opinion pages and articles on the beauty of life: friendship, family, love, romance, marriage, parenting, etc...
Ten current disciplines in human psychology
Published on August 25, 2004 By jesseledesma In Personal Relationships
Overview of Human Psychological
By Mr. Jesus Lopez-Ledesma

The following pages are my review of the ten psychotherapy techniques discussed in Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. Through this review I ignored parts of theories that I did not see significant. In addition, I directly quoted when I believed that the exact quote was needed in order to understand the principle. Moreover, I have held my observations of the individual theories until the end. I have always bee a fact-oriented person. Therefore, I report mostly the facts of different theories.

My concerns in this review were how does the theory view human nature developing, how it views dysfunction, and what are the assumptions and techniques of the individual theories. At times I omitted certain facts because I they were redundant or not important.

The first theory I reviewed is psychoanalysis. The basic premise of this theory is that through development a person experiences events that result in activation of coping mechanisms drives that are internally driven. Terms such as deterministic have been used to describe this viewpoint. According to this viewpoint, behavior is the result of “irrational forces, unconscious motivations, and biological and instinctual drives”.

Sigmund Freud was the first person to promote this viewpoint. Many sources have reported that he came to his conclusions after his work with women, from a certain socio-economic background; he viewed as suffering from sexual repression.

Through his work, Freud concluded that human nature occurs in six stages. He called these stages psychosexual stages. The driving force is the instinct to survive. In this viewpoint, three operational levels in the human mind move the person to act. These levels are the “id”, “ego”, and “superego”. The “id” is what we know as animal instinct to eat. The “superego” is the means by which this instinct is met. “Ego” is the part of the human mind that arranges for needs to be met in a socially appropriate manner.

Another contributing voice to psychoanalysis is Eric Erickson. Erickson differed from Freud in that Erickson saw the stages of development described by Freud as more related to psychosocial development, instead of psychosexual. He did give psychosexual development its place in human psychological development. However, he believed that psychosexual development occurs along with psychosocial development.

Initially psychoanalysis is grounded on id psychology, and it holds that instincts and intrapsychic conflicts are the basics factors shaping personality development. Current psychanalysis is based on Erickson’s theory of psychosocial development. This is called Ego psychology. Here, the emphasis is on the whole life span of a person as the ego vies for means to acquire the means to meet the person’s needs.

In psychoanalysis, the therapists believe that internal energies move the individual to pursue animal desire through socially accepted means. When the person is not able to accomplish this task, distress occurs in the person. This distressed is the manifestation of different coping mechanisms such as repression, denial, or regression.

It is the therapist role to find out which coping mechanism is contributing to the person’s distress. The psychoanalysis is the stereotypical aloof and knowing doctor that is accustomed to asking” and how does that make you feel”. In their quiet demeanor, the therapist hopes to get the client to transfer the emotions he or she has for significant people in his or her life on to the therapist.

The goal is to get a sense of what is bothering the client. In order to do this the therapist looks for inconsistencies in the client’s story, interprets dreams and free associations, and is aware of the possibility of the client directing emotions towards him or her.

There are several criticisms of the psychodynamic theory. Some believe it cost to much, it is to time consuming, and there is a lack of professionals trained in this discipline. It is also seen as not effective with severely disturbed people. The therapist is seen as to closed of. Moreover, some have a disagreement with the concepts that relate to sex.

Alderian therapy sees human psychological nature not driven by internal forces. However, Alder did see psychological development occurring early in first six years of life. He did not believe a person was limited to internal desires.

Instead, Adler believes, “humans are motivated primarily by social relatedness rather than sexual urges”. In addition, Alder sees people capable of purposeful and goal directed behavior”. Moreover, Adler sees human psychological functioning as more a result of conscious operations.

The basis of this theory is that feelings of inferiority, which Alder sees in all people, can be a source of creativity. This creativity “motivates us to strive for mastery, success, and completion.” Better put, we strive for “higher levels of development”. The presumption is that around six years old we begin to form a life goal from how we perceive our selves.

Further assumptions of these theory are “subjective perception of reality”, “unity and patterns of human personality”, “social interest and community feeling”, and ‘birth order and sibling relationship”. Subjective perception of reality relates to the person’s perception f his or her values, beliefs, attitudes, goals, interest, and their perceived reality. Unity and patterns of human personality relate to the assumption that the person is a complete “social creative, decision-making, being who act with purpose and cannot be fully known outside the contexts” the person considers important. In this assumption, a person’s lifestyle is one where behaviors are goal directed and purposeful and strive for significance and superiority. Social interest and community feelings have to do with the person’s connection to his or her society and a desire to make a positive contribution to his or her community.

Therapists base therapy on a cooperative relationship between therapist and client. Through “mutual respect and identifying, exploring, and disclosing mistaken goals and faulty assumptions the client is “reeducated towards the useful side of life. The therapist contributing to the client’s greater self-awareness and challenging and changing the client’s perceptions, life goals, and basic concepts achieves this goal.

Like all therapists, therapists in Alderian therapy also work under certain assumptions. Here the professional sees the client as capable of suffering from discouragement and not operating well because of errors in their thought process, wrong values, misdirected goals. The aim is to help the client feel better by knowing and correcting their core mistakes.

