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Counselling and Psychotherapy Essay

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This therapy proposed by Carl Rogers, as for objective, to provide the client with the necessary help, allowing the individual to find a certain internal well being.

Through this well being, the client is able to explore their inner feelings and work with these feelings to find their own solution to troubles from which they are suffering (Hayes and Orrell.1998), therefore this one to one therapy is largely based on the supposition that the client is capable of helping himself with the support of the facilitator (the term therapist is not used), were each of the two protagonists are on an equal level, it is the client that sets the pace of sessions and not the facilitator, which is some what different to the therapy proposed within the psychoanalytic perspective, were it is the therapist who holds the reins during the length of the session.

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Unlike the ‘client-centred therapy, there is no self-disclosure from the part of the psychoanalytic therapist during the sessions or at any other moment. During the psychoanalysis, the therapist creates what could be called a professional distance with the patient; this could take different forms, such as asking the patient to relax on a sofa while the therapist is sitting in a chair out of his view or conducting the session whilst sitting behind a desk (Malim and Birch. 1998).

Freud believed that the role of the unconscious mind was to protect an individual from their underlying desires and fears; the function of the therapist during the therapy is to fetch these feelings and direct them into the consciousness, thus giving the patient an ‘insight’ and minimum of understanding. This is done independently of the patient wishes, during the sessions patients are often confronted with subconscious and painful memories (Dryden. 1999). Within these two perspectives, Freud and Rogers both acknowledge the use of ‘Defence Mechanisms’.

“The conflict which occurs between a person’s wishes and external reality is dealt with by the use of defence mechanisms” (Hough, 1998). In the psychoanalytic these defence mechanisms are the representation of the crisis that is going on between both the ego and the id or between the ego and the superego. The ego chooses to use these defence mechanisms when the situation becomes too hard to handle. Though these defence mechanisms are considered a natural thing, they should be closely monitored… quite often their use could lead to neuroses, which could range from anxiety to obsessions.

Just some examples of defence mechanisms which are encountered by individuals are Repression: this produces when an event is too painful to meet head on, that an individual pushes it out of his conscious, pretending that it has never happened, were as Regression: this occurs when an adult in particular starts to use childish behaviour, such as screaming loudly, stamping their feet about as a means of getting what he or she wishes; these are some examples quite extrovert, but regression can take a more introvert form such as sulking or perhaps thumb sucking, this can happen when an individual is faced with the idea of passing a test or an exam.

Rogers shared the idea of defence mechanisms, he argued that when a client suffering from incongruity, meaning that the client is not happy with the image that he portrays, this ‘self image’ is not what the client wants to be, but he inspires towards, this is known as the ‘ideal self’. When this passage becomes too difficult, the client makes use of two forms of defence mechanism, which are Denial: which is the total negation to accept any form of incongruity and acting as if the dilemma basically does not exist in his eyes. The second of the two defence mechanisms is Distortion, were the client will purely distort the truth to his or her advantage and therefore the threat is no longer seen as one. All though these defence mechanisms are employed currently on a day to day basis, their excessive use may lead to more consequent psychiatric problems, so therefore a close observation is needed (Hayes and Orrell. 1998).

It can be said, despite the fact that these two perspectives diverge mainly in their approach, they do share a same central core, being the understanding and treatment of mental health and behavioural dilemmas, each looks at what is the human mind, but just from a different angle.

Each of these perspectives in their own way is trying to help, treat and eventually propose a solution or remedy to an individual’s crisis, therefore it would be extremely difficult to discuss which of these two perspectives is the more reliable when it comes to looking into human behaviour. The choice would depend on so many internal and external factors, such as the personality of the individual, the illness from which they are suffering or their mental force, as no two individuals are the same, their need for therapy would be different.

“Psychology is a young discipline relative to the other sciences. As such it has no global paradigm, or single accepted theory, about the nature of human beings in the way that biology has been influenced by Darwin’s theory. Until this is possible in psychology, the scope and variety of the many different approaches allow us to adopt different levels of explanation in order to explain human functioning” (Malim and Birch. 1998).


Cardwell, M. , Clark, L. and Meldrum, C. (2000) Psychology for A Level 2nd Edition. London: HarperCollins. Dryden, W and Mytton, J. (1999) Four approaches to counselling and Psychotherapy. London: Routledge.

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