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Theories of Counseling:

Psychoanalytic Theory










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Copyright Allyn & Bacon 2004

Psychoanalytic Theory

Background

Sigmund Freud launched the fields of counseling and psychotherapy.

Freud's conception regarding the development of neurosis arose from his
studies in hysteria and hypnosis.

Pleasure Principle: Human motivation is guided by the drive to seek
pleasure.





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Psychoanalytic Theory

Background

Other prominent contributors include: Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Harry
Stack Sullivan, Theodore Reik, Anna Freud, Melanie Klein, Karen Horney
and Eric Fromm.

All of the aforementioned practitioners were at one time disciples of Freud
but left to form their own schools.

Many psychoanalytic principles were incorporated into later developing
theories.



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Psychoanalytic Theory

Basic Tenets

Id, Ego and Superego: The three parts of the personality.

Stages of Development: Oral, anal, phallic, latency period and genital.

Defense mechanisms: Repression, projection, reaction formation,
fixation, regression.








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Psychoanalytic Theory

Basic Tenets

To become a practitioner of psychoanalysis, one must complete a long
training process of many years, which is open only to M.D.s and Ph.Ds.

Id, Ego, Superego and intrapsychic conflicts: Psychological symptoms
are self-defeating patterns brought on by internal struggles.

The past: Current problems stem from unresolved issues that occurred in
early childhood.





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Psychoanalytic Theory

Basic Tenets

Dreams: Dreams are viewed as the gateway to the unconscious.

Catharsis: The release of pent-up emotion.

Corrective Emotional Experience: The therapist helps clients alter their
self-perceptions and behavior.








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Psychoanalytic Theory
Treatment Procedures

Therapy is long-term and focuses on exploring unconscious issues
through interpretation, dream analysis, free association, transference and
other methods.

Detachment: The therapist is detached, objective and neutral so that the
client can project onto the therapist things from the clients unconscious.

Transference: Traditionally, transference is a projection of unconscious
desires onto the therapist.

Countertransference: This are projections the therapist makes onto the
client.



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Psychoanalytic Theory
Contemporary Theories

Object Relations Theory: Also sees the past as a strong influence on
behavior but also looks at the present and creates a more empathic,
supportive relationship in which to foster a more secure attachment.

Self-Psychology Theory: Doesnt just explore the past but also here-and-
now issues. Defenses are identified in a sensitive manner leading to
greater ego strength and resilience.






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Psychoanalytic Theory
Contemporary Developments

Many contemporary psychoanalytic practitioners have abandoned many
of Freuds original tenets (e.g. the couch).

Therapy has become more brief.

Sessions focus both on the past and on the present.

Focus in on identified goals and not a entire restructuring of the
personality.

Contemporary psychoanalytic theories are especially helpful for borderline
and narcissistic personalities.


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Psychoanalytic Theory
General Principles

Help the person to tell his or her story.

Establish a solid working alliance.

Deal with resistance.

Gather background information and history.

Select the problem or issue to be worked on.

Explore the precipitating events.




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Psychoanalytic Theory
General Principles

Collaborate with the client to form a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Increase the clients awareness regarding defensiveness.

Revisit resistance to interventions.

Explore the clients transference.

Monitor the therapists countertransference.

Examine how the past is impacting the present.

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Psychoanalytic Theory
General Principles

Help the client behave more effectively.

Provide feedback and confront discrepancies.

Negotiate with the client regarding homework assignments.

Remind the client of the termination date.

End therapy as agreed upon with the client.

Schedule follow-up as needed.




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Psychoanalytic Theory
Limitations

Doesnt take all the clients needs into consideration. (e.g. sometimes
clients have a need to be alone or regress.)

Psychoanalysis isnt for everyone and it is still long in duration compared
to more brief theories.

The writings of some psychoanalytic theorists (Freud and Jung In
particular) are technical and hard to read.





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Psychoanalytic Theory
Use with Diverse Populations

Psychoanalytic theory tends to be seen as male and elitist in origin.

Has sexist concepts such as penis envy.

Patriarchy and domination are often associated with it.

Can be useful in helping diverse groups learn how to present their
concerns in relationship to past oppressive history.





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Resources




Ivey, A. E., DAndrea, M., Ivey, M. B. and Morgan, L. S. (2002). Theories of counseling
and psychotherapy: A multicultural perspective, 5
th
ed. Boston, MA.: Allyn &
Bacon.

James, R. K. & Gilliland, B. E. (2003). Theories and strategies in counseling and
psychotherapy, 5
th
ed. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Kottler, J. A. (2002). Theories in counseling and therapy: An experiential approach.
Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.




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