The therapist contributes to the accomplishment of these goals through a total evaluation of the client’s mental health status. This includes status of relationship with family and other people living where the client lives. In addition, the therapist also evaluates the individual’s nature, intricate elements of the family, early memories, and personality priorities.

Critics of this therapy see it as to unstructured and simplistic.
Any particular original author did not produce existential therapy. Rising out of philosophy it grew on it s own in Europe out a need to resolve complications of modern life, such isolation and loneliness. Instead of developing a process of human psychological development, this theory evaluates the human experience. Several individuals have contributed to this theory.

Existentialists view life as a continuing process. Their assumption is that we are continually recreating ourselves. In addition, they believe that “human are in constant state of transition, emerging, evolving, and becoming”. People do this by questioning others, the world, and their selves. Moreover, “existentialist believe in self-awareness; freedom and responsibility: creating one’s identity and establishing meaningful relationships with others; the search for meaning, purpose, values, and goals; anxiety as a condition of living; and an awareness of death.

Therapy consists of helping the client accept the responsibility that comes from our freedom. This is due to the assumption that people are not living the best life experience possible.

Moreover, therapist in this modality of therapy want to “take clients out of their rigid grooves and to challenge their narrow and compulsive trends, which are blocking their freedom”. The initial response of the client is anxiety. In this theory, therapist believe that anxiety is the result of the sense that we cannot count on the life that surfaces when we experience change.

Several individuals have contributed to these therapy’s assumptions. One person states that the client comes to therapy with the “self-serving illusion that they are inwardly enslaved and that someone else can free them”. For this person the goal is to get the client out of the victim role by “teaching the client to listen to what they already know about themselves”, even though they may not be living according to the perceptions of their selves.

Another person has identified three main responsibilities of the Existential therapist. These responsibilities are to help the client become aware of their lack of presence in the therapy process, to help the client in managing their anxiety, and to help the client acquire a more appropriate perception of life.

For the most part, Existential therapy is diverse. The therapist may change techniques with different clients or with the same client. Other therapist prefers not to use techniques from other theories of psychological development.

However, there is an essential principle of philosophy in Existential therapy. This principle implies that the therapist has to work at using his or her essence as a person to assist the client in acquiring a genuine and appropriate perspective on life.

This type of therapy is for people who experience “restricted existence”. These people are seldom completely aware of their true life or their dilemma. Their scope is limited and feel trapped or helpless.

In order to deal with their complications existential therapy therapist teach clients how to become self-aware and self-reliant. In addition, the therapist expects client to define his or her therapy and put to practice what he or she learns in counseling.

Like Alderian therapy, this therapy has been criticized for not being a formal theory of human psychology and having terms that can be considered mystical.

Carl Roger was one of the proponents of Person-Centered therapy. He has contributed to the humanistic movement in psychotherapy, research pioneering, and influences many of the fields of psychology. In addition, he has assisted societal groups that are in conflict with one another resolve these conflicts using the person-centered approach. Moreover, he contributed to interracial relationships with the intent of world peace.

The approach Rogers promoted is one of a few approaches to psychotherapy that are a reaction away from psychoanalysis and behaviorist approaches. Like existentialism, this approach pays attention to the client’s subjective experience and trusts the client to act on his or her behalf. Freedom, choice, values, personal, responsibility, autonomy, purpose, and meaning are also concepts of this theory.

Their position on anxiety is that anxiety is not that profound of an experience. Each of us has a natural potential that we can actualize and through which we can find meaning. In this philosophy, its supporters believed that there are attitudes and behaviors that lead to a growth-producing climate. These qualities help the individual “develop their capacities and stimulates constructive change in others”.

Thrust in the client’s ability to move forward in a constructive manner if the appropriate conditions fostering growth are present” is the core philosophy of this approach.

In this therapy, the therapeutic goal is the person, not necessarily the person’s presenting problem. Therapists are to assist the person in developing the abilities necessary to meet their personal mental health challenges. In other words, the goal is to help the person become a complete person.

The client’s therapist assists the client in becoming a whole person by first helping him or her get beyond the false self he or she has created. Person centered therapy believes that this false self is the result of socialization. Removing this false concept allows the person to see his or her real self. This true self is one that is open to experiences, trusts his or her self, is part of the personal evaluation, and is willing to grow.

Person-centered therapy therapists have built a therapy under the assumption that the client-therapist relationship is one where a knowledgeable professional can help the client clarify and set his or her goals. This requires respect and trust on the part of the therapist in order to allow the client to lead. The therapist accomplishes his or her goals with his or her nature and attitude. By being human, the therapist creates with in the client the ability to recognize parts of his or her life that she or he is avoiding or views incorrectly. Genuine caring, respect, acceptance, and understanding are the personal qualities that therapist displayed in order to give a human appearance.

If change is to occur, it may come about by how the client views the therapy experience and the attitudes of the therapist. The therapist ability to create the conditions of self-exploration may result the client evaluating his or her personal experiences, such as emotions, values, acts, and perception of life. Person-centered therapy clients come to therapy because they feel powerless, helpless, and cannot manage their lives or make appropriate decisions. These clients’ hope is that the therapist can guide them in finding the way overcome their dilemma. After therapy begins, the client learns that he or she can find his or her own way.

