I find the approaches of psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, and person centered approaches to counseling fascinating. There are many different aspects to all three approaches that fit my personality. I do not believe that I would be able to pick one single approach and stick to it. I do however feel that if you have a client that would benefit from one single approach then that would be the responsible thing to do for the client. However, I am not sure if a persons (professional) human nature or personality would allow them to stick to one single approach. There are so many layers to a person, their morals, personality, and thinking that would most likely force their brain to use many different facets to each approach. When it comes to the psychodynamic approach there are a lot of different points to this theory that I agree with and some that I understand, but would most likely not use in my day to day practice as a therapist. I would have to say that I am a strong supporter that behavior and feelings are powerfully affected by our unconscious motives. Our mind is based a lot on our unconscious mind, or our basic instincts. When it comes to the idea that our behavior and feelings as adults (including psychological problems) are rooted in our childhood experiences, I would have to agree and disagree. I agree that what happened to us as children is important.
I think that people carry that with them for most of their lives, but I am not sure that I agree that you carry it with you for the rest of your life. Maturity and real life situations can alter those thoughts or feelings you remember from your childhood throughout your life and change the childhood memories. When it comes to the three types of personality, id, ego, and super-ego I would agree that they are true. I do agree that behavior is motivated by life and death, which would tie in the unconscious mind. I do not think that people walk around and consciously make decisions based on their life and death. If I had to pick a single approach to therapy to use, I would pick more of the theories of the psychodynamic approach in my daily practice of therapy than the following two options.
The cognitive-behavioral approach is something that I would use as a therapist when it came to short-term therapy. This approach would be highly productive if a person came in, knew what the problem was, and was looking to have short term therapy. This approach would be something that would be useful in a drug and alcohol treatment facility. I do however think this type of therapy would only be effective if the patient is fully aware of the problem and is ready to do anything to fix the problem. I do not feel that it would help a drug and alcohol abuse patient if the patient did not agree that they had a problem and it needed to be corrected.
This approach is fascinating to me as it has been scientifically tested and has been found to be effective. The approach would need to be used highly in the patient’s everyday life and they would need to be very proactive on trying to help themselves. I like that this approach is very structured and directive. This would most likely be the second most used theory that I would use in a person approach to therapy if I was to use it in a daily practice as a professional. Lastly is the person centered approach would most likely be the least likely approach that I would use in a personal practice and I would say fits my personality the least. I think there are a few points to this approach that I find helpful, but a lot of it I find rather risky. The fact that this theory is based on trust between the client and the patient I really like. Trust is important in any approach to therapy with two people working together. Trust is important in everyday life. Every relationship needs trust to thrive and grow.
Rogers wanting this approach to be warm, safe, simpler, and more optimistic is important and I agree whole heartedly on those approaches. What I am not a fan of is that this approach the client would be encouraged to focus on their thoughts rather than an interpretation of the situation by the professional. The thing that I find upsetting about this is that the client is seeking help from the professional for a reason. Let’s just call it “stinking-thinking.” If I am having an issue with something and I feel the need that I need professional help for it, the last thing that I want to do is to be left to my own devices and the professional to only be warm, safe, simple, and optimistic. Leaving someone to their won devices that is seeking help would be a great disservice to someone that is seeking another person’s outlook and help. I do understand the idea that “no one else can know how we perceive; we are the best experts on ourselves.” (Gross, 1992) However, I think it is the professional’s service to help the person maybe alter the way they perceive their thoughts and actions. Therefore, I would use many different aspects of each approach when it comes to a client. I think it is very important to understand the individual and what issue is pressing them before you would be able to make a decision on the approach.
If it was up to me and if it was based on my personality I would most likely take a few different approaches from each theory. I would take the talking therapy of the psychodynamic approach. It is imperative for a person to talk things through. How would you be able to understand truly what is bothering you and the approach to fix it if you do not talk about it? The conscious and unconscious minds would be something that I would take into account on a daily basis as well. When it comes to the cognitive-behavioral approach I think that I would only use this approach on very specific clients and cases. The client would have to be very aware of the problem and be very willing and motivated to fix the problem. Finally, I would use the person centered approach to therapy in my own practice and personality when it comes to the trust approach between the client and the patient. It is important for the relationship to be warm, trusting, genuine, and understanding.
I think this is the most important principle for a therapist. Both the talking therapy and the trust theory are the two aspects to the three theories that I know I would use in my daily practice, all therapy and what would fit my personality the most. When comparing and contrasting the three theories they are similar in some ways and very different in others. The psychodynamic approach and the cognitive-behavioral approach (CBT) are different in the fact that psychodynamic approach tries to get at why you “feel” or behave the way you do. The cognitive-behavioral therapy approach does not do this. The CBT approach attempts to relieve the suffering as quickly as possible by altering behavior and emotions.
The similarities of the two are that they both want to reduce symptoms and distress. The psychodynamic approach and the person centered approach are different in the fact that the psychodynamic approach wants a person to modify defenses and pressures from the alter ego. The person centered approach is based on self-actualization and the psychodynamic approach is insight. When comparing the psychodynamic approach and the person centered approach when it comes to some of the ideas that parts of the psyche are ignored or repressed. Other than that there are not many similarities that I could put together.
When comparing and contrasting the CBT approach and the person centered approaches they both will use awareness techniques. Both will use empathy, unconditional positive regard toward the client. The difference is that the CBT is goal oriented and “taught” to the patient. The person centered approach is open-ended and non-directive. To reiterate, each theory has different approaches. Good, bad and similar. Professionals may find one approach more appropriate than another, based on their own personality and preference and the severity and depth of the patient’s problems.