Three Counselling and Therapy Schools
The psychodynamic school
The term ‘psychodynamic’ refers to the transfer of psychic or mental energy between the different structures and levels of consciousness within peoples minds. Psychodynamic approaches emphasize the importance of unconscious influences on how people function. Therapy aims to increase clients’ abilities to exercise greater conscious control over their lives. Analysis or interpretation of dreams can be a central part of therapy.
The humanistic - existential school
The humanistic school is based on humanism, a system of values and beliefs that emphasizes the better qualities of humankind and people’s abilities to develop their human potential. Humanistic therapists emphasize enhancing clients’ abilities to experience their feelings and think and act in harmony with their underlying tendencies to actualize themselves as unique individuals. Existential approaches to therapy stress peoples capacity to choose how they create their existences.
The cognitive-behavioural school
Traditional behaviour therapy focuses mainly on changing observable behaviours by means of providing different or rewarding consequences. The cognitive-behavioural school broadens behaviour therapy to incorporate the contribution of how people think to creating, sustaining and changing their problems. In cognitive-behavioural approaches, therapists assess clients and then intervene to help them to change specific ways of thinking and behaving that sustain their problems.
Overview of counselling and therapy approaches
Classical psychoanalysis Originator: Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939) Pays great attention to unconscious factors related to infantile sexuality in the development of neurosis. Psychoanalysis, which may last for many years, emphasizes working through the transference, in which clients perceive their therapists as reincarnations of important figures from their childhoods, and the interpretation of dreams.
Analytical therapy Originator: Carl Jung (1875 - 1961) Divides the unconscious into the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious, the latter being a storehouse of universal archetypes and primordial images. Therapy includes analysis of the transference, active imagination and dream analysis. Jung was particularly interested in working with clients in the second half of life.
Person-centred therapy Originator: Carl Rogers (1902 - 1987) Lays great stress on the primacy of subjective experience and how clients can become out of touch with their actualizing tendency through introjecting others’ evaluations and treating them as if their own. Therapy emphasizes a relationship characterized by accurate empathy, respect and non-possessive warmth.
Gestalt therapy Originator: Fritz Perls (1893-1970) Individuals become neurotic by losing touch with their senses and interfering with their capacity to make strong contact with their environments. Therapy emphasizes increasing clients’ awareness and vitality through awareness techniques, experiments, sympathy and frustration, and dream work.
Transactional analysis Originator: Eric Berne (1910 - 1970) Transactions between people take place between their Parent, Adult and Child ego states. Therapy includes structural analysis of ego states, analysis of specific transactions, analysis of games - a series of transactions having ulterior motivations, and analysis of clients’ life scripts.
Reality therapy Originator: William Glasser (1925-) Clients choose to maintain their misery through choosing inappropriate ways to control the world to satisfy their needs. Therapy includes identifying clients’ wants and needs, teaching choice theory, planning and, where appropriate, training clients in behaviours they need to succeed.
Existential therapy Originators: Irvin Yalom (1931- ) and Rollo May (1909-1994) Draws on the work of existential philosophers and focuses on helping clients deal with anxieties connected with four main ultimate concerns of human existence: death, freedom, isolation and meaninglessness. Therapy focuses on clients’ current situations, with different interventions used according to the nature of clients’ enveloping fears.
Logotherapy Originator: Viktor Frankl (1905 - 1997) Clients can become neurotic because they face an existential vacuum in which they are unable to find meaning in their lives. Logotherapists use methods such as teaching the importance of assuming responsibility for finding meaning, Socratic questioning, offering meanings and analysing dreams.
Behaviour therapy Important figures: theory, Ivan Pavlov (1849 - 1936) and B. F. Skinner (1904 - 1990); practice, Joseph Wolpe (1915 - 1997) Emphasizes the learning of behaviour through classical conditioning, operant conditioning and modelling. Therapy consists of learning adaptive behaviours by methods such as systematic desensitization, reinforcement programmes and behaviour rehearsal.
Rational emotive behaviour therapy Originator: Albert Ellis (1913 - ) Emphasizes clients re-indoctrinating themselves with irrational beliefs that lead to unwanted feelings and self-defeating actions. Therapy involves disputing clients’ irrational beliefs and replacing them with more rational beliefs. Elegant or profound therapy entails changing clients’ philosophies of life.
Cognitive therapy Originator: Aaron Beck (1921 - ) Clients become distressed because they are faulty processors of information with a tendency to jump to unwarranted conclusions. Therapy consists of educating clients in how to test the reality of their thinking by interventions such as Socratic questioning and conducting real-life experiments.
Multimodal therapy Originator: Arnold Lazarus (1932 - ) Clients respond to situations according to their predominant modalities: behaviour, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal and drugs/biology. Based on a multimodal assessment, therapists are technically eclectic, using a range of techniques selected on the basis of empirical evidence and client need.
And they all have their own jargon.