Counselling Theories And Psychoanalytic Therapy Essay


Discuss about the Counselling Theories and Psychoanalytic Therapy.


In this essay, the key concern is Peter, who is a single, 40 years old male, suffering from inter personal conflicts at both his home and workplace. He has been seeking help from different mental health professionals; however, his conflicts remain same and unresolved. Recently, he has been referred to implement psychoanalytic therapy for resolving his mental health related conflicts (Shedler, 2012). In this essay, the use of psychoanalytic therapy, it pros and cons would be discussed to evaluate how effectively it will work on Peter. Moreover, this essay would also include the discussion about two other modalities, which may help to overwhelm the limitations of psychoanalytic therapy.

A number of psychotherapies have been invented, which have been successfully implemented upon the patients experiencing mental health illness. Key aim of the psychotherapeutic approach is to address the mental health issues in different social contexts through the counselling procedures (Marmor, 2012).

One of the psychotherapy is psychoanalytic therapy, which has been developed on the basis of theories of Sigmund Freud. This therapy concentrates upon the ways through which the unconscious mind can influence a person’s behaviours and thoughts for resolving mental health conflicts of a person, who is seeking therapy. This therapeutic approach attempts to concentrate upon a person’s experiences from the early childhood to identify whether there is any event, which is affecting one’s life or contributing to the current conflicts (Thom? & K?chele, 2012). However, the treatment procedure is longer compared to other modalities. It attempts to help people, seeking help for serious psychological disorder for understanding and changing the complex, deep-seated and unconsciously based emotional and relationship problems. Therefore, it is suitable to be involved in Peter’s health care plan. This psychotherapy helps the patient to enhance their awareness regarding their inner world and influences the past and present relationship. It is different compared to the other psychotherapies, as it aims for deep seated change in emotional and personality development. The role of this psychotherapy is not limited to the mental health problems. Rather, the people who have lost the meaning of their lives and seeking a sense of fulfilment, has been highly influenced to live a better life with the implementation of psychoanalytic psychotherapy (Huber et al., 2012). The psychoanalytic therapy is depends upon the specific suppositions, which cover the urgent parts of awareness and consciousness. It is one of the most well-known psychology based treatment modalities. The theory of Sigmund Freud has been implemented in this modality, who is the founder of ‘school of thought, which is known as psychoanalysis’.

Safran (2012) depicted that there are three stages of psychoanalytic therapy including initial, middle and late stage. At the initial stage, the key responsibility of the therapist is to establish a positive therapeutic alliance with the patient after reviewing the patient’s health history. In case of Peter, the therapist would talk with him to understand his key psychological issues and past histories through the establishment of a trustworthy positive relationship. It would help the therapist to recognize their characteristic and behavioural traits and to identify the unnatural behavioural traits, which might contribute to his interpersonal conflicts. The initial resistance to the therapeutic process could be identified by the therapist. Through this stage, the a better understanding of the factors from patient’s past history, which are promoting his present behavioural traits, would be identified, as these information will help to understand his ‘present transferential response’ (Gladding, 2012).

During the initial stage, the therapist will be familiarizing with the standards, commitments and will set the goals of the therapy aligning with the patient, for instance Peter, in this case study. This initial stage might be difficult for the therapist, as Peter might not be able to or willing to comply with all the rules and standards of the therapeutic process. As the therapist would give effort to identify key drivers of Peter’s interpersonal conflicts, engaging the patient in the therapy is very important for getting in-depth information regarding to his medical condition. For this, the therapist’s verbal and non-verbal skills are very important, which would help the therapist to establish a positive relationship with the patient and motivate him to adhere with the therapeutic requirements. In the middle stage, the psychotherapist would gain awareness about the feelings of the patient Peter about a person in his childhood. For this, “analysis of transference” and “analysis of resistance” can be used, as resistance and transference becomes more crucial for the therapeutic success.

At this stage, the therapist would be able to help Peter to understand and comprehend different situations and recognize the unconscious conflicts, thereby enhancing his self-management skills to manage those inner conflicts. Knowing about the stimuli, Peter would be able to make decisions instead of getting influenced by the past histories (Leahy, 2012). At this stage, Peter would adopt skills for managing his internal behavioural conflicts by interacting with the therapist and environmental factors. At the final or late stage, the old, negative behavioural patterns are being replaced by the new, modified thoughts, thereby modifying the behavioural patterns. At this stage, Peter would be able to manage his interpersonal conflicts by his own. The behavioural patterns resulting from the past memories would be repressed with repeated transference adherence, which is the key cause of the longer therapeutic period of this therapy. Once Peter would be able to resolve his interpersonal conflicts in different practical situations by his own, the therapy would be completed (Smit et al., 2012).

This therapy has several strengths, which have made this therapy popular among the psychotherapists. However, it also includes some limitations. Thus, evaluation of the process is crucial. The psychoanalytic therapy is alternatively known as the talk therapy, where the patient is provided with the opportunity to talk with the professional without any condition, thereby assisting the patient to reveal the factors contributing to the condition. The therapy is concentrated upon the study of id, ego and superego. These aspects may be related to the childhood experience and this therapeutic approach is able to address the link between childhood experience and the present unconscious behaviour. Thus, unlike other modalities, the psychoanalytic modality is able to link and explore the association between the childhood incident or trauma with the present behavioural conflicts. Thus, via different methods and continuous motivation, therapist is able to modify the negative behavioural aspects. Moreover, this psychological therapeutic approach is not only focusing upon the treatment of mentally ill patient, rather it focuses upon assisting a person seeking a greater sense of fulfilments in life (Corey, 2012). With the help of this approach, a several psychological disorder can be treated. It can be implemented in treating interpersonal issues, depression, personality related issues, difficulties in learning, any kinds of phobia and sleeping disorder. The range of application is vast because it aims to eliminate the root causing the behavioural disturbances of the patient.