I have indirectly discussed the therapy-client relationship in a person-centered therapy. The client is ambivalent about how pursue a stress free life. The therapist concentrates on displaying personal qualities as kindness and acceptance in order to reduce stress in the client with the hope that the reduction in stress will lead to a person that can see things differently. In this therapy assessment is done at the beginning and through out therapy. The importance in this assessment is how the client views him or herself.

The criticisms of this theory are several. Some therapist in this therapy may be too nice to the client. In their effort to formulate a good working relationship by being a real person the inexperienced therapist may actual build a friendly relationship with the client that does not contribute to change or progress.

The next therapy I will review is Gestalt therapy. Frederick S. Perls and Laura Perls are two VIP’s associated with Gestalt therapy. Mr. Perls was the principal composer of the therapy. His training was in medicine and psychotherapy. After working at the Goldstein Institute for Brain-Damaged Soldiers, he began to see the totality of the human experience. At Vienna, Mr. Perls began training in psychoanalytical training. Gestalt therapy came about after he separated from the teachings of psychoanalyze and moved to America.

Laura P. Fritz trained in Gestalt therapy, philosophy, law, and music. She encountered Mr. Perls at 1926. At this time, they collaborated in the creation of Gestalt therapy. Together, the Perls expanded this therapy.

One of Mr. Perls assumptions is that people avoid personal responsibility and self-reliance by being manipulative. In addition, Gestalt therapy therapist base therapy on the assumption that people can only face reality for a short while before they began to move away from introspection. Moreover, people see their emotions as something separate from their selves.

In this type of the therapy the therapist, holds the viewpoint that the past will present itself in the client’s present because of unfinished business. Therefore, the therapist tries to help the client recognize as soon as possible and in a vivid manner their experiences. Through out the course of therapy the therapist measure the amount of anxiety or discomfort the client displays and establishes further therapy on this discomfort and anxiety.

The principles are varied. Corey mentions Holism, Field theory, The Figure-Formation Process, and Organismic Self-Regulation. Holism is the principal that people are composed of many parts such as thoughts, feelings, behaviors, body, and dreams. Field theory refers to the need to see the person in his or her environment or in a context of perpetual change. The figure formation process is the belief of Gestalt therapists that the person is always organizing his or her environment. Organism regulating them selves in order to achieve balance after being disturbed is the principal of Organismic Self-Regulation.

Other assumptions of Gestalt therapy are The Now, Personality as Peeling an onion, Contact and Resistance to Contact, Energy and Blocks to Energy. Contact and Resistance to Contact has the assumptions of Projection, Retroflection, Deflection, and Confluence. The Now is the greatest term is Gestalt therapy. This term refers to being “able to appreciate and fully experience the present moment”.

Unfinished business states that people experience “figures” that are not completed and resolved. These figures are in the person’s background and can be expressed in resentment, rage, hatred, pain anxiety, grief, guilt, and abandonment. These background feelings can interfere with present and future functioning by complicated the person’s life with unresolved issues that are demanding they be resolved.

Personality as Peeling an Onion refers to the understanding of adult personality by peeling away layers of neurosis. These layers are “the phony”, “the phobic”, “the impasse”, “the implosive”, and “the explosive”. The travel through this layers is from a superficial person, who develops fears from things he or she does not like about her or himself, stays stuck in development and begins to manipulate the environment, and reaches a point of unavoidable introspection that leads to a release of a lot of emotional energy.

Contact and Resistance to Contact speaks of the need for contact. In Gestalt therapy, therapists see contact as necessary for change and growth. Here, they define contact as seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and moving. Positive contact involves staying a unique person while interacting with nature and people. The facilitators of contact are “clear awareness”, “full energy”, and “the ability to express oneself”. This contact occurs in moments not stages.

Introjection is the concept of accepting other’s beliefs without question. Not questioning people’s ideas result in these ideas remaining separate from our understandings. In projection, we separate from some of our beliefs by giving the environment credit for some of our attributes. “Retroflection” speaks of acting out against other people when we really would like to act out on ourselves or acting out against our selves when we want to act out against some one else. Deflection is using behaviors in order to avoid a certain level of intimacy. Confluence is the blending in to the society around us and becoming part of the background.

The assumption of Energy blocks states that energy blocks are a form of resistance. It may present itself as “ tension in some part of the body, by posture, by keeping one’s body tight and closed, by not breathing deeply, by looking away from people one is talking to, by choking off sensation, by numbing feelings, and by speaking with a restricted voice, among other practices”.

In therapy, the goal is to gain greater choice through awareness. Awareness in Gestalt therapy refers to complete awareness of us, our environment, and other people. Gestalt therapists see this awareness as the vehicle to help people become unified and whole.

The therapist’s function and role in Gestalt therapy is to invite the client in to a cooperative association in order to learn about themselves by gathering a scientific attitude of introspection and trying out new behaviors. The therapist encouraging the client to acknowledge his or her sensory experiences accomplishes this goal. Moreover, the interaction between client and therapist is one where issues are encountered through experiments the therapist has created. I interpret these experiments as hypothetical situations that are exercised in techniques such as role-playing. Other exercises are “The Internal Dialogue”, “Making the Rounds”, The Reversal Techniques”, “The Rehearsal”, “The Exaggeration”, Staying With the Feeling”, and “Gestalt Approach to Dream Work”.

