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What is the Psychodynamic Approach in Counseling?

Describe about Theories of Counseling:Psychodynamic, Humanistic and Person-centered Approaches?

Due to the complex nature of the counseling, various approaches are adopted by the counselors in order to support the client with the aid of counseling procedure. Both Psychotherapists and Counselors work from a variety of theoretical frameworks.  These therapies range from the type of psychoanalysis, which was originated from Sigmund Freud and later developed into other forms of analytic psychotherapy, through Humanistic Psychotherapy (based on personal growth and self development) to the Behavioral Therapy used for treating specific phobias and anxieties. It is evident that the relationship between the counselor and the client is extremely important in all approaches.

• Cognitive behavioral model

• Person- centered counseling

• Behavioral model

• Psychodynamic model

• Relationship Model

• Humanistic Model

• Psycho-synthesis

• Psychoanalysis

• Integrative Model



Psychodynamic approach is a popular technique of counseling which focuses on understanding the root cause of their problems and issues. It provides a wide range of therapeutic approaches. It embraces the work of different therapies.

The basis of psychodynamic therapy is lied on the theories proposed by Sigmund Freud. Additionally, the contribution of Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, Melanie Klein and Otto Rank helped in the further development of the concept.

The fundamental aim of psychodynamic approach is to bring the unconscious mind into consciousness.


This theory emphasizes on the psychological interpretation of the mental and emotional procedures.

This approach helps the individuals in unraveling, experiencing as well as understanding the true and deep rooted feeling for resolving those issues.

Psychodynamic model emphasizes on the centrality of intra-psychic and unconscious conflicts and its association to the development of issues.

It considers that development of defense in the internal psychic structure will help in avoiding conflicts.

Psychodynamic approach is based on the belief that psychopathology is developed from the experiences of early childhood.

Psychodynamic approach is based on the belief that the internal representations of experiences are organized around the interpersonal relations.

Trust in insight is considered to be a major factor for ensuring success of the therapy.

The issues will be re-emerged in the context of the relationship between the client and therapist as transference and counter-transference.

How does psychodynamic therapy work?   

Psychodynamic therapy is extensively guided by the core principles and models discussed in the previous slides. 

Free Association:


This technique encourages the client to talk freely with the therapist. In this technique, the client will not be allowed to shape their thoughts before saying. The clients are encouraged to talk spontaneously for expressing their true feelings and emotions.

Therapeutic transference


It is the feeling for a person which is unconsciously held from adolescence. Clients may feel an erotic attraction for the  therapist which may be manifested in  different forms such as extensive dependence, mistrust, hatred etc. With the aid of  recognition and exploration of the relationship the patient will be able to understand their feeling and will  resolve conflicts.

Interpretation

The counselor will remain mostly quiet  and occasionally interrupt with interpretations of the topic. Application of these interpretation will  vary as it is reliant on the mental state and potential of the client to integrate the materials.

How does Psychodynamic Therapy Work?

Strengths

This approach helps in uncovering the root causes which is embedded in the unconscious mind of the client.

This therapy is effective for general distresses and psychosomatic conditions. The impact is long lasting.

It focuses on relationships as well as interpersonal experiences.

Limitations

It is highly time-consuming. 

Psychodynamic therapy is less structured.

This approach specifically helps in resolving the anxiety disorders.

Humanistic Model of counseling is based on the perspective which aims to respond to the theories of Sigmund Freud. The humanistic theory of  psychology emphasizes on the inherent drive of a human being towards creativity as well as self-actualization.


Humanistic approach has been widely used by several counselors for more than fifty years.

Humanistic approach of counseling focuses on providing opportunity which will help in exploring creativity.

Humanistic model emphasizes on self development and personal growth.

It helps an individual in providing understanding of who they are and their personal feeling.

This model helps in encouraging self realization and self-awareness.

Existential Therapy


This therapy extensively focuses on discovering the implication of certain issues by considering a philosophical perspective instead of adopting a particular technique.

Gestalts Therapy


This therapy emphasizes on the whole of the client including personal experiences, ideas, activities and emotions. This therapy provides assistance through generation of self awareness.

Transactional Analysis Therapy

This therapy is significantly based on the personal growth and self development of the client.  This therapy is helpful in providing a connection between the past life of the individuals and its influence in their present choice and decision. In this therapy, three ego states such as Child, Adult and Patent ego are considered. The humanistic counselor  encourages the client to recollect the past decisions and incidents in order to scrutinize implications and consequences of those decisions. Thus it contributes in tuning the thought and the activity of the client.

Transpersonal Psychology Therapy


Transpersonal therapy considers the factors beyond personal. This model focuses on discovering the individual issues. It focuses on exploring the behavior, individual qualities, personal development, spirituality and self awareness.

Strengths

The model is extremely optimistic. It focuses on identification of the potential of the individual instead of indicating the weaknesses.

It encourages people for developing himself and recognizes the opportunities.

It focuses on autonomy and individuality.  The counselors focus on reinforcing the potential of the client.

Limitations

It is completely based on philosophical concepts which may sometime seem to be abstract and vague.

It is very hard to apply in real life as there is no defined set of methodology for practicing it.

Person centered model is a form of humanistic model of counseling. It focuses on the perception of the client for dealing with them.

Carl Rogers have proposed the model of person centered counseling.

According to this model, the individuals have an innate tendency for developing towards their full potential. It has been observed that the potential of the patients get distorted by the experiences and it affects the sense of values.

The counselor focuses on understanding the experience of the individual considering their  perspective.

What is the Humanistic Approach in Counseling?

The counselor who has adopted this approach must positively value the patients as an individual in relation to various aspects of humanity. 

