THE UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI KISUMU CAMPUS
STUDENT NAME: W. SCOLASTICA NASWA
STUDENT CODE: CO1/34163/2015
COMPARE AND CONTRAST PSYCHODYNAMIC APROACH TO PERSON CENTERED THERAPY TO COUNSELING
DATE OF SUBMISSION: MAY 2018.
In Person Centered Approach (Originator: Carl Rogers 1902 – 1987) focuses on the belief that we are all born with an inherent ability for psychological development if peripheral environments allow us to do so. Clients become out of touch with this self-actualizing tendency by means of introjecting the evaluations of others and thereby treating them as if they were their own. Moreover, being non-directive the counselling relationship is based on the core conditions of empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard. By clients being prized and valued, they can learn to accept who they are and reconnect with their true selves.
In Psychodynamic Approach (Originator: Sigmund Freud 1856 – 1939) focuses on an individual’s unconscious thoughts that stem from childhood experiences and now affect their current behaviour and thoughts. The urges that drive us emanate from our unconscious and we are driven by them to repeat patterns of behaviour. Therapy includes free association, the analysis of resistance and transference, dream analysis and interpretation and is usually long term. The aim is to make the unconscious conscious in order for the client to gain insight.
In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Contributors: Ellis 1913 and Beck 1921) focuses on how an individual’s thoughts and perceptions affect their emotions and behavior. We are reactive beings who respond to a variety of external stimuli and our behaviour is a result of learning and conditioning. Because our behaviour is viewed as having being learned, it can therefore be unlearned. By helping clients to recognize negative thought patterns they can learn new positive ways of thinking which ultimately will affect their feelings and their behaviour.
When comparing and contrasting these three major approaches in relation to their differing theoretical rationale, the following similarities between the Person Centered Approach and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy were found:
That both deal with the conscious mind, the here and now and focus on current problems and issues the client may have.
That both have a positive view of human nature and view the individual as not necessarily being a product of their past experiences, but acknowledge that they are able to determine their own futures.
That they both attempt to improve well-being by means of a collaborative therapeutic relationship that enables and facilitates healthy coping mechanisms in clients who are experiencing psychological pain and disharmony in their lives.
In comparing the similarities between the Person Centered Approach and the Psychodynamic Approach, it is possible to see some similarities and parallels between the concepts of the actualizing tendency, the organismic self and the self-concept to Freud’s theory on personality structure. The id and the organismic self are both representative of that part of the psyche that is often ignored or repressed. The super-ego and the self-concept, both describe internalized rules and moral values which have been imposed upon us by significant others. The ego is similar to the actualizing tendency in that it is concerned with mediating between the id and the super-ego and the actualizing tendency seems to echo this.
In contrasting the Person Centred Approach with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in relation to their differing theoretical rationale Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sees behaviour as being a learned response whereas the Person Centred view is that clients have not been able to have previously self-actualized.
From a Cognitive Behavioural perspective, human experience is viewed as a product of the interacting elements of physiology, cognition, behaviour and emotion. The Cognitive Behavioural Approach is based upon the theoretical rationale that the way in which we feel and behave is determined by how we perceive and structure our experience.
In the Person Centred Approach, a person is viewed as having had various experiences and developing a personality as a result of these subjective experiences.
In contrast to the Psychodynamic Approach, the Person Centred Approach focuses on the conscious mind and what is going on in the here and now whereas the Psychodynamic Approach focuses on the subconscious and looks to early childhood to examine unresolved conflicts. Freud emphasized the need to modify defenses, to reduce the pressures from the superego so that the patient could become less frightened of the superego and to strengthen the ego
The aim of the Person Centred Approach is self-actualization while the aim of the Psychodynamic Approach is insight.
The Person Centred Approach focuses on the positive belief in the human ability to self-actualize whereas the Psychodynamic Approach focuses largely on the negative aspects.
In highlighting the differences in theoretical rationale between the Psychodynamic Approach and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, the Psychodynamic Approach encourages the client to uncover the past and early childhood in order to bring to memory significant events.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, however, focuses on the here and now and is goal orientated. The Psychodynamic Approach sees us as being driven by unconscious urges whereas Cognitive Behavioural Approach sees our behaviour as being a learned response.
Freud’s structural model states that the human psyche is an interaction of the three forces: the id, the ego and the superego and he also assumed that we are driven by inherent sexual and aggressive drives. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sees functioning or dysfunctioning as being a learned response to external stimuli.
In looking at the similarities between the Person Centred Approach and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with regard to their therapeutic interventions both utilize the core conditions of empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence but in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy it is used mainly in the establishing of the working alliance.
In both these approaches, the relationship between client and counsellor is similar by means of the counsellor being congruent and both would use the skills of reflection, paraphrasing and summarizing. In both these approaches, the client is prepared for the eventual ending a few sessions before the actual end of therapy. Both would use awareness techniques.
In comparison, the differences between the therapeutic interventions used in the Person Centred Approach and the Cognitive Behavioural Approach, the Person Centred Approach is non-directive whereas CBT is ‘taught’ and is goal orientated. In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy clients are taught skills which are needed and necessary for them to change which would in turn reduce their emotional angst and change their behaviour. In the Person Centred Approach growth is self-directed. The number of sessions in the Person Centred Approach can be open ended whereas CBT has a set period.
When looking at the main differences between Person Centred Approach and the Psychodynamic Approach the Person Centred counsellor would encourage the client to seek the solution to their problem within themselves and would not attempt interpretation which is the major therapeutic intervention of the Psychodynamic Approach.
The Person Centred Approach pays no attention to the issue of transference. The relationship between the client and the counsellor is also different in that in the Person Centred Approach the core conditions are a vital tool whereas in the Psychodynamic Approach the counsellor is a blank slate onto which the client can project.
In conclusion, each model has its own strengths and weaknesses and individuals may find one approach more appropriate than another, depending on their own personal preference or on the severity and depth of their presenting problem. Time factors and costs would also need to be taken into consideration.
Dryden, W (2002) Handbook of Individual Therapy Fourth Edition. .
McLeod J, (2009) An Introduction to Counselling Fourth Edition. Page 148.
Trower P, Casey A, Dryden W (1988) Cognitive Behavioral Counselling in Action. Page 7,8.