Like in the Person-Centered approach, the Gestalt therapist exhibits encouraging human behaviors. They are kind, understanding, supportive, and nonjudgmental. In addition, the therapist establishes a therapeutic environment where the client recognizes his or her responsibilities to therapy and cooperates in his or her therapy.

This therapy has been criticized over emphasizing confrontation and ignoring understanding the inner workings of the person.

The next therapy I reviewed was Reality Therapy. A significant person in this therapy was Mr. William Glasser. Mr. Glasser got his education at Case Western Reserve University. At this university, Mr. Glasser acquired training in psychology and psychiatry.

His rejection of Freudian theory led him to assumption that though we are products of our past we still have the power to deal with the here and now. The core principal of Reality therapy is choice theory. This theory states we are born with five internal composites of survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun. The proponents of this theory believe that feeling bad comes from our failure to meet our needs.

Behavior is seen as direct by the internal need to have a need satisfied. This idea is accompanied by the idea of Total behavior. Total behavior speaks of behavior as made up of four components. These components are acting, thinking, feeling, and the physiology that coincide with our action thoughts, and emotions. Mental health issues are the result of lack of responsibility in meeting our needs.

Moreover, Reality therapists search for the relationship that is contributing to the problem. These therapists believe that the client will identify this person quickly and put the responsibility of the relationship stress on this person.

Reality therapy, however, does not work at blaming someone for the nature of the relationship. This therapy, instead, focuses on the parts of the relationship that the client can control. The “obvious” as the client explains it is rephrased by the therapist in order for the client to understand the reality of the situation. For example, a therapist may respond to client that states it is not fair that my spouse left by stating, “ It may not be fair that he or she left but the reality is that they have left”.

These reality points are stated in order for the client to see the reality of his or her life and live according to this reality. We should live according to our real circumstance by putting an “emphasis on responsibility”. Since we are the ones that choose to act, we should take responsibility of the results of our actions.

Reality therapy explains that clients may be reluctant in taking responsibility. Furthermore, this therapy informs that instead of debating the issue of responsibility the therapist should concentrate on the choices the client is capable of making in his or her life.

Furthermore, in reality therapy, transference is rejected and the therapy is maintained in the here and now. The focus on reality relates to therapy also. The therapist is supposed to avoid being categorized by the client with personality characteristics of people in the client’s life. The reality is that the therapist is neither the clients father nor his or her first significant romantic partner. The therapist is just the therapist who is trying to get the client to focus on the present reality of his or her life by placing emphasis on the reality the client is currently living.

The goal of therapy is complex. The therapist attempts to reconnect the client with the people in his or her “quality world” and to teach the client choice theory. Quality world is the ideal vision of our life. Reality therapist believes that people have a perception of their perfect life. This perfect ideal is different from the reality the client may be living. Through choice theory, the client is taught to recognize that his or her current circumstances are the result of the choices he or she made.

Another goal of therapy is to help people who are very reluctant to initial therapy. These people may exhibit aggression and violence, addictions, and/or other antisocial behaviors.

These types of clients are not the normal clients. Reality therapy clients perceive that mere contact with a Reality therapist will be a good experience. In addition, they see the therapist as safe a nonjudgmental. Though therapists are firm and confronting, they are also expected to be gentle.

Moreover, reality therapy exists with the possibility that each session may be the last. As the client is taught to be realistic and take responsibility for his or her choices, the client should start practicing what he or she is learning.

The person-centered approach to therapy is also emphasized in reality therapy. Emphasis is also placed on the therapist being a good person with a good nature.

After creating the counseling environment, the therapist then employs the other techniques of reality therapy. These other techniques are “question an answer” and the WDEP system. In the question and answer part, the therapist tries to identify the complicated relationship that is resulting in the client’s need for therapy and the unsatisfied needs of the client. WDEP stands for wants and needs, direction and doing, evaluation, and planning and commitment. In the wants and needs phase of therapy the client is encourage to recognize, define, and refine the manner in which they may meet their needs. In addition, the therapist and the client work at identifying the client’s “special world”. In direction and doing the client begins to build the life he or she wants from living in the here and now and pursuing this life. At the evaluation phase the client reviews his or her actions in relation to their presumed goals. Through this process, the client identifies irrational behaviors and establishes goals that are more appropriate. Once the appropriate goals are set the client then establishes a plan to achieve his or her goals. The client can modify the plan if necessary.

There is some criticism of Reality therapy. Some view reality therapy as failing in giving attention to early childhood experiences and their contributing factors, transference, and dream analysis. In addition, critics of reality therapy cite a lack of attention to human psychological dynamics such as conflict between the unconscious and the conscious and how this conflict contributes to our feelings, thoughts, and actions.

Behaviorism, on other hand, is concerned with how the environment conditions people’s behavior. This theory of human psychology started around the early 1950’s. Initially behaviorism used the concepts of classical and operant conditioning in therapy. Today, it has become a more complicated theory.

This complicated theory has grown by the contribution of many authors. Albert Bandura created social learning theory. This theory combines classical and operant conditioning with observational learning. Albert Ellis was responsible for rational emotive therapy. Cognitive therapy was the result of Aaron Beck’s contribution.

