy as a process of freeing a person and removing obstacles so that normal growth and development can proceed and the client can become independent and self-directed. Unconscious vs. Conscious Psychoanalytic therapy holds that bringing the unconscious into conscious awareness promotes insight and resolves conflict. (Psychology Today) According to Freud, human beings are basically determined by psychic energy and by early experiences.
Unconscious motives and Comparative Analysis 4 conflicts are central in present behavior. Making the client aware of his unconscious motives by interpreting his dreams and thoughts will lead him to freedom of mind and body. Person-Centered therapy, on one hand, deals with immediate conscious experience. Its primary purpose is to provide a deep understanding and acceptance of the attitudes consciously held at this moment by the client as he explores step by step into the dangerous areas which he has been denying to consciousness.
(Personality & Consciousness) This form of humanistic therapy deals with the ways in which people perceive themselves consciously rather than having a therapist try to interpret unconscious thoughts or ideas. (Depression-Guide, 2005) Directive vs. Non-directive Psychoanalytic therapy is directive in nature such that the therapist allows the client to talk freely but in the process asks a number of questions, dictates length and frequency of sessions, and advises client on how to deal with things and how to view certain issues.
Person-centered therapy is non-directive. It is an approach to counseling and psychotherapy that places much of the responsibility for the treatment process on the client, with the therapist taking a non-directive role. (Mind Disorders, 2007) The therapist's role is mainly to act as a facilitator and to provide a comfortable environment, rather than to drive and direct therapy outcomes. (Lots of Essays, 2009) The client is seen as the core therapist, with the actual therapist serving as consultant, advisor, witness, and support system.
Then vs. Now Psychoanalysis places significant importance on early development. (Psychology Today) It believes that such is of critical importance because later personality problems have their roots in repressed childhood conflicts. Comparative Analysis 5 In Rogerian therapy, attention is given to the present moment and on experiencing and expressing these feelings in order to move towards a more beneficial direction. Techniques
The therapist employing Psychoanalytic Therapy uses techniques such as free association (the client reports anything that comes to mind), dream analysis, interpretation, analysis of resistance and transference, and understanding of counter-transference, to find commonalities in the client’s thoughts and behaviors and to interpret them in terms of the client’s problems. (4therapy Network, 1998) In a Person-Centered therapy, few techniques are utilized.
Research has shown that the most significant variables in the effectiveness of this therapy are aspects of the relationship and the therapist's personal development - not the particular discipline they practice or techniques they employ. The therapist is expected to create an atmosphere that is both suitable and comfortable for the client in order for him to freely express his feelings and direct himself towards healing. In fact, in order for this type of therapy to be effective, it requires three things – unconditional positive regard, empathy, and genuineness or congruence.
(Rogers, 1961) Unconditional Positive Regard. This unconditional positive regard, or something like love, can allow the client to expose his vulnerabilities, fears, flaws, secrets, and dysfunctions within the therapeutic setting without fear of being rejected. This allows the therapist to gain the necessary insights on the client's worldview and overall situation that enables the therapist to devise interventions, or make suggestions, that can help the client shift that worldview in a beneficial direction. (Lots of Essays, 2009) Comparative Analysis 6
Empathy. Empathy refers to understanding the client's feelings and personal meanings as they are experienced. The therapist encourages the patient to express their feelings and does not suggest how the person might wish to change, but by listening and then mirroring back what the patient reveals to them, helps them to explore and understand their feelings for themselves Congruence. Congruence on the part of the therapist refers to his ability to be completely genuine and transparent. He does not present an aloof professional facade.
(Mulhauser, 2002) There is no air of authority or hidden knowledge, and the client does not have to speculate about what he is really like. This is very far from what is being done during psychoanalytic therapy sessions wherein the client lies on a couch facing away from the therapist, minimizing opportunity for client-therapist relationship. Length of Session Two or more years with multiple sessions each week is required to fully apply and utilize Psychoanalytic Therapy. (Psychology Today) In contrast, there are no strict guidelines regarding the length or frequency of sessions in a Person-Centered Therapy.
Generally, therapists adhere to a one-hour session once per week. However, true to its spirit, scheduling may be adjusted according to the client's expressed needs. The client also decides when to terminate therapy. Termination usually occurs when he or she feels able to better cope with life's difficulties. (Mind Disorders, 2007) Applications Analytic therapy is not recommended for self-centered and impulsive individuals or for people with psychotic disorders, in the same way that person-centered therapy is not intended for a specific age group or subpopulation.
While psychoanalysis essentially wrote off some groups, Comparative Analysis 7 like schizophrenics or borderline personality disorder types, person-centered psychotherapies assume that all people could be worked with and that the answer to their dysfunction lay within them. (Mind Disorders, 2007) Person-Centered Therapy has been used to treat a broad range of people and has also been applied to persons suffering from depression, anxiety, alcohol disorders, cognitive dysfunction, and personality disorders.
Some therapists argue that person-centered therapy is not effective with non-verbal or poorly educated individuals; others maintain that it can be successfully adapted to any type of person. The person-centered approach can be used in individual, group, or family therapy. With young children, it is frequently employed as play therapy. Criticisms of the Two Approaches One major criticism of Psychoanalytic Therapy is its inability to cure one of the most common and major emotional disorder – depression.
People, it is believed, need 'insight', before they can change. This means that you have to understand why they are depressed before you can get better. On the face of it, this seems perfectly reasonable, particularly as it seems to match the natural human response to a problem - to find out why. However, in depression, this style of thinking will tend to make the depression worse. The problems with this type of counseling for depression are many. First, the focus is predominantly on the past. Depressed people do this plenty already.
