Psychoanalysis Approach To Counselling Essay

Question:

Discuss about the Psychoanalysis Approach to Counselling.

Answer:

This theory has been founded upon a treatment philosophy proposed by Sigmund Freud. The primary reason why this theory have been identified for addressing the issues that Joel have been facing in life is that this theory tends to decipher the dreadful experiences of early childhood. Furthermore Lin et al. (2017), professes that it also relates to the impact that the dreadful experiences of early child life can have in the latter stages of their life, particularly in their own conjugal and family life. There are few basic assumptions of this theory upon which the entire foundation of this theory rests. In case if any real life situation matches the criteria of these assumptions the theory can be used to analyse and remedy the concerned issues.

The first assumption is that psychological problem related to Joel’s married life is laid in his unconscious self. The theory also professes that the psychological problems are caused due to the dreadful memories that are preserved in the unconscious mind of the person. Secondly, this theory holds that the manifest symptoms of psychological problems are the reflections of the “latent” disturbances. Evidently, the cause of Joel’s psychological problems is the same. Joel preserved the memory of dreadful consequences of the failures of married life (his parents) in his unconscious mind (the part of the brain called Id). These memories started to tell upon his conscious mind when he became deeply engrossed with his own married life and particularly after getting deeply engaged with parenthood. Another substantial cause of psychological disarrangement is unresolved repressed trauma. The family problems that he had to face in his early life had intensified during his adolescence and youth. Hence according to the views of Marcus (2016), such incidents have maximum impact upon the mind when a person is in the age group of 14 to 21 (Watts et al. 2017). This influence upon the brain of an individual and the consequences that are rooted to it acre known as repressed trauma. Again, Sigmund Freud in this theory of psychology professes that the exposure to family violence or differentiation from parenthood in this early stage of life results in the development of a situation called repressed trauma. Joel was the victim of the same instance so this assumption fits appropriately with Joel’s case.


The fourth assumption of this theory speaks of the possible means of treating such cases. Most rehabilitation centres aims at bringing pout the repressed conflict in them mind of the individual by means of recreating the same scenario in real life (lumenlearning.com, 2018).

There are supposed to be three approaches of dealing with the Joel. The ulterior motive is realising which part of his memory is resisting him from enjoying his parenthood and conjugal life. Depending upon the severity of the influence upon him, his therapeutic sessions would vary. The first strategic plan is to help Joel reveal whatever is laden in his mind without any constraint or any hindrance. Without the need to fear any situation or circumstance Joel needs to clarify the thoughts that have been occupying him for so many years in his life. This would make him lighter as well as provide his care providers a direction to his illness. In alignment to the theory, another strategy applicable is therapeutic transference (verywellmind.com, 2018). It is necessary that Joel’s thoughts and perceptions related to his father be transferred. This involves over possession of his dark memories with the memories of some of the brightest phase of his life.

A psychologically distressed patient is generally exhibits introversion in discussing his distressed childhood before everyone. His doomed memories remains concentrated in the brain. A mother is a major part of the development of the psychology of a child. In absence of the mother, a child becomes disillusioned from various aspects of the childhood (theconversation.com, 2018). On top of that Joel was bereaved of the father’s affection also. His father worked hard to earn for his family. However, parenthood became a burden for him and Joel as a child was miserably distressed. The three alternate analytical chambers of his brain had perceived his childhood misery from three perspectives. The psychoanalytical theory proposes that the brain interprets any incident from three points of view. These are Id, ego and superego. Id is the part which perceives the delicate and sentimental side of any incident. The bereavement of the mother and the love of his farther prevented him in the way of loving back others (who.int, 2018). This caused a major issue when the time of his parenthood arrived. He could not be an ideal father since the harsh memories of not receiving a parent’s love dwindled his thoughts. His prevented him from loving back his child. Ego is the dominant part of the brain that helps a human being to keep his daily actions in syntax with the real world. His Super-Ego prompted him to escape his father and find respite in his own family. Accordingly, he forced himself to lead a normal family life for few years. However the presence of the Ego gives a person the capability to balance his Id and superego.