The contributing areas of knowledge to this theory are classical conditioning, operant conditioning, social learning theory, and cognitive behavior therapy. Classical conditioning is the result of displaying an object that does not result in natural response to the subject before displaying an object that does result in a natural response. An example of this would be ringing a bell before releasing a puff of air in to the subject’s eyes. After several trials, the subject begins to blink when he or she hears the bell. In operant conditioning, the subject learns a behavior that leads to profitable action. When a pigeon pecks at a certain colored dish that leads to a food particle the pigeon will peck at this colored dish in order to get food. The human equivalent is working for a paycheck. Social learning theory is built on the assumption that through interaction with our environment we are conditioned to certain behaviors. This theory, in addition, incorporates ideas, thoughts, and perceptions. Cognitive behavior therapy sees behavior as the result of how people process information.

Modern behaviorism, however, does not see people as victims of their environment. Today, behavior therapy sees the client as the one that creates the environment that creates him or her. For this reason, behaviorists develop techniques to help the client gain control and increase freedom.

This theory of human psychology is also the result of experimentation. Researchers test the techniques and procedures in laboratory situations. The ones this researchers prove work are the ones that are used in therapy. In addition, this therapy is based on the here and now of the client, not childhood experiences. Moreover, the therapist expects the client to have an active role in their therapy. When possible, client and therapist meet at the client’s natural environment. In the therapy session the therapist “trains the client to initiate, conduct, and evaluate” his or her own therapy.

The goal of therapy is to develop new circumstances for conditioning. Behaviorists believe that by creating a new learning environment the client’s problems may diminish. In addition, in this therapy the therapist sets the goals of therapy. The therapist may modify these goals if necessary. Continual assessment through out therapy contributes to the modification of the therapeutic goals. Elements such as cost of therapy and clients cooperation are taken in to account by the therapist when he or she modifies the original goals.

In behavioral therapy, the therapist approaches his responsibilities as a scientist. These therapists measure their observations of the client against their knowledge of mental health. In addition, behavior therapist incorporate question and answer sessions in order to understand the client’s dilemma.

The behaviorists’ focus is on current problematic behavior. In this effort, the behaviorist looks at the current situations in the person’s life that may be contributing to the client’s problem. The therapist also evaluates the extent of the problem.

Other steps in the process are setting therapy goals, identifying the elements that will maintain the therapy goals, changing the original plan if necessary, evaluation of progress, and follow-up assessment.

In addition, the therapist attempts to teach the client new behavior patterns by displaying the correct behavior to the client. This is called modeling. Other techniques of behaviorist therapy are “role playing”, “behavioral rehearsal”, and “feedback”.

Behaviorists respect the client/therapist relationship. However, they do not pay to much attention on being kind and understanding. Instead, the behavior therapist uses his or her personal dynamics in order to build a relationship where the client will cooperate with the professional mental health goals the therapist leads in establishing with the client. It is essential to behavior therapy that the client recognizes that the therapist is the mental health professional who is better equipped to lead therapy. Therefore, behaviorist may use their personal skills to communicate their abilities in a manner that does not put off the client.

The processes of behaviorist therapy are numerous. Some patients are thought how reduce anxiety through relaxation exercises. In addition, therapist attempt to reconditioned their clients from their bad behaviors. Systematic Desensitization and other Exposure Therapies use exposure in order to effect change. The client can be exposed to the feared object in stages or at a one-time shot. When exposure is in stages, the exposure stops when the client can no longer handle the anxiety. All in one shot exposure last until the client learns to deal with the feared object. Moreover, one technique exposes the client to the feared object at the same time the therapist presents alternative perceptions of the feared object to the client. A final note is that exposure is usually the client imagining the feared object. Many times, it is not beneficial for the client and therapist to go to where the feared object is located. In addition, to learning to deal with feared situations and people the therapist teaches the client that needs it how engage in feared activities.

Current behavior therapy efforts are using Self Management, Self Directed behavior, Mutimodal approach, and Quick Therapy. In Self Management and Self Direct Behavior, the therapist teaches the client to practice, self-monitor, self-reward, self-contracting, and stimulus control in problem resolution. Multimodal is using varies therapy techniques to help the client. Lazarus developed Multimodal approach to behavior therapy. In this approach, the person is seen as a composite of behavior, emotions, sensations, perception, cognitions, interpersonal relationships, drugs, biological functioning, nutrition, and exercise.

There is criticism of behavior therapy. Some have commented that behavior therapists may be to eager to get at the behavior problem and bypass listening to the client’s experience. In addition, others have commented that behaviorism does not pay attention to the internal contributors to behavior such as emotions. There is also the criticism that behaviorism overlooks the benefit of understanding the complete person. This last criticism is tied in to the perception that behaviorism treats symptoms but not the cause of the symptoms. In addition, behaviorists are seen as to controlling in therapy.

A branch of behaviorism is cognitive behavior therapy. Albert Ellis is the developer of this theory of human psychology. He was a psychoanalyst at first. Then he decided that psychoanalysis was a superficial and unscientific method. At this time, he formed rational emotive therapy after experimenting with other techniques.

Aaron Temkin Beck is another proponent of cognitive therapy. He is a graduate of Yale Medical School. His residency was in psychiatry. His contribution to cognitive psychology came after a disagreement with Freud on the causes of depression.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is a theory of human psychology that stresses “thinking, judging, deciding, analyzing, and doing”. In addition, this theory has the understanding of an interaction between cognitions, behaviors, and thoughts. Moreover, these proponents see behavior troubles as the result of how people perceive events and situations.

