Essay about Evaluating the Main Theories of Counseling

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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
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The Id is the unconscious state of mind; it is responsible for our voluptuous and immediate satisfaction. It is our basic drives such as life instincts (Eros) and death instincts (Thantos); it is also responsible for our libido (sexual instinct).
The Ego is the conscious state, the rational mind which organises our thoughts and makes sense of them. This develops during the first two years of life.
The Super Ego aims for perfection, it works in contradiction to the Id. It controls our sense of right and wrong.
Part of Freud’s theory was that the Id, Ego and Super Ego were in constant conflict with each other. It involves the Id wanting immediate satisfaction and the super ego who wants the id/person to behave leaving the ego constantly trying to resolve the issue.
The Ego uses a number of defence mechanisms to protect itself; these mechanisms are designed to reduce anxiety and stress. Some defence mechanisms include; repression, displacement, projection, denial and intellectualisation.

Techniques used by Psychodynamic therapists consist of; dream therapy (making sense of dreams and interpretation into reasons behind them), hypnosis and free association.

While most psychodynamic theories did not rely on experimental research the methods and theories of psychodynamic thinking contributed to experimental psychology.
Psychodynamic Therapy was the first therapy used in attempting to explain mental illness and has had great
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