One limitation of this approach is the time limitation. As the therapy is entirely focused upon the interaction with the patient and includes repeated transference adherence, it takes longer time to set goals and patient recovery. Another key limitation of its application is its huge expense. As the therapeutic processes run for a longer period, cost is also higher. It is a key drawback of applying this therapy for a patient’s recovery. It has been argued by Gottschalk (2012) that the therapy is only concerning upon the childhood facts, instead of finding clues from the present days. Thus, if the root of psychological issue is embedded in any circumstances occurring in the recent days, it might not be focused, while using this psychoanalytic therapy. A number of scientists have argued the scientific basis of the psychoanalytic therapy. These drawbacks promoted the researchers of different modalities to raise question against the validity of this therapy. Moreover, these limitations of psychoanalytic therapy have promoted the use of alternative modalities, which can overcome these limitations, improving the quality of therapy and health outcomes of the patients.

To overcome the limitations of the psychoanalytic therapy, other modalities can be used to resolve psychological cases like Peter’s case. Alvarez (2012) claimed one of the most popular psychotherapy is cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT therapy in short, which can effectively address a wide variety of behavioural issues and other mental health issues. The core of this therapy is concerned about the feelings, thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and interactions. The CBT therapy is entirely focused on the overall well being of the client. One of the objectives of CBT therapy is implementation of practical practice seeking regular continuous improvement of the mental status. This mostly used in treating patients with anxiety and depression related disorders. The key elements which are targeted by the therapy include modulation of behavioural traits and thought processes. As the therapy involves interactive sessions, it can be merged with the psychoanalytic therapy and in this way the limitations of psychoanalytic therapy can be overwhelmed (Corey, 2012).

In addition, the CBT therapy can be used combining with the medications for treating a particular mental health condition. The cognitive behavioural therapy is effective approach as it is a problem-based, goal-oriented and structured therapeutic approach, which emphasizes the important of a collaborative and positive therapeutic alliance among the client and therapist, while teaching proven skills and strategies. It focuses upon human thought and cognitive abilities, which are responsible for most of psychological problems, thus it has a great appeal in this medical field. However, this modality also has some downsides like others. In this therapy, a limited focus is given on emotions, it is too much focused on the power of positive thinking and neglects the role of unconscious feelings related to emotions (Smit et al., 2012). Moreover, in some cases, ethical issues related to forceful adherence to the therapy has been reported. The scope of this therapeutic model is narrow, broader issues are needed to be addressed.

Another modality that can be implemented for eliminating the limitations of psychoanalytical therapy is eclectic therapy. It is a style of therapy that uses different therapies from different schools of thought. It is a flexible approach, which in turn allows the psychotherapists to treat the patient by focusing entirely upon his needs. It does not adhere to any single set of paradigm, following a single school of thought, rather draws upon more than one theory for gaining an insight into the phenomenon. This therapy can treat the entire disorder instead of focusing upon just the symptoms. Thus, it can easily be used for overwhelming the limitation of any psychotherapy including the limitations of psychoanalytic therapy. Where the psychoanalytic therapy only focuses upon the aspects of childhood factors, eclectic therapy focuses upon human behaviour as well as the biological factors to analyze the situation fully.

However, this therapy also includes drawbacks; for instance, Leahy (2012) argued that eclectic therapists lack consistency in their thinking. As the eclectic practitioners are not bound to use any theories, methodologies or standards of a particular school of thought, they can incorporate and explore their believe, experience, feelings and perceptions, which might not always worthy for every patient. It might be very much helpful for a patient, but might not get success in another patient’s case. As in psychotherapy, every patient is different with different thoughts and issues, following minimum standard is necessary, as argued by Safran (2012).

In conclusion, it can be interpreted that psychoanalytic therapy is effective in treating people having inter-personal conflict or seeking assistance for achieving a sense of fulfilment in their lives. This therapy can effectively help Peter to understand the key factors stimulating his conflicts. Through a longer period, Peter will be able to understand and adopt strategies for managing these stimuli. However, the essay included the strength and limitations of the psychoanalytic therapy. In addition, two other modalities, CBT and eclectic therapy has also been discussed in this essay, which could effectively be used for overwhelming the limitations of psychoanalytic therapy.


Alvarez, A. (2012). The thinking heart: Three levels of psychoanalytic therapy with disturbed children. London: Routledge.

Corey, G. (2012). Case approach to counseling and psychotherapy. Nelson Education.

Gladding, S. T. (2012). Counseling: A comprehensive profession. Pearson Higher Ed.

Gottschalk, L. A. (2012). Methods of research in psychotherapy. Springer Science & Business Media.

Huber, D., Zimmermann, J., Henrich, G., & Klug, G. (2012). Comparison of cognitive-behaviour therapy with psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapy for depressed patients–a three-year follow-up study. Zeitschrift f?r Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie, 58(3), 299-316.

Leahy, R. L. (2012). Overcoming resistance in cognitive therapy. Guilford Press.

Marmor, J. (Ed.). (2012). The interface between the psychodynamic and behavioral therapies. Springer Science & Business Media.

Safran, J. D. (2012). Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapies. American Psychological Association.

Shedler, J. (2012). The efficacy of psychodynamic psychotherapy. In Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Research (pp. 9-25). Humana Press.

Smit, Y., Huibers, M. J., Ioannidis, J. P., van Dyck, R., van Tilburg, W., & Arntz, A. (2012). The effectiveness of long-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy—A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical psychology review, 32(2), 81-92.

Thom?, H., & K?chele, H. (2012). Psychoanalytic Practice: 2 Clinical Studies. Springer Science & Business Media.

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