One of the presuppositions of rational emotive therapy is the people have the ability of healthy rational thought as well as unhealthy irrational thought. Moreover, according to this theory, emotional and behavioral problems are the result of mistaking personal ambitions for dire needs. In addition, REBT proponents believe that people have a “predisposition for self-preservation, happiness, thinking and verbalization, avoidance of thought, procrastination, endless repetition of mistakes, superstition, intolerance, perfectionism and self-blame, and avoidance of actualizing growth potentials”.

The process of learning irrational thoughts is an involved process. RBET proponents believe that we first learn these irrational thoughts from a significant person in our childhood. Then we build our own misconceptions of the world. Furthermore, we reinforce these irrational thoughts with self-defeating beliefs that we feed by our “autosuggestion” and “self-repetition”. The strength of these thoughts is due to our perception that these thoughts are necessary in our life.

Another presupposition is that people do not necessarily need to be loved by other people. Therefore, the therapist teaches the client to avoid depression that is the result of how we interpret people not accepting and loving us. REBT therapists believe that blame is an important factor in mental distress. We cause our selves stress by thinking that whatever we are missing is missing because we did something for it to be missing. In accepting that it is not our fault, we can overcome the distress we are feeling.

A-B-C theory is a theory with in REBT. This theory states that a person’s belief about and event results is the emotional consequence. In this case, A is the event, B is our belief about the event, and C is the emotional consequence.

The goal of therapy is to help the client reduce his or her distress by acquiring a different way of perceiving life. In addition, the therapist works at helping the client stop blaming him or her self. The therapist also teaches the client new strategies for dealing with new concerns.

Like other therapies, REBT emphasizes the humanness of the therapist. In this therapy, therapists equate unconditional positive regard with full acceptance or tolerance. Full acceptance or tolerance is an effort to not evaluate the client. This lack of evaluation does not limit the therapist ability to confront the client.

The therapist is to be a professional who directs the client’s direction. This direction is composed of the client recognizing his or her misconceived perceptions, recognizing how he or she feeds his or her own negativity, developing a better strategy, and learning new perceptions. In this therapeutic process, the therapist teaches the client the intricacies of cognitive psychological science. The hope here is that by understanding the specifics of how cognitions contribute to behavior the client will be better prepared to accept the teachings of therapy.

Therefore, in REBT therapy the client serves the position of student. The therapist gears the lessons in the appropriate manner to teach the client how to manage his or her behavior with more appropriate perceptions. Moreover, this therapy is based on the “here and now”. The present troublesome behavior is the focus of REBT therapy. In addition, as in other therapies, the therapist expects the client to be active and involved in the client’s therapy.

Another form of behavior therapy is Aaron Beck’s Cognitive therapy. This therapy shares the attributes of being active, directive, time-limited, present-centered, and structured with rational emotive therapy. In addition, this therapy focuses on the client recognizing and changing negative and maladaptive beliefs.

Aaron Beck structured this theory on the presupposition that behavior is the result of how people perceive and structure personal experiences. Moreover, this theory of human psychology has certain assumptions. It is possible to access-through introspection-a person’s internal communication, the client’s beliefs are personally significant, and the client-not the therapist-can discover meaning are these assumptions.

The basic principals of cognitive theory come from Aaron Beck’s personal experiences in his therapy practice. In this practice, Beck became interested in a person’s automatic thoughts. These thoughts are described as “personalized notions that are triggered by particular stimuli and lead to emotional responses”. Beck believes that people who suffer emotional disturbances, such as depression, “commit characteristics ‘logic errors’ that tilt objective reality in the direction of self-deprecation”. These faulty perceptions are Arbitrary Inferences, Selective Abstraction, Overgeneralization, Magnification, Personalization, Labeling and Mislabeling, and Polarized Thinking.

The function of therapy is to use the approaches that apply to reduce psychological turmoil by correcting faulty perceptions and self-signals. In this therapy, the focus is on correcting false assumptions through the process of evaluation. Then the client and therapist work on teaching the client the difference between their negative perceptions and reality. In addition, the client learns the contribution his or her negative thoughts have on his or her behavior. The next step is for the client to test his or her negative perceptions through dialogue with therapist, homework assignments, gathering information on their assumptions, recording their activities, and making different perceptions.

In cognitive therapy, the therapist does emphasize the quality of the client/therapist relationship. Beck sees this relationship as the basis for the application of this kind of therapy. Again, the person-centered approaches of being kind and accepting are the attributes of the therapist. In addition, the therapist has to have a grasp of the cognitive aspects of the case. Moreover, cognitive therapists gain the cooperation on the client in his or her therapy. In this cooperative relationship, the client learns how to be his or her own therapist.

Feminist therapists focus on transforming the individual client and society. This type of therapy has had several contributing authors. These writers are Jean Baker Miller, Carolyn Zerbe Enns, Olivia M. Espin, and Laura S. Brown.

These proponents choose to not give gender credit in human psychology. Instead, feminist therapists believe that human nature is the result of socialization. With in this view are other sub-views. A “flexible theory” is theories that have utility to individuals and groups regardless of age, race, culture, gender, or sexual orientation. Interactionist theories focus of people’s feelings, thoughts, and behavior and include context and environment. A “life-span” theory looks a human nature as a continuing work in progress.

