Psychotherapy Approaches Within Treatment

Overwhelming events are abundantly overflowing in today’s society. Both positive and negative events affect society in numerous ways. Depending on the specific circumstances of an event, both personally and socially, a person’s emotions can alter from one emotion to another. Many people are able to manage his or her emotions with a support system which could include family and friends. Others may choose to seek a therapist or counselor outside of his or her support system. Psychotherapy supports an individual’s need or want of changes within his or her personal life.

In order for a person to bring about the desired changes with a psychotherapist one of four types of primary approaches within therapy must be applied. The primary goal of psychotherapy is usually to alter changes within behavior by utilizing theories to support a person with overcoming problems or negative emotions. Over 400 different types of diverse theories can be utilized by a therapist. All of the diverse theories are used to assist an individual with coping and understanding his or herself within the past, present, and future.

The four primary approaches used within therapy are: psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic. The psychodynamic approach is generally used to assist individuals with defense methods to safe guard his or her self from emotions or behaviors that are impulsive and sometimes unconscious. The behavioral approach focuses more on actually altering a client’s behavior so that he or she can re-learn skills that the individual may have forgotten, but are necessary to function.

Cognitive approaches within therapy assist clients to think in different ways by altering the individual’s personal dysfunctional cognitions that he or she may have. Humanistic therapy utilizes the philosophical view of the client’s own personal responsibilities. All therapists are skilled in different areas of training and use different methods, but one of the aforementioned primary approaches is almost always utilized (Feldman, 2009). Psychoanalysis is categorized under Freudian psychotherapy which is founded on the theory that every person has withdrawn or hidden feelings within his or her self.

When using psychoanalysis, the primary goal is to find a way to discharge the withdrawn or unconscious thoughts so that a person can decrease the authority of the controlled behaviors inside of his or herself. The therapist works on helping the client become aware of his or her subconscious feelings which helps eliminate stress and anxiety. Sigmund Freud believed that an individual’s personality was made up of three different systems that he labeled the id, ego, and the superego. Each of the three systems has a different function, but do work together to preside over a person’s behavior.

The id is described as the personality development within a newborn child and is unconscious. The ego and superego grow and develop from the id. The id embraces the biological impulses within a person which can include the need to eat, drink, sleep, and sexual pleasure. Regardless of external conditions, the id searches for instant gratification. During childhood the ego becomes present when the child learns that actual impulses are not always able to be met when wanted or needed. The ego accepts the reality of a situation within the conscious self.

The superego symbolizes the ethics, values, and morals within a society and chooses whether an act is right or wrong. The superego can also be referred to as a person’s actual conscience. The superego grows and develops through consequences and awards learned through standards of the individual’s society (Feldman, 2009). Contemporary approaches used within psychodynamic therapy look for ways to reduce the unnecessary time consumed utilizing Freud’s theory which was created during the nineteenth century.

According to Feldman contemporary therapists conclude therapy within three months or an average of twenty sessions based on an individual’s needs (2009). By utilizing the contemporary approach less time is spent on the client’s history and more time is spent focusing on relationships and current problems that he or she is going through. Substance abuse programs and psychoanalysis have recently begun to work together and have proven to be productive and effective. Regardless if the Freudian method or the psychotherapy method is administered, both have received praise and disapproval by critics.

Some critics state that psychotherapy is too costly and time consuming and even doubt the theory all together. Regardless of the critics, numerous individuals have achieved the desired results from psychotherapy. Psychotherapy searches for solutions and answers for hard to cope with problems. Assessments are used to identify a client’s individual personality to ensure the best method is utilized. A client that has a personality that is non-social or lacking in communication would achieve higher results with either the behavioral or cognitive approach.

Behavior therapy focuses on approaches that behaviors are learned and are problematic, but can be altered with reinforced behaviors. A client must learn new behaviors to replace the existing problematic behaviors. The classical conditioning therapy is used to give reinforcement for positive behaviors and critical feedback for negative behaviors. A client that is participating in classical conditioning therapy can have a strong emotional reaction to certain music or even fragrances. Classical conditioning therapy is also used when dealing with fears or phobias that are interfering with a person’s life.

Aversive conditioning is a therapy that cuts back the occurrences of a specific negative behavior by implementing aversive and unwanted reactions with the behavior. An example could be that a therapist could relate a situation that is similar to another that would cause an adverse effect like showing someone that smokes pictures of the effects of lung cancer. Systematic desensitization slowly exposes a client to an anxiety induced state that combines a relaxing technique that reduces the anxiety. In some cases meditation is used to assist a client in calming him or herself down and finding a peaceful place within his or her mind.

