Psychotherapy is the treatment of psychological disorders through psychological methods, such as talking about problems and exploring new ways of thinking and acting. I.
BASIC FEATURES OF TREATMENT
What features do all treatment techniques have in common? A.
The basic features of treatment for disorders include a client, or patient; a therapist, or helper; a special relationship between the two; a theory about the causes of the client’s problems; and a set of treatment procedures to address the client’s problems. 1.
Inpatients receive treatment while staying in a hospital or other residential institution. They have impairments severe enough to create a threat to their own well-being or that of others. Their treatment almost always includes psychoactive drugs. Outpatients receive treatment while living in the community. 2.
There are many providers of psychological treatment. a)
Psychiatrists are medical doctors specially trained to treat mental disorders. They are authorized to prescribe drugs. b)
Psychologists who do psychotherapy have usually completed a doctoral program in clinical or counseling psychology, sometimes with additional specialized training. Except for New Mexico and Louisiana, psychologists in the United States may not prescribe drugs. However, many other states are currently considering granting prescription privileges to specially trained psychologists. c)
Clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and licensed professional counselors usually hold a master’s degree in their field and provide therapy in hospitals, clinics, or private practice. d)
Psychiatric nurses, substance abuse counselors, pastoral counselors, and paraprofessional providers provide therapy, usually as part of a treatment team. 3.
The basic goal in psychotherapy is to help troubled people change their thinking, feelings, and behavior to relieve discomfort, and to promote happiness and better functioning in their life roles. 4.
The majority of mental health professionals see themselves as eclectic therapists, borrowing effective methods from many types of therapy. II.
How did Freud get started as a therapist?
Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud’s treatment method, was aimed at understanding unconscious conflicts and how they affect clients. Almost all forms of psychotherapy reflect some of Freud’s ideas, including his one-to-one method of treating people; his systematic search for relationships between an individual’s life history and current problems; his emphasis on thoughts, emotions, and motivations in treatment; and his focus on the client-therapist relationship. A.
Originally, Freud had hypnotized patients recall events that might have caused their problems. Later, he merely had patients lie on a couch, relax, and report whatever came to mind, free association. a)
Many patients taking Freud’s “talking cure” reported memories of childhood sexual abuse. Freud decided that these reflected childhood fantasies and unconscious conflicts, a judgment that has since been criticized. 2.
Classic psychoanalysis uses free association, dream analysis, and analysis of the way the client reacts to the therapist (transference) to help a client gain insight into problems. Clients first recognize unconscious thoughts and emotions, then work through the many ways in which those unconscious elements affect their everyday life. 3.
This treatment may require as many as three to five sessions per week for several years. B.
Contemporary Variations on Psychoanalysis
Classical psychoanalysis is not as prevalent as it was. Currently, there is more focus on social relationships in clients’ problems and how the ego can be used to solve them. 1.
In short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy the aim is to provide benefits in far...
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