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Several approaches to the topic of Psychology have been developed in the effort to come up with a more appropriate approach to professional psychology. Theories of psychology are a clear roadmap and guide to psychologists as they come up with solutions to the various problems facing clients. In this paper, the discussion focuses on cognitive and psychoanalysis therapy as different theories of Psychology. The two theories are useful tools with which to analyze and discuss the subject. Looking into cognitive therapy, more aspects have been discussed with various techniques which are expected to work well with this theory. With more people living in the world of dreams and expectations rather that the reality, cognitive therapy tries to eliminate the disappointments by softly addressing the present with facts put on the table and relieving people from living in their past or anticipation of the future. One other popular theory is the psychoanalysis. This is a theory concerned with personality. This approach was pioneered by Sigmund Freud and emphasizes on making the unconscious conscious. Adaptability is also one factor well covered in these theories and with the need for people to adapt to whatever environment and situation they find themselves, these theories prove to be the most appealing and suitable for the current generation.
In fact, many scholars have come up with various theories that try to explain the nature of human behavior and the factors that cause the differences in the same. However, there are some discrepancies in these theories and as such individuals continue to develop new theories everyday. This has brought about the emergence of personal theory, which is often used in counseling in an attempt to bridge the gap and discrepancies created. It is worth noting that the theories have some common understanding or interrelated stand when it comes to critical factors of human nature. From these, we can deduce and come up with a precise and thorough understanding of the basic view of human nature, changes of behavior and therapy.
Theoretical Orientation and Approach to Psychotherapy
What is the Art of survival? In everyday’s life, people go through lots of challenges and some are just overwhelming for one to handle. It is said that in all we go through, one has to survive but whatever happens if that is not the case is mystery and the repercussions are in most cases adverse with cases such as insanity or even death. Adaptation is the key and this is where psychotherapy comes in to save the tough situations. According to Fraum, “psychotherapy is a series of steps and techniques for treating mental health, psychiatric and emotional disorders in children and adults” (Fraum, 2011). However this is done by use of different approaches and therefore narrows us down to cognitive and psychoanalysis therapies. It is important to explore the two theories as they outline the root of psychotherapy. Many people who need the services of psychotherapists are usually experiencing problems relating to these two categories of psychotherapy hence it is necessary to carry out a proper exploration. The discussion shall then narrow down to cognitive therapy and finds more knowledge into this theory considering the challenges that most of the clients face which warrant this kind of therapy. The study shall explain the procedures and steps followed in administering these kinds of therapy to clients. As we look at psychotherapy as the art of survival, the research seeks to find out how psychotherapy has attained its goals in ensuring that clients do not suffer complete mental breakdown as a result of being overwhelmed by their situations in life given the many challenges involving finances and other social issues that face both adults and children in this generation and time. At the end of the study we hope to find the effectiveness of psychotherapy in attaining its goals.
Cognitive and Psychoanalysis Theories
Importantly, the psychoanalysis theories help in understanding the human nature and behavior. The human nature is usually composed of dynamic and transforming events, which are brought about by the conscious, preconscious and unconscious mind. The three works together in unity to constitute the human nature, this is why it is very difficult to precisely describe an individual’s nature since these components are not automatically visible at once. Looking at cognitive therapy, it seeks to emphasize a positive and rational world view. According to Melchert, “cognitive therapy aims at changing maladaptive and habitual patterns” (Melchert, 2011). This theory explores the disappointments and frustrations that people face as a result of excessive wishful thinking. As we appreciate that it is normal to have wishes, there is a limit however that one should not surpass in constructing castles in the air. This kind of wishful thinking is popular with youths who are still thinking of self development and at times seem to over think on their non existence success. This group of people seems to have unrealistic expectations to life. Majority of the youth have lots of expectations especially after completing their university studies only to meet the tough reality of life. With the hope of landing to that dream job immediately after graduating, many find it difficult to cope after two years of job seeking. This theory seeks to emphasize on developing a positive view of the world. It also rationalizes the views of this group by putting facts across despite their high and unrealistic expectations. This approach solves problems of dysfunctional emotions through a goal oriented and organized process.
Cognitive therapy tries to base on the idea that people’s thoughts is what cause their feelings and eventually their behaviors and not external factors such as situations, other people or events. Psychotherapists approach their clients’ problems by first trying to find out what their clients’ goals are and what they want out of their life. It is true that almost everyone experience a transition of dark thoughts especially when they are not in good moods. These may lead to depression and anxiety eventually leading to destruction of one’s’ view of reality. “This approach makes the most extensive use of diagnostic classification” (Sharf, 2011).
Psychoanalysis therapy goes deeper beyond cognitive therapy into ones unconsciousness. This makes it a transformative and truly healing process. Sigmund Freud was the pioneer of this theory which takes a long process and normally lasts for years. According to (Sharf, 2011), psychoanalysis employs the use of the term analysts thereby inviting the element of time factor to enable observation and analysis unlike in counseling sessions which may be quick.
This therapy often uses free associations and dreams as the subject for cure. This method of psychotherapy highlights the unconscious issues that motivate behavior. Focus is on the events of the first six years of life as determinants of the later development of personality. This view goes deep into dreams that people have when unconscious. Dreams can prove to be disturbing and eventually cause distress to ones mental functioning. Scientists have come up with explanations to as what controls dreams citing ones thoughts during the day and moments before getting to bed. However, this has at times proved not to be the case when people dream of things they have not thought of (SlideShare Inc, 2010).
