Types of therapies: Humanism

It has taken me some time to continue this mini-series about counseling or psychology theories, but here I am, back with a new post, this time about Humanism. If you are new to the blog or can’t remember, part of the objective I have is to close the gap between therapy and people.

I believe therapy should be for everyone, and I think by talking about it openly we can reduce the stigma around it. In this series of posts, I try to summarize my perspective in different counseling theories, so that people can choose and know a little more when choosing a therapist.

So…as I did with Psychodynamic theories, my aim here is not to do an academic review of this orientation, which can be found anywhere else, but to give an idea of what you can find on a Humanist therapist and therapeutic setting.

Briefly

As a response to their predecessors, humanists wanted to, very simply, humanize the therapeutic setting. The psychoanalyst methods were too solemn and serious for some, and argued that it did not take into account the personal perspective, as it was based on the therapist’s interpretation and ideas of determinism.

Humanism escapes from that by acknowledging the uniqueness of each person, which would make this approach phenomenological. It is the person who is in possession of the truth, and therefore, of the solution, and not the therapist.

Predecessors of this orientation are Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, who worked towards the creation of a new style that would differ in techniques and understanding of therapy.

The therapist

The humanist therapist will not always be identified as such because of the many directions that humanism has taken along the years. Other orientations encompassed on Humanism could be: Person Centered therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Existenitalism, Gestalt or Positive psychology, among others. Although they may all fall under the category of humanism, they may differ greatly from one another.

Some general ideas of the humanist therapist:

  • Therapist focuses on quality of therapeutic relationship
  • Therapist is genuine, integrated, and authentic
  • Therapist openly expresses feelings and attitudes present in relationship with the client
  • Therapist does not use techniques designed to get the client to do something (this is more of a person centered approach)
  • There are no roles in relationship
  • Empathetic, understanding, non-judgmental

The Client

The client will be expected to work towards a desired goal. The client is mostly understood from a here-and-now perspective, which differs from other theories that focus more on the past experiences. From this idea, the client will talk about current life, life goals, and ideas of self and self-improvement.

Since the expertise is put on the client, it will be them who are responsible for deciding what they need, and may expect to have autonomy over deciding on scheduling, the issues to work on and style. However, as previously said, this may vary when working with a Gestalt therapist, or a Person Centered one, for example.

Resources

The Association for Humanistic Psychology https://www.ahpweb.org/

Corey, G. (2017). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Find a therapist with a humanist approach.

 


Anything you want to add? Comment bellow!

If you would like to contact me, do it through this form.

Advertisements

Types of therapies: Psychoanalysis

In the last post I was telling you about the mini series of posts that I am creating. For the first post of the series, I have decided to write about psychoanalysis, as it is probably the oldest theory in psychotherapy, and the most known.

It is, however, very misunderstood by the lay people, because of the multiple references to it in pop culture and movies.

Briefly

Sigmund Freud is known as the founder of this theoretical orientation, and he developed it partly practicing with himself. He is most known for his psychosexual development theories, that were, and still are, controversial for many people. However, he did contribute many things to the field of psychology, creating a shift towards therapy that wasn’t so focused on the brain and the science behind our behavior.

I believe one of the most important contributions of psychoanalytic theories was the introduction of the unconscious. The unconscious would be a part of ourselves that we do not know, but that impacts greatly in the way we feel, think and behave. Through analysis, Freud believed, we can start to unwrap some of the mysteries of the unconscious, and create change by learning the truth of ourselves.

He also created the theory of personality, which you have probably heard or read about: the id, ego and superego (click here for extended info).

He and his followers also believed in the importance of childhood and parents. Thus, analysis would focus most of its time in learning about past experiences that might have created problems for our present self.

From Clínica Picazo

If you are thinking about engaging in this kind of therapy you should know that this is generally a long term therapy, with usual meeting sessions every week or twice weekly.

Therapist

The classical psychoanalytic or psychodynamic therapists are trained to be a blank slate and to not self disclose anything. This might come off as coldness, but they believe that by being completely blank, the client will project their own life’s characteristics and problems into the therapist.

Client

What the therapist wants from the client is for them to talk openly all the time. By talking without any context or questions, the client engages in a process of free association, which psychoanalysts believe is important to obtain the information that the unconscious is trying to hide.

*Modern approaches- psychodynamic orientations

After Freudian psychoanalysis, there were many other theories that evolved from it like attachment theories or object relationship theories. The more modern approaches of the practice are not as orthodox regarding self disclosure or being completely blank. What’s more, many therapists of other orientations use psychodynamic understandings for their practice.

Resources

American Psychoanalytic Association

For more info on the theory: APsA.

To find a therapist: find help.

If you have any questions, as always, contact me.