A Critical Analysis Of Two Counselling Theories : Existential Therapy And Psychoanalytic Therapy

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A Critical Analysis of Two Counselling Theories: Existential Therapy and Freudian Psychoanalytic Therapy

Kavya Raj, 25183834
PSY3120: Introduction to Counselling
Due: Thursday 16th October 2014
Theories within psychotherapy guide interactions between the therapist and client, providing a process by which the client can come to understand and resolve their problems. However, these theories can often be conflicting with opposing techniques and goals. Existential therapy is best considered as a philosophical approach to the therapeutic process, which gives prominences to the themes of freedom, self-determination, self-awareness and anxiety (Yalom & Josselson, 2011, p. 310). It emphasises the individual’s capacity to make free choices regarding the person they become, and focuses less on the use of techniques. In contrast, Freudian psychoanalytic therapy considers ways to change problematic behaviours or thoughts by examining their concealed unconscious motivations and meanings (Corey, 2013, p. 63). Past experiences are significant in determining the distinctive behaviour of the individual, which is analysed by the therapist through techniques such as dream analysis and free association. Whilst both theories view the individual and their difficulties as unique, existential and psychoanalytic therapy have opposing views of human nature and therapeutic goals.

A key concept of existential therapy is the relationship between freedom and responsibility. In contrast
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