However, regardless, of the feminist theory, social gender expectations of behavior are the basis of feminist theories. Here, the American society is the environment that perpetuates gender stereotypes. The developing person therefore is conditioned to a gender role by society. Society conditions girls to be sweet, sensitive, and docile while conditioning boys to be strong, stoic, and brave.

Psychological differences among the genders are seen as the result that women tend to the caretakers. Developing girl’s identity is formed through a relationship with their mothers. Boy’s nature is the result of the child trying to be different from his mother and identify with his father. Feminists believe that the nurturing relationship that dominates women’s lives conditions them to a condition where their autonomy and independence is reduced, where boys encounter power seeking behaviors, which results in, reduce empathy and other emotions.

The core principals of this theory are numerous. “The personal is political” is the emphasis on society and politics’ influence on a woman’s dilemma. Because feminists believe that both of these entities contribute to a woman’s problem the client must be politicized in order to correct the elements of these entities that contribute to their problems. In therapy, the therapist acts as a source of information the client can use to develop new behaviors and become politically active. In addition, feminist value the female experience. Female clients are encouraged to express emotion, use intuition, and reference their personal experiences for future direction. Moreover, these therapists see mental illness a result of a “communication of unjust systems”. Furthermore, feminist therapists define pain in the terms of “ evidence of resistance and the skill and will to survive”. Symptoms are the result of “creative strategies for coping with society’s oppression”. Finally, the therapist recognizes the influences of his or her gender on therapy and that men are victims of a gender oppressive society that limits people’s opportunity with narrowly defined gender stereotypes.

The goal of therapy is to change the person as well as the society that caused the need for therapy. This goal is the manifestation of the client, whether man or woman, by recognizing, claiming, and embracing their personal power. These actions should result in a freedom to expand their “alternatives, options, and choices”. Moreover, women are encourage to separate from the media driven world that values vanity and focus on becoming “interdependent, strong, resilient, and trusting of self and others”. In addition, feminist therapy attempts to change society by politically energizing women who have been victims of the tyranny of a male dominated society.

n therapy, the feminist therapist practices the person-centered approach. Again, I have paraphrased this approach as being kind and non-judgmental. In this posture the therapist works with client with the idea that client is capable living according to their desires by following their internal compass. In addition, feminists do not only rely on the nature of the client/therapist role to foster change. These therapists also value the cooperative work between client and therapist necessary to change attitudes and behaviors.

The techniques are numerous. There is Gender-Role Analysis, Gender-Role Intervention, Power Analysis and Power Intervention, Bibliotherapy, Self-Disclosure, Assertiveness Training, Reframing and Relabeling, and Group Work.

As other therapies, this theory has also been criticized. Some cite the belief that the therapist may over emphasize his or her own personal beliefs when attempting to politically energize the client. Others have criticized this theory’s focus on environmental causes. These critics see this focus as failing to look at the person’s internal dynamics and how this dynamic contributes to the client’s dilemma.

Family therapy’s focus is on the family environment. As feminist therapy, this therapy has had many contributing authors. Some of these authors have concluded that a person can be understood through understanding conditions of the relationships that the person is involved in. Illness symptoms are believed to be passed down through generations. Other presuppositions are that the behavior pathology of a person may serve a purpose, be the result of dysfunction with in the family, and be a reflection of symptomatic behavior passed down through the generations of the family. In addition, family therapists believe change in one person may cause change in the other family members.

This therapy has different approaches for individual and group sessions. Individual approaches stress the client. System approaches stress the individual parts that make up the family.

Alder focuses repetitive, negative interactions that are the result of incorrect goals that affect all parties involved in the family. In addition, Adler believes that most people in the community experience the same pattern of behaviors.

For Adler the adult figures in the family are important. People are seen as social and using their capacities to investigate life and formulate a life. The parent needs to set the structure that will lead to a healthy nature. Adler, however, believes that in our modern society children actually lead the relationship. Moreover, Adler believes that this condition is due to parents not knowing how to interact emotionally with their children.

Furthermore, Adler has three key concepts in his theory. The Family Atmosphere is family unit, as it exists, because of everyone’s contribution. Family constellation is related to birth order. Goals are separated in to daily goals and long-term goals.

The goals in Alderian therapy are to assessed the whole family and establish an interactive learning experience with the parents. In addition, this theory focuses on motivation rather than behavior. The therapist taking a collaborative role in the family accomplishes these goals. Moreover, this therapy employs the techniques of open forum. First, the therapist speaks with the parents. Then the rest of the family enters in to therapy. In addition, parents are assessed for incorrect relationship and parenting techniques and goals. Usually the therapy assesses the family unit by getting a description of a typical day from each member.

Murray Bowen built his theory of family therapy on the presupposition that family can better be understood on a system composed of different generations. In this theory, the family is defined as an emotional unit. Moreover, this theory sees distress is a measure of unresolved emotional issues.

In addition, this theory has three essential key concepts. Murray believed that therapist should develop a complete credible theory, instead of just forming techniques to therapy. Another key concept is for the therapist to empower the client to live an independent life. Triangulation is the belief that when people are experiencing stress with each other they will incorporate a third person in the conflict in order to reduce anxiety.

