Psychotherapy Theory: Navigating from Diagnosis to Post-Treatment - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-11-14
Psychotherapy Theory: Navigating from Diagnosis to Post-Treatment - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Psychology Medicine Depression Anxiety disorder
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1683 words
15 min read


Psychotherapy theories are essential in providing adequate and significant counseling services as they provide a framework where therapists interpret a patient’s feelings, thoughts, and behavior. From there, the therapist can help the client to navigate from diagnosis to post-treatment. Although theoretical approaches are significant patient treatment process, several methods can be used to help clients attain their desired treatment outcomes. As such, it can be difficult for therapists to identify which approach is most suitable for addressing which type of diagnosis. Nevertheless, the knowledge of different theories may help identify the appropriate approach that will be suitable for the client’s needs. The responsibility is initiated by counselors’ ability to become familiar with the theories as well as the models that have proven successful during actual practice. Two of these models include psychoanalytic and humanities-existential counseling theories and models.

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Psychoanalysis Theory

The Psychoanalysis theory, also known as the psychodynamic theory or historical perspective, was first by Sigmund Freud. The psychologist believed that there were specific unconscious behaviors that were responsible for controlling human behavior (McLeod, 2015). Furthermore, the theory resulted in the development of techniques that counselors can incorporate in their treatment models to help them achieve desired outcomes with the clients. These techniques may include free association where the client freely talks to the counselor without sensors, transference where the client may transfer negative feelings about other people onto the counselor as well as dream analysis whereby the counselor evaluates the client’s dreams to identify significant information about the unconscious part of the mind (McLeod, 2015).

This theory is interesting as it provides a model by which professional counselors can treat emotional difficulties. Moreover, these techniques help to improve communication between the client and the therapist such that the counselor can gain insight into the client’s inner thoughts and how they affect his or her relationships, behavior, as well as emotions.

Humanistic-Existential Theory

This theory assumes that every individual can grow both psychologically and emotionally to achieve the goals of self-fulfillment and self-actualization (Watson & Schneider, 2016). This counseling theory recognizes that human beings are unique and have unique abilities that can help them to improve their situations. As such, humanistic therapists are more concerned with the present and how they can assist their clients in achieving their highest potential. The counselors do not focus on the negative behaviors or on identifying the client’s past as they believe that all clients have goodness in them and focus on achieving the client’s highest potential (Raypole, 2019).

This theory is interesting as it highlights the notion that existential counselors operate under the pretext that conflicts or problems are not as a result of life events but how individuals experience these events. As such, these therapists believe that life experiences affect the clients’ feel about the event as well as about themselves; thus, influencing their confidence and self-esteem.

Application of Psychoanalytic theory in Treatment of Depression

Despite the advancements in this theory, the basic notions introduced by Freud have shaped the concept of human functioning and behavior. The successful implementation of various models of this theory can help the client to interrupt self-destructive or self-defeating patterns, improve productivity as well as relationships, and unlock the client’s creative potential. Ribeiro et al. (2017) explained that the influence of usual factors in psychotherapy had been approximated at 30% when identifying the variation in depression outcomes. Therefore, the nature of psychotherapy techniques emerging from psychoanalytic theory reflects how the interconnected aspects of the brain and the mind in an interpersonal perspective can successfully predict a more robust outcome as compared to other specific treatment approaches (Ribeiro et al., 2017).

The psychoanalysis model considers depression and mourning as forms of bio-psychological reactions to loss. As such, the activities of the emotional system are linked with the fight or flight that is triggered when the emotional systems concerning nurturance are extremely distressed. As a result, the individual experiences mental processes that are similar to those of a depressed individual (McLeod, 2015). Even though depression and mourning, according to psychoanalysis, maybe similar, Freud noted that the experience of depression is wider than the aspect of loss of a loved one through death (Ribeiro et al., 2017).

The psychoanalytic theories of depression have resulted in a significant effect on the contemporary theories of depression (McLeod, 2015). As such, the psychodynamic treatment models have demonstrated effectiveness to a certain extent in the treatment of major depression such that psychoanalytic therapy can be applied as an addition to the drug dependence programs that are incorporated to treat the depressive disorder. Additionally, research has illustrated that the brief therapy processes from the psychodynamic approach have proven effective in the treatment of depression (Ribeiro et al., 2017).

