There are many different ways in which people may seekguidance in overcoming their mental health struggles. These professions varyfrom Psychiatrists, who are more medically trained and can prescribe anindividual with the suitable type of medication, to the works of a Counselor,who is trained more into the talking side of therapy, whereby an individual isencouraged to talk about their emotions and feelings, rather than being treatedwith medication. These are just a few of the many professions out there intreating mental illness, with different treatments being more suited to oneindividual than the other. Throughout this essay, I will explore a few otheravailable sources of treatment including clinical psychologists, with alsocomparing them with one another and showing how Counseling and Psychotherapy differentiatesitself from other mental health professions. Alongside this, I will also beexplaining three main approaches in the world of therapy and how they are usedin the therapeutic setting, comparing and evaluating them too, to show furtherunderstanding, with focusing on one to provide my contextualised knowledge andunderstanding of how the theory came to be developed via historical, culturaland political possibilities. According to the BritishAssociation for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), The role of a counsellorand psychotherapist is to try and develop the overall health and security inour society.
Generally, Counselling and Psychotherapy are listening andtalking-based methods of understanding psychological issues (Feltham and Horton,2012). As a profession, psychotherapy involves all talking therapies, with theobjective being to try and help the client to overcome the negative aspects they’redealing with in their day-to-day lives. A few examples of these things mayinclude things from emotional struggles they’re presently dealing with, to traumaticconditions they’re struggling to cope with. Usually, a Psychotherapist willmeet with their client or group, on a fixed routine, with once a week being themost common depending on the circumstance. With this in mind, there aredifferent forms of therapy that can take place, including Cognitive BehavioralTherapy (CBT) and even art therapies, which uses creative arts in a therapeuticmanner.To help a client who is experiencing mental health problem, a counsellorwill use aspects of psychotherapy to try and overcome these. These twoprofessions often coincide with one another, however there are debates abouttheir differences, with some people believing that counselling works in a moreunstructured manner, dealing with shorter-term issues.
With this being adebate, it’s been seen that more counsellors are taking similar training topsychotherapists, with also some using a certain approach in psychotherapy tohelp support their client. Counsellors can work with a range of people,including those who have suffered from addictions, bereavement, abuse andeating disorders. With that being said, there are many different areas and professions withinthe world of mental health, all who help those who are struggling with theirmental well-being. One of these professions is Psychiatry. This professioninvolves a medical doctor who has studied both physical and mental health problems,with then going on to do further training in mental health. Due to this medicalbackground, they’re able to prescribe a patient with medication, unlikepsychotherapists or counsellors. They’re able to treat conditions such asanxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia, with alsobeing able to offer emotional support for those with long-term physical healthconditions through treatments such as talking therapies.
Another profession isa clinical psychologist. Within this profession, just like a psychotherapistand counselor, their main aim is to help those suffering from mental distress eitheremotionally or psychologically, which has a negative impact on their dailylives, making the differences between the professions very similar. However,what makes psychotherapists and counsellors different from clinicalpsychologists is the fact that they tend to look into individuals with lessextreme mental distress, whereas clinical psychologists look into clients withmore severe mental health disorders, including things such as psychosis. Justlike in counselling, they can work with groups or just and including, however aclinical psychologist will tend to concentrate on a certain type of therapy,including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Looking in depth into behavioural therapies, CognitiveBehavioural Therapy (CBT) is a strand of cognitive and behavioural drives, withthe basic origin coming from the works of Pavlov and Skinner in classical andoperant conditioning. Looking into the behavioural aspects of it, Skinnerfurther developed the work of Pavlov, with also criticising his experiment forbeing too simplistic to be able to reflect mundane realism, creating his owntheory which is known as operant conditioning. Within this he introduced theconcepts of punishment and reinforcement, explaining how behaviours can becomesubdued, depending on the types consequences they may have, either positive ornegative.