The operant technique is based upon the learning theory. An example of the learning theory is practicing something over and over. The learning theory is found within the educational system and has proved to be successful. Rewards are implemented for positive behaviors. For example in elementary schools children may be given a sticker for achieving a goal, while the children that did not meet the goal would not receive a sticker. Dialectical behavior therapy is founded on the principles of both classical and operant conditioning theories.

A client in dialectical behavior therapy is made to accept the way that he or she is regardless if the person is considered acceptable or not. Patients are given two choices which are to work on changing him or herself or remaining how he or she is. Dialectical behavior assists individuals in achieving a more effective behavior while learning to keep his or her emotions under control. Behavior therapy is appropriate when trying to eliminate fears, phobias, anxiety disorders, and impulsiveness. Studies have shown that behavior therapy has significantly made changes at neuroscientific levels.

With the help of neuroscience and genomics, improved approaches have been made in the treatment of mental illnesses such as the developmental brain disorder, schizophrenia (Insel, 2010). Cognitive treatment is used to teach individuals a more adaptive way of thinking and behaving. The therapist tries to alter dysfunctional thought by implementing and suggesting different approaches. Cognitive behavioral approach seeks to alter patterns by changing the way a person think. The therapist teaches the client different approaches to different situations and continues participating in therapy (Feldman, 2009).

Cognitive treatment includes the rational-emotive behavior approach which tries to reconstruct a client’s thought process into thoughts that are more rational, logical, and reasonable. Being successful in life starts in a person’s thought process and some believe that he or she is unworthy. By implementing the rational-emotive approach a therapists attempts to change what a person considers illogical into logical. A person can often times change his or her way of thinking by focusing on the dysfunctional thoughts and paying more attention on the logical thoughts.

Humanistic theories concentrate on teaching a client how to control his or her behavior. This approach shows that a person can control his or her behavior, solve average daily dilemmas, and make wise choices by his or her self. Humanistic therapy is implemented because psychological disorders can become evident when a person feels alone and does not have a high value of life. In this type of therapy the patient is more responsible for leading the therapy while the therapist assists. Additional segments of humanistic therapy are client centered, interpersonal, and group therapy.

Therapists are challenged during the evaluation and process of diagnosing and establishing a treatment plan. Psychiatric diagnoses are usually categorized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders also referred to as the DSM-IV. The DSM-IV includes all mental health disorders for both children and adults. Psychiatrists and physicians are able to evaluate an individual’s level of functioning through the use of multiaxial approach. Clinical syndromes are located in Axis I and are arranged into categories like adjustment, anxiety, and pervasive development disorders.

Personality and Mental Retardation is located in Axis II and breaks down the long term effects that are no categorized under the Axis I disorders. Mental retardation is a mental impairment that affects a person’s intellectual areas and interferes with a person’s ability to care for him or herself. Axis III includes medical conditions. Axis IV includes psychosocial and environmental problems that a person may have. Axis V is the global assessment of functioning which allows a physician to comprehend the previous axes and can provide information on the possible effects.

Because of the increasing number of disorders that are displayed in patients today, the DSM-IV is a tool to help establish an individual treatment plan. As with any other tool, there are both advantages and disadvantages while using this system. People tend to display different symptoms and could possibly be misdiagnosed which would lead to the inappropriate treatment plan. Life events are considered to be a start for stress that could lead to other psychological problems. Some people simply cannot handle emotions, whether positive or negative. Events can be traumatizing for some that would be normal for others.

Therapists work with these individuals to teach a client how to cope with stressful situations. Stress can lead to depression if not dealt with properly. Psychotherapy is one of the most preferred and implemented forms of treatment used to deal with mild to moderate emotional and mental disorders. Talking with a therapist enables a person to reflect on him or herself and examine issues in depth. Establishing a relationship with a client may be difficult at first. Some people relate better to some than others, but it is important to find a good match so that the client will feel comfortable and open up honestly.

In some cases a person may need to meet with numerous therapists until a comfortable match is found. The primary goal of psychotherapy is to help an individual manage his or her life and find methods to treat and overcome personal difficulties. There are numerous types of disorders that require one or more types of the four primary approaches used within therapy. Some people are able to establish a support system within friends, family, and others in his or her life. Those that do not have a support system should seek a therapist to overcome undesirable feelings and emotions.

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