Explanations of Therapy Styles and Theoretical Orientations
on the belief that all human behavior has a purpose and is goal-oriented,
that we strive for social connectedness, and that we suffer our emotional
difficulties due to feelings of inferiority and not having a sense of
community. Founder: Alfred Adler (1870-1937). True change and growth
results from identifying, exploring, and changing mistaken goals and
beliefs. Therapy is seen as a re-education process leading to greater
social participation and fewer feelings of inferiority.
of art and creativity as a way to get at deeper feelings and greater
self-knowledge. Based on the belief that accessing the more creative or
right-brain part of us is helpful in identifying what is going on
emotionally and can be a part of the healing process.
on the belief that true change and movement towards goals is accomplished
through action and that disorders are learned ways of behaving that are
maladaptive. If we can learn to change our behavior, then our thoughts,
feelings, and attitudes will also change. Common behavioral techniques
include systematic desensitization (gradual exposure to an
anxiety-provoking situation paired with relaxation), using reinforcements
for desired behaviors, and aversion therapy to extinguish unwanted
of electronic systems to monitor internal processes such as heart rate,
brain waves, or perspiration to help an individual become aware of their
physiological responses and learn to have more control over them.
is founded on what is written in the Bible. Based on the belief that
Scripture is the final authority for what kinds of decisions a person
should make or how they should live their life.
are believed to be in the best position to resolve their issues if the
therapist can establish a warm, accepting, and safe environment in which
the individual feels free to talk about his/her issues and can gain
insight into them. This type of therapy is non-directive because the
therapist typically does not give advice or make interpretations. Founder:
Carl Rogers (1902-1987) who believed that people are trustworthy and have
a great potential for self-awareness and self-directed growth given a
nurturing environment. The function of the therapist is to be genuine,
accepting, and empathic. Techniques are seen as less important.
is based on the belief that faulty thinking patterns and belief systems
cause psychological problems and that changing our thoughts improves our
mental and emotional health and results in changes in behavior. See works
by Aaron T. Beck.
of determining the meanings of dreams through symbols, myths, free
association, and memories. There are a variety of philosophies and
approaches for analyzing dreams including Adlerian (dreams are projections
of a person's current concerns), Gestalt (every person and object in a
dream represents an aspect of the dreamer), and psychoanalytic (dreams are
a key to what is happening in a person's unconscious).
(Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing)
of restructuring thought patterns and associations related to traumatic
events and memories and other sources of emotional distress. Method was
developed by Francine Shapiro when she discovered that rapid-eye movements
combined with focusing on disturbing thoughts and memories produced a
philosophy of life, rather than a specific therapy, which focuses on free
will, responsibility for choices, and search for meaning and purpose
through suffering, love, and work. People are seen as constantly changing
and becoming their true selves. Searching within and finding one's own
answers is encouraged. Emphasis is on the present and future, not the
past. See works by Viktor Frankl (b.1905), Rollo May (b.1909), and Irvin
which looks at the entire family as a complex system having its own
language, roles, rules, beliefs, needs, and patterns. Each family member
plays a part in the system and family systems therapy helps an individual
discover how their family operated, their role in the system, and how it
affects them in their current family and in relationships outside the
therapy which focuses on empowering women and helping women discover how
to break free from some of the traditional molds that they may feel are
blocking their growth and development. Feminist therapy tends to be more
focused on strengthening women in areas such as communication,
assertiveness, self-esteem, and relationships.
therapy emphasizing what is happening in the here and now to help
individuals become more self-aware and learn responsibility for and
integration of thoughts, feelings, and actions. A goal is to develop more
internal vs. external support. Techniques include confrontation, role
playing, and the empty-chair or dialogue between two parts of a
personality. Founder: Frederick S. (Fritz) Perls (1893-1970) who believed
that people must find their own way in life and accept responsibility for
who they are to reach maturity.
focus of therapy is to help individuals access more of their inner world
(unconscious) and develop greater self-realization and individuation.
Carl. G. Jung's theory is psychoanalytic, but differs from traditional
Freudian theory in that Jung added the concepts of individuation (human
potential), which includes transcendence and spirituality. People are seen
in a positive light and therapy considers the "soul" which seeks
to be nurtured by something larger than the self.
on the belief that true change and growth comes from an individual
becoming more self-aware by bringing unconscious thoughts, motivations,
feelings, and experiences into the conscious so that behavior is based
more on reality than instinct. Founder: Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Key
concepts are that behavior is determined by unconscious motivations,
irrational forces, instinctual drives, and psychosexual events occurring
during the first 6 years of life. Classical psychoanalysis is an intensive
and long term process with a focus on transference (transferring feelings
about and reactions to past significant others onto the therapist) and
uncovering unconscious material.
on the Freudian and Jungian depth psychology. Heinz Kohut, its
founder, postulated that narcissism and grandiosity in the infant is
healthily managed by selfobject experiences which can be idealizing,
mirroring, or twinning experiencs. He felt that these selfobject
experiences continue throughout development and life. The essence of
therapy arises from empathic understanding within the therapeutic frame
and that healing results from temporary disruptions in this
empathic stance in the therapist.
(Rational Emotive Therapy)
on the belief that our emotions result from our beliefs, interpretations,
and reactions to life events. A type of cognitive therapy based more on
thinking and doing than with the expression of feelings. Founder: Albert
Ellis (b.1913) is known as the father of RET and the grandfather of
treatment begins from the observation that most psychological problems are
present only intermittently. People with panic disorder obviously do not
spend every minute of every day in a panic; even depression fluctuates in
severity. Solution-focused therapy tries to help the patient notice when
symptoms are diminished or absent and use this knowledge as a foundation
for recovery. If a patient insists that the symptoms are constant and
unrelieved, the therapist works with him or her to find exceptions and
make the exceptions more frequent, predictable, and controllable. In other
words, therapy builds on working solutions already available to the
with others and communication styles are seen as coming from three states:
the parent, adult, and child and the different types of ways those three
parts of our personality communicate within ourselves and with others. See
works by Eric Berne.