In terms of the cognitive strand to CBT, this was brought to ourattention by the works of Beck and Ellis, whom were both interested in how ourthoughts are influenced by our feelings. Fundamentally, they believed that ourpsychological issues are due to the way a person thinks and feels. Thisapproach is also bought upon on an individual’s interpretations, which arethought to be based on their own experiences from past events, cognitive makeupand beliefs about the world around them, others and themselves. This idea wasdeveloped by Beck in the 1960’s and is most popular to treat people who sufferwith depression. This type of cognitive therapy helps clients to acknowledgetheir negative thoughts which in turn, has guided them to their depression.Also, the therapist aims to challenge the client’s negative ways of thinking,trying to get them to ultimately change their way of thinking about their dailylives in a dysfunctional way.
With being the first person to use the term’psychoanalysis’, Sigmund Freud worked for years concentrating on clients whohad neurotic and hysterical conditions. Over time, this led him to theconclusion that painful early life experiences produced these anxious symptomsand, with the use of encouragement, talking about these events and buriedemotions would lead to them being cured (Feltham& Horton 2012). This led to the origin of the “talking cures”.Freud was born into a middle-class family andoriginally trained as a neurologist at the University of Vienna. This class position meant his primary focusin his therapeutic practice led him to see clients from higher classes (orpeople who could afford the therapy) especially young women who were supressedby men. Thinking about his family dynamic and how itmay have influenced his viewpoints and development of the psychodynamicapproach, his father, had already two children from a previous marriage and wasa wool merchant, earning the majority of his living from that. Amalia who wasFreud’s mother and also the third wife of Jacob, was younger than her husbandby twenty years, with also referring to Freud as “my golden Sigi”. From justthis, you can see that his relationship with his mother was close, and throughself-analysis found that when younger, he wanted to marry his mother but sawhis father being in the way, with having to compete for her love.
He lateranalysed this as the Oedipus Complex, becoming one of his most well-knownideas. With being among one of the oldesttherapeutic models in the world of therapy, the psychodynamic approach rootsback to the nineteenth century. The basic philosophy of this approach is thatpeople are motivated by unconscious drives which are created and shaped byunresolved childhood experiences. If these can then be talked about and broughtinto consciousness, then the individuals’ life choices won’t be driven by theunconscious too much, but rather by their present selves. In turn, the mainaims of psychodynamic therapy are to bring unconscious thoughts intoconsciousness, by talking about them and figuring out coping strategies. Looking further into the psychodynamicapproach, Freud developed his psychoanalytic perspective by breaking thepersonality up into three different components, with the first being the id. Theid is thought to be fully unconscious according to Freud, meaning it affectshow we are as individuals without us even being aware of it, with working on apleasure principle by demanding immediate satisfaction. It does this byavoiding pain, increasing pleasure and decreasing tension.
Alongside this,Freud also stated that that it’s the only personality trait that’s present atbirth. Moving onto the next component, the majority of the superego is thoughtto be unconscious. The superego operates on the moral principle, with wantingto do well for others. In order to gain gratification, a person must do, thinkand feel no wrong. If we give into the id’s demands, the superego responds withguilt. Finally, the ego, which is mostly conscious with this time operating onthe reality principle. The ego aims to satisfy both the superego and Id and isessentially what we perceive ourselves to be. In order to protect an individualfrom psychological pain such as trauma, the ego can unconsciously distort one’sreality.
This is referred to as defence mechanisms, with one being repression,which involves an individual pushing anxious thoughts and memories into oursubconscious to avoid any previously threatening thoughts becoming conscious. It’s been evident that this particularapproach has evolved over many years, creating multiple definitions. Focusingon this approach, it integrates various theories that all view the interactionof a person’s inner drives and forces, especially their unconscious, beingbased on the numerous structures within their personality (Mcleod, 2007). Traditionally, psychoanalysistook place over several years, typically consisting of one session a week,working with thorough and long-term sessions. However, more recently, this haschanged to the opposite, consisting of shorter sessions, with having a clearfocus and limited goal (Smith, Garforth, 2012). The development of Freud’s “talkingcures” therapy attracted many people at the time, as many people were stilltreating psychological symptoms in a medical manner. This led people who wereinterested in psychoanalysis such as Adler and Jung, to develop and look moreinto the approach. Due to Adler’s disagreement with Freud on psychanalysis, it ledhim to resign from the Vienna Psychoanalytic society and thus form his own groupfor Individual Psychology.