Different types of psychotherapy models have been compared with no specific variations or methodological particulars identified as the expected outcomes. However, the extent of effectiveness has been identified as an overestimation since the majority of the evidence is based on the reduction of symptoms instead of the reduction in the progression of the disease. Furthermore, the interpersonal therapy that is rooted in the psychoanalytic theory has been identified as an effective treatment model for depression as compared to other psychotherapies and combined treatments of depression. Moreover, this model has proved to be useful in preventing relapse after successful treatment of depression (Ribeiro et al., 2017).

To date, scholarly evidence is in agreement concerning the effectiveness of both dynamic and cognitive therapies is obvious in the treatment of major depressive disorders (Ribeiro et al., 2017). Furthermore, extensive studies indicate that psychotherapy is an efficient treatment for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and noted the comparableness to the antidepressant medications. As such, the significance of these outcomes has been under discussion in the scientific community (Flint et al., 2015). Moreover, Driessen et al. (2015) identified indications of research publication bias among the U.S. National Institute of Health-funded clinical examinations that observed the usefulness of psychological treatment for MDD. These studies indicated that psychological treatments might not be as effective as indicated by the published literature.

Scientific data illustrates that psychoanalytic treatment models are beneficial in the treatment of depression as it can endure and advance with time even after a successful treatment process. Patients using this treatment method depict a decrease in symptoms as well as increased mental abilities, which enable them to mature with time. Moreover, studies have been able to indicate that psychoanalytic theories help to predict the extent to which cognitive therapy will be successful when incorporated to deal with a specific aspect of a depressive disorder. As such, these researches may suggest that there is a unified procedure concerning the psychodynamic treatment of different depressive disorders ( Ribeiro et al., 2017). For instance, Ribeiro et al. (2017) found that there was a dual risk for poor outcomes when applying the psychoanalytic theory to treat depression when the patients were diagnosed with a comorbid personality disorder. However, other studies have expressed that there are disadvantages when using models from this theory to treat depression such as the consideration of the diagnosis of personality disorders, differences in sample sizes as well as dissimilar results that are reliant on the selected personality clusters. Nevertheless, these studies present a contradiction to the constant claims that the psychodynamic treatment models for depression have insufficient empirical support.

Subsequent research conducted other researchers have included multiple types of research that facilitated sufficient evidence that supports the application of psychodynamic theory models as compared to cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of the major depressive disorder (MDD). These studies concluded that there is significant efficacy in the treatment of depressive disorders, including the comparison between individual, group therapy, brief therapy, and control groups. Furthermore, the varying outcomes of these studies have been identified as either long-term or short-term psychoanalytic psychotherapy as applied to individuals suffering from depressive disorders. These treatments have indicated the treatment duration in the comparison between the short-term and long-term meta-analysis that illustrates the efficiency of experiential dynamic therapy for multiple psychiatric disorders illustrated that the most significant effect of this therapy was on depressive symptoms. As such, these studies indicate that there was greater advancement in group treatments as compared to group controls under medium to long-term follow-up from the therapist (Lilliengren et al., 2016).

Driessen et al. (2015), in a study that included 54 pieces of research, indicated that psychodynamic treatment models helped to reduce the severity of depressive symptoms among patients. These studies illustrated that the condition of the patient maintained or improved after continuous follow-ups made by the therapist. Furthermore, the authors indicated that the STPDP was more efficient as compared to control conditions in regards to the results on depression even though its efficacy did not differ greatly from other forms of psychotherapies. As such, the studies indicate that psychoanalytic therapies can be effective in the treatment of depression and different depressive disorders. This illustration indicates that different psychotherapies can be incorporated into the treatment process of depression to achieve a successful reduction in the severity of depressive symptoms.

Application of Humanistic-Existential theory in Treatment of Anxiety

Humanistic-existential theory may incorporate models such as gestalt, client-centered as well as existential therapy models that aim at helping clients to evaluate their feelings and thoughts to achieve successful solutions to their problems by focusing on the present instead of the past. As such, clients can be able to find the meaning of their lives without having to delve into their past behaviors (Shumaker, 2016). Furthermore, this theory encourages the clients to understand and learn how negative responses to life can result in physical discomfort and how they can accept both the negative and positive aspects of their personalities.

Humanistic-existential therapies focus on the anxiety that exists when a client is facing a conflict that is present in his or her life. The existential therapist will act as a coach that will guide the client to focus on personal responsibility that is necessary for making decisions. Furthermore, the therapist can include a variety of humanistic techniques and approaches such as empathy that will help to create insight into some decisions that the client needs to make (Shumaker, 2016).

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