Reducing anxiety, making a contribution to every member of the family, and gaining an independent role in the family are the goals of therapy. The therapist attempts to meet these goals by acting as mentor and scientist. As a scientist, the therapist investigates the family in order to understand the emotional conflict and the contributing factors to this emotional conflict. The therapist mentors the individuals in the family unit by coaching, teaching, and remaining as a neutral observer. Moreover, the therapist should be aware of how his or her own family has influenced him or her.

Two techniques of this theory are the “Genogram” and “Work and Asking Questions”. A “genogram” is a pictorial lay out of each of the members of the family extended family to three generations. In “asking question”, the therapist asks leading and thoughtful questions.

Therapist Virginia Satir is the original proponent of the work that led to the Human validation process model. Mrs. Satir worked on conjoint family therapy, which focused on releasing potential in people.

In human validation process, self-esteem, family rules, congruence versus defensive communication pattern, sculpting, nurturing triads, family mapping, and family life-fact chronologies are validated and enhanced by the therapist. Therapist works at directing the family members through the process of change. This direction is the result of the therapist communicating clearly, expanding awareness, enhancing potentials for growth, and coping with the demands and process of change.

n this effort, the therapist uses two techniques. These techniques are Family sculpting and Family reconstruction. Family sculpting is the process of formulating a vision as to how each member of the family views the family. The members of the family gain this vision through conversation that involves the family. Through psychodrama, the members build a better family unit by working out their unresolved issues.

Experiential family therapy focuses on how people try to use the family in order to have their subjective needs met. The initial proponent was Carl Whitaker. Mr. Whitaker believed that mental health theories get in the way of therapy.

The goal of therapy is to get people to be open to experimenting with new experiences by being a regular and likeable therapist and creating family turmoil that the therapist will then coach the members of the family on how to deal with this turmoil.

Structural family therapy looks at how the organization of the family unit contributes to the behaviors of the members of the family unit. Distress is the result of structural problems.

The techniques of this therapy are family structure, family subsystem, and boundaries. “The invisible set of functional demands or rules that organize the way family members relate to one another” is family structure. Family subsystems are the internal systems such as spousal relationships and sibling relationships that make up the big system known as the family. In this theory, boundaries refer to the “emotional boundaries that protect and enhance the integrity of individuals, subsystems, and families”.

The goals of this therapy are to reduce symptoms of dysfunction and to cause structural change in the family. The therapist “joinging the family in a position of leadership, mapping its underlying structure, and intervenig in ways designed to transform an ineffective structure”, approaches these goals.

Strategic family therapy is a therapy where the therapist develops techniques for change. In addition, in this therapy the problem and not the cause is treated by the therapist. The therapist focuses on resolving the problem by examining the behavioral pathology. In addition, the therapist performs the roles of consultant, expert, and stage director. Moreover, the therapist “tracks sequences, use reframing techniques, and gives directives by using the techniques of paradoxical interventions, joining, reframing, amplifying, pretending, asking about attempted solutions, and enactments”.

Social constructionists give credit to gender, cultural perceptions, development, and mental illness in construction of the individuals and family nature. In addition, in this theory of human psychology the therapist sees the client as the expert and offers the client possible perspectives by appearing “caring, interested, empathetic, fascinated, and giving contact”. The techniques of this theory are “listening with an open mind”, “questions that make a difference”, deconstruction and externalization”, and “alternative stories and re-authoring”.

The criticism that Corey noted is that professionals in family therapy initially tended to treat the family and its members as material parts, not feeling and thinking human beings.

For my part, I am not a negative critic by nature. To many of the concepts of these different theories related to therapy sound like what I call guru medicine. To me guru medicine is mystical and fabricated and its only power is that people want to believe it is true. In addition, in many instances I felt that the professional prestige of the therapist is being compromised. I believe the client should be aware that the therapist is knowledge professional who should be listened to and whose direction should be acknowledged.

The reason I left my criticisms to the end is that I have always believed that a person’s philosophy should not be measured based on what is missing in other philosophies. Instead, it should stand on its on merit. I have problems with all these theory’s perceptions. However, I did not develop my theory in answer to what I believe other theories are lacking.

Moreover, all the theories are good at explaining a section of human psychological nature. I think each theory reflects a section of our composure. Therefore, I would say that they could be used together to understand the complete person.

I see human psychological nature as an entity that is the result of our emotions and sensations interacting with environmental information. To me all information is environmental information. In addition, God built us to fulfill a function and He made us with all the capacities we need to meet this function. I believe this function is to work happy in the glory of Him while we meet our Christian mission. Any theory of human psychology I would measure with this perception.

on Mar 12, 2005
This is perfect!!!

Nice post.
This is exactly what I am talking about... well not your papers's subject, but putting things up for your own use later on. I call that making your own knowledge base for later research.

Putting up posts like this can not only help yourself, but others too. If it is a provite college project all you have o do is elect privite when creating the blog or set up a network of people who can only view your blog.

The idea behind all of this is to, basically, create a social network group with the ability to archive user information for later retriaval. Creating your own knowelde archives for later research, work projects, blogging, school projects, team assignments, personal endevors and to show what you can do to potential employers/business partners by showing that you can do research and asnwser tough questions.

Anyway, would you please join my blog group Knowledge Net??? I would like to feature some of your postings.
Thank you!!!