The Comparison Between Psychodynamic and Humanistic Theory

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The Comparison between Psychodynamic and Humanistic Theory

There are very distinct differences between Psychodynamic and Humanistic Counselling but both ultimately offer the help and guidance to discover why we act the way we do and why we make certain choices in our lives.

Throughout this essay, I will endeavour to explain those major differences and you will see that despite these completely different methods of therapy, depending on what the problem maybe, they can both work very effectively in their own way.

Carl Rogers, born in 1902, was the originator of the Person Centred Approach or Humanistic Theory. His work was influenced by his experience of being a client and a counsellor (Casemore, 2006) and he believed a trusting relationship was essential in helping the client to grow and develop in order that they could cope with difficulties in a more effective manner and to function more effectively.

There is a strong emphasis of the need for counsellors to think of their clients as people rather than impersonal bodies. Characteristics important for effectiveness in the counsellor/client relationship are congruence, where the counsellor must be genuinely themselves, a complete and whole person. Empathic, which is the ability to understand and appreciate the clients perspective. To ‘live’ in their world and accept who they are unconditionally and unconditional positive regard which involves accepting the client completely and in a non-judgemental way.

Rogers believed that all humans have a natural desire for personal growth and potential so that they can take responsibility for their own actions and the way they live their lives. This view is called the Actualising Tendency. He believed that everybody had an inner need to wholeness.

The self-concept is also important in Person Centred Counselling. This relates to the individuals perception or the way in which they see themselves based on life experiences and attitudes from those important people around them when they were young.

Abraham Maslow is another theorist whose contribution to the Person Centred Approach is very significant. He proposed a hierarchy of needs which he believed were responsible for human motivation and drive. They are as follows:

Physiological Needs - These are biological needs. They consist of needs for oxygen, food, and water. They are the strongest needs because if a person were deprived of all needs, the physiological ones would come first in the person's search for satisfaction.

Safety Needs - When all physiological needs are satisfied and are no longer controlling thoughts and behaviors, the needs for security can become active.

Needs of Love, Affection and Belongingness – When the needs for safety and for physiological well-being are satisfied, the next class of needs for love, affection and belongingness can emerge. Needs for Esteem - When the first three classes of needs are satisfied, the needs for esteem can become dominant. These involve needs for both self-esteem and for the esteem a person gets from others.

Needs for Self-Actualization - When all of the foregoing needs are satisfied, then and only then are the needs for self-actualization activated. Maslow describes self-actualization as a person's need to be and do that which the person was "born to do."

According to Maslow it is possible for people to work towards self-actualisation by practising behaviours which encourage the development of confidence and openness. These include; trying new experiences and to challenge oneself, to assume responsibility, strive to be honest and to develop a capacity to trust onself,

Both Maslow and Rogers had very similar views. Maslow believed that the most basic drive was to become the person that one is capable of becoming and Rogers believed that the basic drive was to become the person that one truly is.

Gestalt Therapy is a psychotherapy, based on the experiential ideal of "here and now", and...
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