Psychotherapy Essay

Psychotherapy Essay

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The aim of psychotherapy is to encourage self-awareness and self-evaluation in order to enable transformation and facilitate possibility. It is this self-evaluation process that is crucial to personal agency (McKay, 1987) and integral to psychodynamic therapy (PDT) and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This essay will critically evaluate cognitive behavioural and psychodynamic theories regarding self-awareness and self-evaluation and explore ways in which these theories and their understanding of self may be utilised within clinical hypnosis.
CBT and rational emotive behaviour therapy REBT (Ellis, 1955) rely on self-reflection and evaluation in order to achieve success. CBT utilises the stimulus -response (SR) model (Pavlov, 1903). Reflexive response to stimulus (Gross, 2005) becomes modified to stimulus –cognition- response (SCR) (Beck, 1967). This introduces a reflective element, similar to the input- processing -output schema found in the computational model of the mind (Putman, 1961, 1988; Fodor, 1979). Decision-making and rationality (Jones and Pulos, 1993) are employed in order to negotiate knowledge of internal influence. Once this knowledge is perceived cognitions are evaluated and reassessed before rational alternatives are generated (Ellis, 1962). Thereby introducing the possibility of transformation. CBT is most effective with anxiety disorders (Beck et al 1985; Schoenberger et al, 1997; Brown 2007) and eating disorders (Baker and Nash, 1987; Griffiths et al, 1996). Meta analysis also supports the use of CBT with depression (Gaffan, Tsaosis, Kemp-Wheeler, 1995; Butter and Beck, 2000). However, whilst some studies suggest that CBT is most effective when used alone i.e. without drugs (Marks, Swinson, Basoglu, Kuch, N...


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...hin hypnotherapeutic practice. Freud’s regression technique is usefully employed within hypnosis in order to gain insight or to recognise the source of a problem e.g. inner child work, counting back. Furthermore, Freud’s concept regarding trauma fixation which concerns psychosexual stages may be used to indicate the root cause of habitual behaviours e.g. oral re: eating, oral aggressive re: nail biting, anal-retentive re: OCD. Having said this it is important to recognise the flaws within Freud’s research. Firstly, his sample group are not universally representative. Secondly, the culture and era make theories less relevant to today. Furthermore, research comes from a personal perspective and therefore is not empirically sound. It could also be argued that too much emphasis is put on sexuality being at the root of psychological and behavioural problems throughout.

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