As a counsellor the major focus should be on restricting the patient to recollect any of his parts memories during any quarrel or argument. Another approach that might suggest to be fruitful for this case is the approach of helping Joel to get rid of the negative emotions that conjures up his mind and possesses his Id. In his regular life Joel undergoes symptoms like anxiety, palpitation and panic, OCD and other stressed situations (nhmrc.gov.au, 2018). There is ample chance that the counsellor would apply Psychodynamic psychotherapy. This involves two to three sessions every week, when Joel would engage in an interactive interview with the counsellor about his past life. It is evident that he would become impulsive when sharing the most dreaded memories. In that context, the Supportive psychotherapy can be applied on Joel. The counselor would use the controversial style of debating with him to make him realise that his past is a spent game and he have to live with his family. Other approaches like motivational interviewing can also be beneficial as counseling methods. However, as evident in the case study, Joel’s depression is in the initial phase only. Argumentative style of counselling is implacable on him and by these methods he stands to be completely cured of his depressions and lead a healthy family life.


The chosen approach of counseling based on Psychoanalysis theory is appropriate for Joel as it focuses majorly on transforming the problematic feelings and thoughts of the client. In Joel’s case, the problematic feelings and thoughts are related to his unhappiness at his life despite the positives. The psychoanalytic approach takes into account the childhood and past experiences of the client in order to understand their current behavior (Hurry, 2018). In Joel’s case, it is evident that his concern with parenthood and having control over his life comes from his past and childhood experiences with his father. Psychoanalysis therapy is mostly used for people who suffer from depression and anxiety that result from emotional struggles and trauma. Joel had to go through emotional trauma when his mother passed away when he was just 12 years old. This led to the emotional struggles he later had to confront as his father was unable to cope with the death of his wife and succumbed to alcoholism. With the help of the psychoanalytic therapy, the counselor would be able help Joel express his troubles openly. He would be able to find solutions to the unresolved unconscious conflicts that had occurred in his childhood. During his childhood, Joel never had a close relationship with his father and he had to look after himself. This made him a rebel during his teens as he himself describes. He somehow managed to settle down in his life with a well-to-do job and a family. However, his past experiences overwhelmed his present ability as he began to feel conscious about himself and his capabilities of becoming a good father.


The psychoanalysis therapy uses techniques like catharsis, dreams, resistance, confrontation and interpretation along with other interventions that helps the client relieve their tensions. The counselor or therapist establishes a strong bond with the client to create an environment of trust that the client never had in his past like Joel. The therapy also includes transference as a technique by which Joel would be able to transfer his emotions of the present, which is far satisfying than his past and elevate himself. As discussed in the previous sections, the theory of psychoanalysis involves studying the psyche and it is the most essential thing while treating someone like Joel. Psychoanalytic therapies thus give added importance to the past experiences of the clients that influence their present behaviors. The ‘id’, as defined by Freud, controls all the primary source of an individual’s personality. It is that part of the mind that includes the main cause of psychic energy. The id struggles to tolerate tensions and seeks an outlet to release the tension as it is evident in Joel’s case. Therefore, the psychoanalytic treatment is apt for Joel to come out of his current troubled mental condition. Joel needs to develop a deeper indulgence of him, realize his worth and learn to control his negative thoughts.

The psychoanalytic treatment involves various techniques by which counselors assist their clients to recover from the emotional pain and other problems. The techniques include motivation for treatment, free association, interpretation, dreams, transference, confrontation and working through amongst others. The free association technique makes use of unprompted word association where the client is asked to say whatever that comes to his mind after the counselor says a word. This helps the counselor to interpret the meanings by which he could understand the kind of therapy the client needs (Tschacher, Junghan & Pfammatter, 2014). Dream technique is used to unearth the reserved feelings that might be concealed in symbols appearing in the client’s dream. The counselor helps the client find the significance of those symbols. The technique of transference finds that the client sometimes transfers his childhood emotions toward a parent into his partner during adult life. Similar has happened in Joel’s case but this time, he finds himself in his father’s situation as he feels his job is suffering due to his commitment towards his family.