Dreams have proved from time immemorial to have very negative implications with people believing that the dreams convey particular meanings and messages to life. It has also been believed that the dead communicate through dreams and hence it has been taken as a link between the dead and the living. These beliefs result to distress in cases where the perceived meaning of dreams is negative resulting to mental breakdown and distress. All these revolve around the unconscious state of mind which one has no control over (Melchert, 2011). However, being positive and factual helps in reversing the negative implications that may result. Psychoanalysis has however been found to inadequate in providing information of how people behave outside the psychology sessions. Others argue that the sessions are lengthy and time intensive involving many sessions thereby involving use of lots of funds.
This theory is based on reasoning or using brain unlike behavioral theories. The concept of insight has been described as getting the point, grasping the idea or catching on with insight where the development of what leads to what and how to reach the goal is reached. This therapy is advantageous to both the patients and the therapists. It is known to be a faster method than other methods of treatment. The clients who take this approach usually end up getting better and not just feeling better hence achieving long-time results. Cognitive therapy also offers emotional support and understanding of how ones’ feeling may alter their actions and thinking
People who live in wishful thinking tend to ignore the realistic nature facing them and if left unattended, the thoughts pile up and become destructive in the long run. These are people who have high expectations to life and these expectations usually do not materialize. This implies that the first therapy for oneself includes being realistic with oneself and considering the surrounding and what is available to achieve their desires. In many cases, clients find themselves having developed the “I am useless” attitude probably after having made a mistake not appreciating that anybody can make mistakes and that mistake do not define ones capability (SlideShare Inc, 2010). By focusing on the mistakes, these people tend to avoid further attempts hence confirming their inability. Cognitive therapy then handles this by looking into how these clients behave in similar situations. It also looks into reducing the avoidance of challenging activities. Cognitive-behavioral theory asserts that humans attach meanings to all they come across. The therapists work with clients to discover and face negative thinking errors and let clients to apply extra sensible or rational standards for their thoughts.
According to Fraum, “clients who have undergone cognitive therapy benefit from gaining self esteem and better relationships with themselves and others. They also respond actively with improved performance” (Fraum, 2011).
Effective Techniques to Cognitive Therapy
The cognitive techniques empowers clients to identify thoughts which may be negative or come up whenever one is upset to examine validity of the such negative thoughts replacing them with thoughts focusing on the reality.
For cognitive therapy to be effective, it is administered in three faces. This therapy is based on the theory that depressions spring from distortions in a persons’ perspective and starts its treatment by focusing on the distortions and after that, advising the patient to work on adjusting their approach accordingly. Face two involves rational-emotive therapy which is based on an assumption that most problems arise from irrational thought process and may involve people who suffer from pessimism and perfectionism. The treatment assists them to learn how to effectively eliminate these distortions. Finally, the most popular of the three is the cognitive behavior therapy. It suggests that a combination of behavioral therapy and cognitive therapy will result to a more successful and effective treatment. In some instances, patients are taught to write down their bad thoughts and they are taught to monitor their experiences between their thoughts, behavior and feelings and evaluate the utility and validity of the cognitions. They then learn to reflect a viewpoint that is more adaptive. The clients of cognitive therapy are taught to consider a variety of options that explain the cause of an event. These helps fight the fearful possibilities that may lead to breakdown (Fraum, 2011).
There are however easy steps to achieve a better feeling. Writing down detaches one from the negative thoughts and emotion. Identifying that particular event that bothers oneself is also important in the steps to getting better. Apart from the negative thoughts, it is also important to identify emotions which are negative and the specific negative feelings that accompany the negative emotions. Identifying distortions and substitute rational responses is also important and after having looked at all these, it is necessary to consider ones upset for this is what leads to anxiety. Finally, we consider a corrective action which eventually manages stress.
Summary of Theoretical Perspective
“Theories of psychotherapy differ dramatically in terms of their attitude toward research, type of research done and the accessibility of the theory for research” (Sharf, 2011). This research has outlined two theories of psychotherapy outlining cognitive and psychoanalysis theories. The study has tried to outline the steps carried out by the two different theories in restoring the conditions of clients.
The theory of cognitive has come up as one that looks at the way people think and how their thoughts eventually affect their behaviors while psychoanalysis is rooted into the unconscious status of the clients. It tries to make the unconscious to be conscious.
There are advantages and disadvantages in use of these theories in practicing psychology.
After careful study of the two theories of psychotherapy, it has come out that cognitive therapy is more popular due to its design to handle common problems affecting mental health. Majority of those who seek psychotherapeutic treatment are reported to suffer from being unrealistic and incapable of adapting to the various situations they find themselves in.
Psychoanalysis has also proved to be successful in treating cases that require long term treatment and analysis. Having put the effectiveness of cognitive therapy to test, it is strategic and well outlined steps to treatment have shown its capability to handle clients’ stresses. As we look forward to seeing that every human being do not go beyond what their mental health can handle in terms of stress and anxiety, It is important to note that it is the responsibility of every person to guard their own perceptions and thoughts as they are majorly the causes of mental breakdown when they go beyond the limits of negativity. Taking issues bit by bit is helpful in order to avoid strain and stress. It is time for people to learn how they can live within their limits and not mistake unrealistic thoughts for ambitions. Everyone has to appreciate oneself as this builds an inner energy eliminating negative thoughts of inability and the feeling of being of no use. However, having goals which are achievable is positive and this can only remain positive as long as one puts up strategies to achieve otherwise, even the minor goals may seem as failures leading to frustrations if nothing is done to realize them.
As more study is done in this field of psychotherapy, we look forward to having better ways of achieving effective therapy but we have to always be positive and that starts by appreciating the theories already developed and believing that they are able to work towards developing lasting solutions.
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