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Psychodynamic & Person-Centered Therapies
Psychodynamic theory and client-centered theory provide significant basis for recent therapeutic methods. Where both the therapeutic methods emphasize on improving the condition of the subject, they follow different schools of thoughts which is well-reflected in their applications as well. Since psychodynamic and client-centered therapy focuses on eliminating various aspects of past life and improving the subject's perception of self-worth in relation with present and future life respectively; they also have various similarities as well.
One of the most commonly used therapeutic methods is Psychodynamic theory. It is also known as insight-oriented theory since it emphasizes on identifying unconscious thought patterns which are manifested into an individual's current behavior. The basic objective of this therapy is to ensure that the patient is aware of his/her personal problems and understands the impacts of past events on the present behavior. To be more precise, it allows the subject to evaluate any unresolved conflicting situations attached to him and also identify the symptoms referring to unfulfilling or rather dysfunctional past relationships which are now manifesting themselves into dire need of abusing others or oneself.
The therapeutic method has emerged from Freud's work or psychodynamic theory which mainly acts as the basis of many other therapies intending for curing various psychological disorders. Historically speaking, there are four major dimensions of this therapy: Freudian, Ego Psychology, Object Relations, and Self-Psychology. The Freudian school of thought is based on the theory provided by Sigmund Freud and is mainly known as drive or structural model. The essence of Freud's theory is that sexual and aggressive energies originating in the id (or unconscious) are modulated by the ego, which is a set of functions that moderates between the id and external reality (Haggerty, 2012). The defense mechanisms are constructed by ego of one's self and are functional in reducing pain and maintaining psychological equilibrium. The superego which develops from the age of five and develops till puberty has the tendency to control id drives through guilt.
Secondly, ego psychology is also an extension of Freudian model. The practitioners of this model emphasize on developing client's ego in order to meet the demands of reality. This model further focuses on developing client's capacity for resistance, adaptation, and actuality testing.
The third model which acts as an extension of psychodynamic theory is object relations psychology. This model was provided by British psychological analysts, Melanie Klein, W.R.D. Fairbairn, D.W. Winnicott, and Harry Guntrip. This theory has a rationale that the personal identity of one's self is always shaped in accordance with the personalities surrounding the client and also the significance attached to them. The very idea of this theory entails that we strive for completion of goals which are focused on maintenance of relationships with other and also being different from other simultaneously. It is one's paradigm or perception about one's self which was developed in the childhood, acting as the decisive factor in defining relations in adulthood. Individuals follow the old patterns of object relationships in order to achieve mastery in them and then become free from their influence.
Similarly, self-psychology explains that the one refers to his or her experience regarding one's worth (which includes presence or absence of self-esteem). This perception is developed in relation to the comparison of one's self from others and the presence and absence of established boundaries. Each of these school of thoughts provide a distinct view of theories covering the phases of personality formulations and development and hence provide a discrete method to conduct a therapy by providing various indicators for which theoretical method should be made basis for the therapy (UKCP, 20120.
The very objective of this therapy explains how the therapist should focus on change the dimension of client's identity and integrate major learning experiences which were missed earlier, into current behavioral pattern so that the client may progress in the emotional development. Followers of this regime believe that few behavioral variations can take place rather rapidly or in a manner which entails constant development not requiring therapeutic interventions. However, the therapy focuses on providing rather concrete and relevant methodology to address the relevant issues which is a contradictory method to psychoanalytic method which makes the patient and therapists to interact and discuss freely about unconnected issues (Shedler, 2010, p.100).
The psychodynamic model is mainly focused on developing the preliminary evaluations in the initial sessions and this focused is determined by the agreement between client and therapist. This central focus provides the direction for the important issues and thus provides the layout or structure for the treatment with a unified objective. The therapists following this model is expected to keep the therapy aligned with the main issue and focuses on addressing it only ruling out unnecessary or irrelevant issues. Clear focus is the detrimental factor making the interpretations of the facts learnt during the sessions possible by only focusing on restricted problem area (NCBI, 1999).
Another theory which provides a rather effective therapeutic method is Client-centered therapy. Unlike psychodynamic model, it is based on humanistic approach which was provided by Carl Rogers. It is also known as person-centered therapy. The theory focuses on addressing subjects as clients. This is so because the very idea of this therapy is based on client and therapists' partnership rather than a psychologist treating a patient. Secondly, the therapeutically method empowers the client to improve quality of his life rather than burdening the therapist in doing so. The role of therapist is to allow the client to develop personal strength required for improving his present and future life. This ideology provides a deliberate effort which differentiates this therapy from other models based on psychodynamics, psychoanalysis and other behavioral theories in which doctor is required to perform the diagnosis and treat the patient. On the contrary, the client is made to form a decision regarding what is wrong and what needs to be done in order to improve the status quo by conscious and rational effort. Here, the therapist plays a role of a partner or a counselor who listens and provides encouragement on equal levels (McLeod, 2008).
The therapy is based on the idea that although many problems are rooted in the past but instead of just mitigating the impacts of the past, it is important to focus on the improvement of present and future situations. Hence, liberating the client from the past which is the major focus of psychodynamic analysts, Rogerian technique focuses on improving the current level of patient's life which will lead to self-actualization (McLeod, 2008).
The decisive factor playing role in the overall success of the therapy is the quality of the relationship between client and therapist. It is the relationship which decides the degree of improvement rather than just treatment itself. There are no concrete skills or techniques which are required to be demonstrated by the therapists. If there are any methodologies involved, it is listening, accepting, understanding and sharing which are foremost requirement for relationship building. Hence, this therapeutic model shows attitude orientation rather than skill orientation. This intervention allows the client to develop a certain perspective of themselves and their surroundings which leads to the betterment of the client.
The therapy entails various stages. When the client starts a therapeutic relationship with the counselor, he/she is in a state of incongruence. And the sole objective of the therapy is to reverse this state. The very rationale of this therapy is that everyone is competent in their own way and can benefit from this model by developing the feeling of self-worth, reducing the elements of self-doubt by eliminating the inconsistency between the ideal self and the real self, thus making the client a better functioning individual.
The client-based approach works on three rationales: The therapist is congruent with the client; the therapist provides the client with unconditional positive regard and the therapist shows empathetic understanding to the client. Before continuing further, we need to develop an understanding behind these three rationales. Firstly, congruence means being genuine. As per Rogers, it is one of the basic elements of counseling. Unlike psychodynamic analysts or counselors who maintain a degree of confidentiality and reveal very little about themselves, the Rogerian counselor is genuine. He shares the feelings and experiences whatever is being experienced by the patient as well. To be more precise, the therapist shows authenticity by having same internal and external experiences.
Secondly, this model is based on having an unconditional positive regard. As per this model, it is important to induce self-respect and self-worth into clients as it is mandatory for them to grow and fulfill their own potential. Hence, the therapist is expected to have deep care for the patient who would allow him to show genuine feelings and efforts required for the betterment of the client. It does not mean that the therapist is required to agree on everything proposed by the client. Rather there can be disapproval about various aspects however; the therapist does show approval of the client. Precisely, the…[continue]
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