The two techniques that could facilitate change in Joel’s behavior thus are analysis and interpretation of transference and free association. At first, the counselor would indulge Joel in the treatment through free association (Huber et al., 2013). In this intervention, Joel will be asked to say anything that comes to his mind when he hears a word. The word will be given by the counselor after which Joel will speak on it. This will allow the counselor to unearth the concealed meaning of Joel’s feelings, his conflicts and motivations and not only the surface content. Termed as “listening with the third ear”, this therapy would aid the counselor in understanding the unconscious thoughts of Joel (Zimmermann et al., 2015). Further, the therapy would also work as the ground from which the counselor could establish a good relationship with Joel to ensure a smooth treatment.

The next effective intervention for Joel to help him change his behavior and negative thoughts is transference. Transference, as already explained, refers to the transfer of emotions the client has toward his parent to the counselor or his life partner (Bliss & McCardle, 2014). Although transference could be both negative and positive, it is an effective method to treat clients like Joel. The negative side of transference is that Joel might develop hostile behavior towards the counselor by transferring the emotions of his father. On the positive side, he might transfer the emotions he had for his mother. Through transference, the counselor will be able to bring out the suppressed conflicts, desires and emotions within Joel and release him of the burden he had been carrying (Gelso, Palma & Bhatia, 2013). It will help Joel have access to the feelings and emotions that were inaccessible until now. With the help of transference, the counselor will be able to bring out those parts of the client’s life, which would otherwise have been kept hidden. The counselor would then analyze Joel’s reactions and responses during transference and then evaluate the best treatment for him.

Other interventions could also be effective in Joel’s case but the two techniques mentioned above are easy to conduct and very effective as well. These techniques establish a direct connection with the client’s emotions and help him recover and feel better about himself again.

References:

Bliss, S., & McCardle, M. (2014). An exploration of common elements in dialectical behavior therapy, mentalization based treatment and transference focused psychotherapy in the treatment of borderline personality disorder. Clinical Social Work Journal, 42(1), 61-69.

Gelso, C. J., Palma, B., & Bhatia, A. (2013). Attachment theory as a guide to understanding and working with transference and the real relationship in psychotherapy. Journal of clinical psychology, 69(11), 1160-1171.

Huber, D., Henrich, G., Clarkin, J., & Klug, G. (2013). Psychoanalytic versus psychodynamic therapy for depression: A three-year follow-up study. Psychiatry: Interpersonal & Biological Processes, 76(2), 132-149.

Hurry, A. (2018). Psychoanalysis and developmental therapy. In Psychoanalysis and developmental therapy (pp. 32-73). Routledge.

Lin, J. R., Fang, S. C., Tang, S. S., Hu, M., Long, Y., Ghosh, A., ... & Hong, H. (2017). Hippocampal CysLT 1 R knockdown or blockade represses LPS-induced depressive behaviors and neuroinflammatory response in mice. ActaPharmacologicaSinica, 38(4), 477-478.

lumenlearning.com, (2018). Psychodynamic Perspectives on Personality. Retrieved on 14 July 2018, from

Marcus, S. (2016). Freud and the Culture of Psychoanalysis: Studies in the Transition from Victorian Humanism to Modernity, 18(2), 1-18.

nhmrc.gov.au, (2018). Expert Working Group on ADHD Clinical Practice Points: Declarations of Interest information Expert Working Group on ADHD Clinical Practice Points: Declarations of Interest information. Retrieved on 14 July 2018, from

theconversation.com, (2018). What causes depression? What we know, don’t know and suspect. Retrieved on 14 July 2018, from

Tschacher, W., Junghan, U. M., & Pfammatter, M. (2014). Towards a taxonomy of common factors in psychotherapy—results of an expert survey. Clinical psychology & psychotherapy, 21(1), 82-96.

verywellmind.com, (2018). Freud's Psychosexual Stages of Development. Retrieved on 14 July 2018, from

Watts, R., Day, C., Krzanowski, J., Nutt, D., &Carhart-Harris, R. (2017). Patients’ accounts of increased “connectedness” and “acceptance” after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 57(5), 520-564.

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Zimmermann, J., L?ffler?Stastka, H., Huber, D., Klug, G., Alhabbo, S., Bock, A., & Benecke, C. (2015). Is it all about the higher dose? Why psychoanalytic therapy is an effective treatment for major depression. Clinical psychology & psychotherapy, 22(6), 469-487.

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