compare and contrast three core theories of counselling

Topics: Psychotherapy, Psychodynamic psychotherapy, Sigmund Freud Pages: 7 (2615 words) Published: February 25, 2014
Compare and Contrast the Three Core Theories of Counselling The British Association for Counselling’s Code of Ethics and Practice for Counsellors states that ‘Counselling may be concerned with developmental issues, addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crisis, developing personal insight and knowledge, working through feelings of inner conflict or improving relationships with others’ (BACP Ethical Framework). Throughout this essay I will illustrate the similarities and differences between the three core theories by looking at the theory behind each concept, the nature of the client/counsellor relationship and the techniques used. The three core theories to be considered here are Humanistic, Psychodynamic and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Firstly I will begin by looking at the theory behind each of the main concepts. I will begin with the Humanistic Approach. Person-centred therapy is a non-scientific concept, developed by Carl Rogers. Rogers believed that we are all born with the ability to gain self-actualisation and have an organismic self. e He quoted, “the organism has one basic tendency and striving-to actualise, maintain and enhance the experiencing organism.” (Rogers, 1951, p487) However, the organismic self can be infringed upon by conditions of worth placed upon us in early childhood and thus for the positive regard of others, we may ignore our internal valuing for the love of significant others. Rogers called this the adapted self. Rogers believed that in order for a client to reach self-actualisation there must be three core conditions; empathy, unconditional positive regard and genuineness. These three core conditions are used to emphasise the counsellor’s appreciation for the client. This then enhances the clients’ self-concept. Rogers believed the self-concept was split into three sections, self-worth (thoughts of our self), self-image (how we view our body image), and the ideal self (what we would like to be). Rogers saw the client as the expert and thus encouraged them to seek fulfilment for themselves, by taking charge of their actions and feelings. He used counselling tools such as reflecting, paraphrasing and summarising to encourage the client to talk about their issues. These techniques emphasised the 3 core conditions and encouraged the client to accept who they are and reconnect with their true selves, stepping away from their adapted self. On the other hand the psychodynamic approach is a medical concept based upon the subconscious mind and was the first form of counselling dating back to the 20th century. The main leader in this theory is Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). He believed a person’s problems stemmed from their childhood experiences. In his opinion the feelings and memories were repressed and festered in the subconscious mind which consequently affected the current behaviour and thoughts of the client. He placed great emphasis on sexuality being the key to a healthy personality. He created the 5 Pyscho-sexual stages of development whereby adulthood is determined by a person successfully reaching each stage; this would then lead to a healthy personality as an adult. Freud saw the human personality being split into three components, the conscious, the preconscious and the subconscious (Nelson-Jones, 2006, p25). He also saw the mind being split into the ego, the superego and id. The relationships with significant others such as parent are very important to the later functioning ego. Freud believed that neurotic disorders are thought to stem from problematic relationships with parents. At the time that these occur a specific stage of the Pyscho-sexual development is unresolved and results in sexual conflict. Defence mechanisms such as denial, suppression, reaction formation and regression can then be used to cope with the anxiety formed by the fight between the impulsive desires of the id and moral judgements of the superego. These defence mechanisms offer...
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