Evaluating the Main Theories of Counselling

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This essay will attempt to highlight and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the three main theories of counselling within the module covered this term. The three approaches in discussion are psychodynamics, cognitive behavioural and humanistic. The psychodynamic theory originated from Sigmund Freud, a medical doctor and philosopher (1856 - 1939) founded in the 1900s. Freud developed his ideas whilst working as a psychiatrist in Vienna, collecting information from his patients such as feelings, thoughts and early childhood experiences. The psychodynamic theory focuses on the unconscious mind. Freud’s credence is that different mental forces operate in the mind. The unconscious mind can be described as being like an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg represents the part of the mind that is conscious, everyday thoughts. The iceberg just below the water’s surface represents the pre conscious, thoughts and information that can be retrieved easily. And finally the base of the iceberg is the unconscious part of the mind where fears, traumas and bad experiences are contained, almost impossible to retrieve. Freud argued that slips of the tongue are repressed expressions made by the person unknowingly. The term used for this is a Freudian slip. Freud emphasized that early childhood experiences are important to the development of the adult personality, proposing that childhood development took place over five stages; oral, anal. Phallic, latent and genital. The phallic stage is the most important stage which contains the Oedipus complex. This is where the child (age 4 - 6 yrs) posses the opposite sex parent and wants rid of the same sex parent. Freud argued that if the conflict is not resolved in childhood then it could caus... ... middle of paper ... ...uld be seen as a feminine therapy due to its nature of one self, majority of men do not wish to express their inner feelings and thoughts. This approach may be viewed as gender bias creating a weakness. However credit is given because this approach is subjective, looking at the individuals experiences. Allowing each individual to reach their own potential and showing they are responsible for their own free will. This essay has discussed the three main approaches in counselling, looking at both strengths and weaknesses of each. It is evident that every theory is embedded in historical and cultural issues. Although the three approaches have the same initial focus, to enable clients to make conscious their personal meanings and bring them into a place of awareness. It is clear that there is no right or wrong approach, each has contributed to science and society.
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