One main idea is to discover 'the reason why'. There is rarely any single 'reason why' with depression, and even if there was, discovering it does not make the depression go away. Take this for example, if you know why you blush, does the blushing stop? Comparative Analysis 8 Some therapists have been sued for using this approach in the US when treating depression. Approaches which mainly focus on the past are not recommended in the treatment of depression and anxiety conditions. (Depression Guide, 2005)
As for Person-Centered Therapy, there is no other aspect which comes under such vigorous attack aside from the implications of the therapist acting as a facilitator rather than as a counselor. It seems to be genuinely disturbing to many professional people to entertain the thought that this client upon whom they have been exercising their professional skill actually knows more about his inner psychological self than they can possibly know, and that he possesses constructive strengths which make the constructive push by the therapist seem puny indeed by comparison.
The willingness fully to accept this strength of the client, with all the re-orientation of therapeutic procedure which it implies, is one of the ways in which client-centered therapy differs most sharply from other therapeutic approaches. (Rogers, 1946) Personal Viewpoint I strongly believe that a Person-centered therapy works best for me, not because I have once seeked the help of a professional therapist, but because I feel that my father had served as my own therapist – employing the Person-centered therapy on me.
There was one time when I felt so down about not being able to make it to the top of the class for a certain school year. You see, I’m an A-grade student – the cream of the crop. I even graduated with First Honors in grade school. Come high school, though, I belonged to a class where everyone is “the best” in their own schools. Competition was tough. Anyone who doesn’t live up to the expectation is transferred to another section to mingle with the average students. The “Number One’ student in me struggled to keep up. I did for the first three years. However,
Comparative Analysis 9 come the last year in high school, I was suddenly faced with the fact that I didn’t make it. I no longer belong to the prime class. It was painful. It was unacceptable. The reason for not making it was simply because of a Technology Project – an amplifier that’s supposed to make a bulb light up. Unfortunately, mine didn’t when the professor inspected it. That was it – no considerations, no second chances, I got a low mark. I was informed a month before the next school year starts. That month was indeed a difficult time for me.
I remember crying several nights talking to myself and still, I wasn’t feeling any better. I felt that my parents were disappointed of me; my friends were not sad enough that I’m leaving the class. What helped me to move on and accept the turn-out of events was my father – he sat down with me, just listening and helping me spill my guts. I talked non-stop, crying and just telling him that I hate myself for what has happened, that I cannot yet accept that I failed, that he has to do something about it. My father just sat there, letting me talk.
He listened – making no negative comments, not judging me or blaming me or telling me that I’m wrong. He would always repeat the things I said in the form of questions. He was literally mirroring me. I guess that was his way of letting me know that he is really there, he is listening intently and not just pretending to. He did not even use the usual “parent line” “I’ve been there, Child. What you need to do is…” And thinking about it now, I am thankful that he didn’t. Had he said those words, I would have reacted negatively by saying “No, you don’t know how I’m feeling.
You never had to go through something like this! ” I would have regarded him as one of my peers who I felt that time didn’t care much as they are still part of the class. I would have stopped opening up to him. Comparative Analysis 10 My father’s technique, as I study the different approaches of therapy, is very much the same as that of the Person-centered Therapy. And luckily, it worked for me. I ended up hearing myself over and over again – talking about the same things, angry over the same stuff. Eventually, reason, understanding and acceptance came.
My father must have known I wasn’t the type to take orders from people. He trusted that I am capable of solving my own problems and facing my own dilemmas. The Challenge The key challenge in the field of psychotherapy is to find ways to integrate and combine certain features of various approaches in order to work with the needs of different clients. What is crucial is a strong knowledge of what a certain approach is - its advantages, strengths and weaknesses, applications and even recent studies/cases that may prove to be helpful in solving a client’s case.
Comparative Analysis 11 References Cain, David J. (2002). Humanistic Psychotherapies: Handbook of Research and Practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Counselling Directory. Psychoanalytical and Psychodynamic Therapies. Retrieved May 24, 2009, from http://www. counselling-directory. org. uk/psychoanalytical. html Depression-Guide. (2005). Person-Centered Therapy. Retrieved May 22, 2009, from http://www. depression-guide. com/person-centered-therapy. htm Lots of Essays. (2009). Person-Centered Psychotherapies. Retrieved May 24, 2009, from http://www.
lotsofessays. com/viewpaper/1691857. html Mind Disorders. (2007). Person-centered therapy. Retrieved May 22, 2009, from http://www. minddisorders. com/Ob-Ps/Person-centered-therapy. html Modern Psychoanalysis. The Talking Cure. Retrieved May 20, 2009, from http://modernpsychoanalysis. org/default. aspx Mulhauser, G. Counselling Resource. (2002). An Introduction to Person-Centered Counselling. Retrieved May 24, 2009, from http://counsellingresource. com/types/person-centred/ Personality & Consciousness. Rogerian Therapy. Retrieved May 23, 2009, from http://pandc. ca/?
cat=carl_rogers&page=rogerian_therapy Psychology Today. What’s Your Orientation? Retrieved May 24, 2009, from http://www. psychologytoday. com/pto/methods. html Comparative Analysis 12 Rogers, C. R. (1946). Significant Aspects of Client-Centered. American Psychologist, 1, 415-422. Retrieved May 24, 2009 from PsychClassics database. Rogers, Carl. (1951). Client-Centered Therapy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 4therapy Network. (1998). Psychoanalytic Therapy. Retrieved May 21, 2009, from http://www. 4therapy. com/consumer/about_therapy/item. php? uniqueid=4933&categoryid=401&
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