Comparing societalbackgrounds with Freud, Adler was born into a lower class, witnessing economicand political oppression from early on in his childhood years. He grew up in amarginalised society whereby the majority of people around him often struggledto put food on the table. Growing up with this particular background incomparison to Freud led him to understand and see the unfairness in society.Alongside this, Adler was part of a large family, with numerous siblings, justlike Freud. However, for him, it caused much sibling rivalry with a lack ofattention from his mother.
This upbringing influenced his viewpoints anddevelopment of his theories, playing a part in his disagreement with Freud’semphasis of sexual factors. Adler was also a socialist, meaning he was verypolitically active, advocating healthier social welfare for the working class.From knowing this, it makes sense that his theory and clinical work was largelyinfluenced by his political outlook and his empathy for the working class. From Freud’s assumption being the main cause that neuroticsymptoms were due to unfulfilled sexual wishes, Adler criticised this by sayingthat these symptoms were in fact caused by external, environmental factors.
Heconsidered mental illnesses being the result of more broad, societal issues ofinequalities and groups who were socially marginalised and oppressed, such aswomen and the working class. This doctrine later played a major role in psychology,influencing many well-known psychologists, including Abraham Maslow; theadvocate of the Hierarchy of Needs. Accordingto Adler, he also believed an individual shouldn’tbe understood in regard to parts, like Freud referred to the personality as theid, ego and superego, but rather as a complete and holistic being (Julita, 2011).Adler believed oursocial and cultural surrounding shapes our behaviour. Keeping this in mind, Adlerian therapy is partlyhumanistic but also focuses on goals, linking greatly to the Humanisticapproach to therapy. This approach involves observing a person as a whole, lookingat how a person behaves through their own judgements, not just through someoneelse observing them. The humanistic approach involves person-centred therapy(PCT), which was created and developed by Carl Rodgers in the 1940’s.
Thistheory is seen as different from others due to it adopting a non-directiveapproach, meaning that the client is there to figure own their own solutions totheir problems, resulting in them becoming aware of their thoughts andfeelings. Ultimately, the goal to this type of therapy is for the client tobecome independent and confident in how to solve their negative view andbeliefs in themselves, with the therapist being the “facilitator” of thepractice (Twigg, 2012). Fundamentally, Rogers believes that everyindividual are innately pre-programmed to do the best to their ability, withthe central principle being that with the right psychological and social environment,a person will reach their full potential (Twigg, 2012). If this has been reached, then a person will be known to havereached “self-actualisation”, the top of the hierarchy of needs.There are supposedly three main concepts withinthe person-centred approach, with the first being congruence. According toRogers this is seen as the most important characteristic within counselling.Meaning genuineness, it allows the client to act real and authentic, with thetherapist acting in a way that assures the client that their inner and outerexperiences are to an extent, the same.
The second core belief is unconditionalpositive regard. This refers to the belief that in order for people to reach self-actualisation,they need to be judged and valued as themselves. In therapy, this refers to thetherapist sustaining a positive relationship with the client by accepting themfor who they are, even if the carry out behaviours they may disapprove of.
Lastly, empathy. In therapy, this is the actionof being able to understand how the client is feeling and to show that they do,in a sensitive and truthful manner by almost putting themselves in the client’sframe of mind. To conclude thetopics discussed above, it’s clear to see that there are different professions thatprovide distinct treatment which suit certain kinds of people. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence(NICE), the most common forms of mental health disorders including obsessivecompulsive disorder (OCD), Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)can affect 15% of a population, however this doesn’t include those who havebeen undiagnosed.
With knowing these figures, it’s clear to understand whythere are so many professions that work around the subject of mental health havinga range of treatments, from talking therapies to using medication. Having a varietyof professions is good in my eyes, with different treatments being appropriateto the different types of people. Also, the diverse professions have different knowledgeof treatments, with even different therapies having different strategies of dealingwith and overcoming mental health difficulties.With also lookinginto the approaches as well, I personally like how diverse each one is. It’sclear to see that the upbringing of the founder has an influential factor andimpact on the type of theory they develop and also their views and beliefs.
I personally liked Freud’s theory, so lookingin depth at his work interested me to find out more about his history, politicaland philosophical views altogether.