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Three schools of counselling psychology

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Introduction

Three schools of counselling psychology Counselling involves a therapist who offers certain conditions, activities and methods and aims to help clients live more effective lives. Meltzoff and Kornreich (1970) defined counselling as "informed and planful application of techniques derived from established psychological principles"1 With regards to one to one talk therapies, there are eight mainstream approaches. Allport (1962) recognised that these counselling approaches fall into three main groups or schools. The first is behaviourism, where the client is a reactive being. The second is the psychodynamic school, where the client is a reactive being in depth. The third is the humanistic school, where the client is 'in process of becoming'. One of these major approaches is psychoanalysis, which belongs to the psychodynamic school. This theory stresses the importance of unconscious factors causing faulty development. Other therapies belonging to the psychodynamic school include analytical therapy and self psychology. Freud suggested a person's behaviour can be understood by the interaction among the three unconscious systems. The Id is the first to develop and looks for immediate gratification in whichever way possible. The Ego develops from the Id and is under the influence from the reality principle. The Superego is the incorporation of parental and social standards (introjection) and acts like a moral restriction. ...read more.

Middle

Counselling aims to recognise incongruous experiences, whilst showing empathy and unconditional positive regard. One fundamental argument against person-centred counselling is that providing the core conditions such as empathy is a technique that all good therapists do, not just person centred therapists. They then apply their other methods to improve client's health, without just providing a comfortable relationship. Cognitive-behavioural therapy belongs to the behaviourism school. It states that behaviour is learnt through conditioning and modelling and maladaptive behaviour is treated by learning adaptive behaviours. Cognitive-behavioural therapy can be divided into three main types of therapy; cognitive therapy, (Beck, 1960) behaviour therapy (Watson 1920) and rational-emotive-behaviour therapy, also called REBT (Ellis, 1950). REBT was one of the first forms of cognitive behavior therapy (Ellis, 1953). He believed that humans are prone to prevent their own happiness and growth by creating irrational beliefs of 'shoulds', 'musts' and 'oughts'. Ellis demonstrated his point using a framework of A, B, C, D and E. A refers to an activating event causing distress (such as trauma). B stands for our belief system, and C stands for the consequences of our beliefs. Therefore, if a teenager reacts to family arguments with the irrational beliefs (B) ...read more.

Conclusion

The counselling approaches can be compared and contrasted on certain areas. With regards to views on human nature, Maslow (1971) suggested that psychoanalysis is pessimistic in believing that humans have to repress negative instincts rather than develop positive ones. Also, REBT suggests we are irrational. The only theory which looks at human nature positively is client centred therapy which stresses human potential for growth and actualisation. Maslow argued that therapy should be about cultivating human potential as well as overcoming destructive tendencies. Also, with regards to therapy characteristics, some contrasts can be made. Psychoanalysis focuses on the past affecting the present and the therapist is detached and acts as a teacher. Therapy can last several years and so is expensive. However, person-centred therapy focuses on the present and the therapist is caring and warm. Therapy duration is decided by the client and they achieve their own insight. In addition, cognitive-behavioural therapy also focuses on the present, the therapist is a teacher and the therapist-client relationship isn't important. Even though there are relentless problems with evaluating therapeutic approaches because there are countless variables, research continues to attempt to validate and improve on existing theories. Currently, none of the therapies offer better results consistently than any other. However, evidence is beginning to show that certain types of distress are better addressed by a particular approach. ...read more.

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