Running head: Therapeutic Techniques and Counselling
Description and Evaluation of the Psychoanalytic Theories of Counselling and techniques using the Theorist Sigmund Freud
During the history of psychology and counselling a wide range of attitudes and approaches have been developed in order to provide individuals with the ability to explore his or her inner world through varied strategies and modes of interaction. The aim was to increase the level of awareness as well as the level of motivation and changes (Sarnoff, 1960). According to Stefflre & Burks (1979), Counselling doesn’t just occur between two people, “it denotes a professional relationship between a trained counsellor and a client. This relationship is usually person-to-person, although it may sometimes involve more than two people”, it also focuses upon the stimulation of personal development in order to maximize personal and social effectiveness and to forestall psychologically crippling disabilities (p.14). For this assignment the Psychoanalytic Theoretical approach to Counselling will be examined, along with its theorist Sigmund Freud and the therapeutic techniques associated with this theoretical approach. Before one can begin to explore techniques of psychoanalysis, it is important to briefly review Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, the developmental personality and his stages of psychological development. Psychoanalytic theory and its practice originated in the late nineteenth century in the work of Sigmund Freud. According to Sarnoff (1960), psychoanalytic theory is considered to be the historical foundation of therapy. It describes the “mechanisms of ego defence which serve to protect the individual against external and internal threat” it also offers a distinctive way of thinking about the human mind and how it responds to psychological distress (p. 251). This theory has evolved into a complex, multifaceted and internally fractured body of knowledge situated at the interface between the human and natural sciences, clinical and counselling practice and academic theory. Therefore the term psychoanalysis refers to both Freud’s original attempt at providing a comprehensive theory of the mind and also the associated treatment (Wachtel & Messer, 1997, p.39-42). Freud viewed human nature as dynamic, that is, he believed in the transformation and exchange of energy within the personality. These dynamic concepts consist of instincts, libido, cathexis, anticathexis and anxiety and are related to the way one distributes psychic energy (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2007). In attempting to account for why human beings behave as they do, Freud invented the topographic and structural models of personality. The topographical model or “iceberg” of the mind was intended to help analysts understand how patients repress wishes, fantasies, and thoughts. In the topographical model, the mind is divided into conscious, preconscious, and unconscious systems (Passer & Smith, 2007, p.443-445). The conscious system includes all that we are subjectively aware of in our minds. The preconscious includes material that we are capable of becoming aware of, but do not happen to be aware of currently. According to Freud (as cited in Passer & Smith, 2007, p.444), the metaphor of “the psyche is like an iceberg” was proposed. Like an actual iceberg only the upper ten percent of it is visible or conscious and the rest is submerged and unseen below the water’s surface. So likewise, most human behaviour results from unconscious motivation, hence the unconscious system includes material that we have defensively removed from our awareness by means of repression and other defence mechanisms. So when unconscious materials attempt to enter the conscious level, a "censor" function (repression) pushes it back or lets it through in a disguised form (Ewen, 1992). As a result, counsellors try to move...
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