In this approach significant importance has been given making the individual feel accepted as it is helpful in reconnecting with their core values and sense of self-worth.

The major aim of this approach is to help the individual in reconnecting with the inner resources.

This reconnection significantly helps in finding their way for moving forward.

This approach considers that the clients will be benefitted if they are encouraged for sharing their perspectives regarding the situation instead of unconscious motive and its interpretation.

It significantly concentrates on unraveling as well as exploring the encounters which have affected their self-confidence and concept.

Unconditional Positive Regard

This core condition means that the counselor need to accept the client without any condition and the counselor must not be judgmental. The client must have the freedom to explore all ideas and feeling irrespective of its nature for earning positive e regard from the therapist.

Empathic Understanding

This conditions means that the counselor needs to understand the ideas, feeling and perception of the clients correctly.

Congruence

This condition tells that the counselor must be genuine and authentic. The therapist need to be transparent to the client and hence the client need to speculate regarding the  actual self of therapist .

Strengths

It has been found to be very effective if the counselor practices the approach properly.

This model significantly focuses on empathy and understanding without being judgmental.

An optimistic approach and the clients feel empowered for making decisions.

Limitation

Too much optimistic and simple approach. It may sometime seems to be unrealistic too.

It will not be effective if the therapist is passive.

It cannot be applied to the people who are not motivated to change.

It does not have appropriate techniques for the clients in order in order to find solutions of their problems.

Being an integrative counselor, I feel that the counseling helps people in gaining awareness, explore and insight of various ways to solve their issues. However, due to the complex nature, there are various counseling approaches that are adopted by the counselors today like Psychodynamics, Humanistic, Behavioral Therapy, Integrative, Cognitive Behavioral, Relationship, Psycho-synthesis and Psychoanalysis. These kinds of approaches are mainly used to treat anxieties and phobias.  Here my chosen core model is Psychodynamic Approach which I have assimilated with person-centered and Humanistic Approach.

Psychodynamic Technique is a counseling method that mainly emphasizes on root cause of an issue that an individual is facing with. To deal with the issues, this approach embraces various theories proposed by Sigmund Frued and also contribution of Otto Rank, Alfred Alder, Carl, Jung and Melanie Klein have also helped in further development of the concept. While researching about this approach, I found that the main objective of this counseling approach is to bring the unconscious mind into conscious state by focusing on various mental and emotional procedures so as to help the individual to unravel and understand deeply the cause to solve the issues. Discussing the key principles, I would like to say that there six principles which include, centrality of intra-psychic and unconscious conflicts; development of defense in the internal psychic structure to avoid conflicts; psychopathology is developed from the experiences of early childhood; internal representations of experiences are organized around the interpersonal relations; insight is the key factor and issues will be re-emerged in the context of the relationship between the client and therapist as transference and counter-transference.

How does Humanistic Therapy Work?

The psychodynamic approach emphasizes on three techniques one is the Free Association which encourages the client to talk freely with the therapist; another is the Therapeutic transference which makes the clients feel erotic that can be manifested in different forms such as extensive dependence, mistrust, hatred etc. Lastly, the interpretation technique through which the counselor will remain mostly quiet and occasionally interrupt with interpretations of the topic. I feel that the advantage of using this approach is that it helps to uncovering the root causes which is embedded in the unconscious mind of the client, it is effective for general distresses and psychosomatic conditions and also emphasizes on the interpersonal experiences. However, it is to be noted that following this technique is quite time-consuming, the therapy is less structure and is helpful for resolving only the anxieties.

My presentation assimilates this therapy with the Humanistic and Person-centered approach to understand which is the best therapy for conducting the counseling? Humanistic Model aims on the inherent drive of a human being towards creativity as well as self-actualization which helps to explore creativity, grow and develop self, understand the personal feeling and encourage self-awareness and self realization. Similar to psychodynamic therapy, this model also uses various therapies like the Existential Therapy which emphasizes on the implication of issues, Gestalts Therapy that focuses on the emotions, ideas, experiences and activities of client, Transactional analysis that helps the person to self-develop and grow by connecting them with their past lives, Lastly the Transpersonal Psychology Therapy which explores the personal development, self-awareness, spirituality and individual quality and behavior. Through my research I found that compared to psychodynamic it encourages people for developing himself and recognizes the opportunities by reinforcing the potentialities of the client. However, this model is very hard to apply in real life and is completely based on philosophical concepts.

Now, discussing the person centered approach, assimilating with the rest two models, it focuses on the perception of the client for dealing with them. This model was proposed by Carl Rogers. Through this approach, the counselor gets the opportunity to understand individual experience and adopt this approach in relation to various aspects of humanity. The main objective of this approach is to help the individual in reconnecting with the inner resources and reconnect them to move forward. This counseling approach also utilizes different therapies like Unconditional Positive Regard in which the client has the freedom to express all ideals to the counselor, next is the empathic understanding in which the counselor understands the perception, feeling and ideas of the client. Lastly, the congruence theory where the counselor is authentic and genuine to the client by being transparent to the client. This gives an opportunity to the client to speculate the actual self. The advantage of using this therapy is that the model emphasizes on empathy instead of being judgmental and the approach is quite optimistic for making effective decision. However, the counselor need to be very careful, as being too optimistic or simple can give unrealistic results. This therapy cannot be applied on clients or individuals who are already motivated to change.

Assimilating all the three theories of counseling, I would like to state that I am integrative counselor as I always try to combine all the best strategies of the discussed model to bring positive results. I focus on the personal needs and circumstances before counseling a person. This helps me to integrate the physiological, behavioral, affective and cognitive factors of an individual.

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