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Psychotherapy - Ireland
What is Psychotherapy ?
Psychotherapy is an discipline that entails the analysis of human behaviour and it needs effort to resolve problems. A behaviour is anything that we do. It may be what you say, what you do, what are your thoughts, your emotions, recollections and sensations experienced.
Work is the re-direction of anything we do that needs some element of effort. This would incorporate altering any behaviour or the continuance of a behaviour that is against our other inclinations, habits or normal routine actions.
Psychotherapy and counselling have a lot of similarities however but counselling is not psychotherapy. Counselling normally results in a realisation, a plan of action or a decision. A psychotherapist helps you create an environment that is filled with activities that causes change. It is something akin to a physical exercise regime aimed at bringing about and improved state of physical fitness.
The Principles Underlying Psychotherapy
There are literally tens of dozens of methods that are employed to achieve the aims of psychotherapy. These have their foundations in observing, researching and theories that help to explain, predict or guide changes in our behaviour.
These are the underlying principles in psychotherapy; realisations and insight helps to change our experience, responses and choices that we make; Undertaking and practising new behaviours will change older behaviours; As we undertake new experiences this can encourage us to take action, to change and to grow; People, particularly children, are inclined to adopt the behaviours of the people that feel an association with; Advice, directions and techniques are not as important as the therapeutic relationship and the resources that the individual brings into therapy; Hope, the wish to change and the expectation that change will happen are necessary but not that influential alone.
Types of Psychotherapy
There are a number of different types psychotherapies of which four broad categories are outlined here. These will give a general understanding of the most commonly identified psychotherapeutic approaches.
There have been many developments since the time of the father of modern psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. The term most frequently applied to generally take in these approaches is Psychodynamic. Terms such as: id, ego, neurosis, conflict, attachment, object relations, unconscious, defence mechanisms, superego, drives, libido, transference, countertransference, and many more have come from this approach.
Some of the most significant approaches within the psychodynamic psychotherapy are: Psychoanalysis - Sigmund Freud , Analytical Psychotherapy - Carl Jung, Adlerian Psychotherapy - Alfred Adler, Object Relations - Mahler, Klein, Gutrip, Winnicott, Fairbairn, Kernberg as well as others, and Self Psychology - Heinz Kohut.
Sigmund Freud's original views were based on the conflicts that he felt were the essence of human existence. Such conflicts come from efforts to reconcile our biological selves with our social selves. Parts of these conflicts are unconscious and affect our behaviour without us being conscious.
Psychodynamic therapies try to make the unconscious conscious, thereby giving us a greater insight into our requirements and behaviour and therefore give us more control over how we allow these conflicts impact upon us.
The term object-relations refers to the self-structure we assimilate as a young child. This provides us with a blueprint for establishing and maintaining future personal relationships.
Psychopathology is an expression of traumatic self-object internalisations from our childhood that are acted-out in current adult relationships. Psychotherapy is an attempt to resolve these self-destructive patterns of relating so that we can mature and self-actualise.
Self psychology is Heinz Kohut's interpretation of object relations theory that recognises the core importance of our need for relationships critical in providing necessary experiences during human growth and development. These experiences are termed self-object experiences.
Sufficient positive self-object experiences when the baby and young child are developing facilitate the creation of a strong, cohesive self, the core of our personality and character.
Humanistic psychotherapy is an approach which attempts to do justice to holistic person i.e. the mind, the body and the spirit. It represents a wide array of therapeutic approaches. Each approach recognises the self-healing abilities of the patient. Humanistic psychotherapists work towards an genuine meeting of equals in the therapy relationship. Abraham Maslow is the best know theorist that is associated with Humanistic Psychology. Carl Rogers, of Client Centered Psychotherapy fame, is the best known therapist along with Fritz Perls and his Gestalt Therapy. Existential psychotherapy is firmly allied with humanistic psychotherapy, though different historical figures are usually associated with the two psychotherapy models. Many modern therapists identify themselves as humanistic existential in approach due to the roots and perspectives that they share.
Existential psychotherapy attempts to empower patients to find positive ways of coming to terms with the challenges of modern living. The focus is on the patients particular, individual experience of concern and distress leading to an exploration of their inner beliefs and core value system, in order to clarify and comprehend these in relation to the specific physical, psychological and socio-cultural backdrop. Past experiences and influences along with present and future, are given equal emphasis. The questioning of beliefs and facing up to the possibilities and limiting factors of everyday life is an important part of this interactive, dynamic and direct method. Four existential problems are cited as central to the existential struggle that is the main focus in this therapy and is believed to be at the root of most psychological problems: death, freedom versus responsibility, isolation, and meaninglessness. There are no total solutions to the existential problems yet all of us must come to terms with them. The names most associated with Existential Psychotherapy are James Bugental, Irvin Yalom, and Rollo May.
Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a practical approach that aims to define specific goals and uses active methods to reach them. The cognitive behavioural therapist examines patterns of thought and behaviour and how these patterns are reinforced and maintained by the person. A functional examination of thought and behaviour is conducted, frequently using logs and graphs to better understand thinking and behaviour patterns in the context of day-to-day routines. Once an understanding of symptoms and behaviour is attained, the therapist and patient together come up with changes in the patterns and continue to track. This is repeated until the original objectives have been met. Attention to irrational thoughts is core to the approach as well.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is rooted in the efforts of behaviourist such as Ivan Pavlov, Joseph Wolpe, John Watson, and B.F. Skinner. In particular the latter developed theories of operant conditioning that were the foundation of behaviour therapy, that sees the consequences of behaviour as forming and influencing future behaviour Skinner is associated with such terms as positive reinforcement, stimulus-response, and contingencies of behaviour His emphasis was on observable behaviour It was the likes of Albert Bandura - Social Learning Theory) and cognitive therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy theorists such as Aaron Beck - Cognitive Therapy, Albert Ellis - Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, William Glasser - Reality Therapy and Donald Meichenbaum - CBT that brought thought and emotion into this approach.
Transpersonal Psychospiritual psychotherapy is defined by its orientation that incorporates the spiritual dimension as opposed to the content of therapy. It sees the human psyche as having a central core i.e. the Self or the Soul as the centre of human identity as well as a personal ego.
Psychotherapists draw upon a broad range of therapeutic approaches towards the revelation of past psychological material within a context of the persons potential based upon spiritual insight and experiences.
Within this perspective
there is a movement of the personal centre to the Self and a movement
of the Self to manifest its nature through and in the personal centre.
Thus this therapy incorporates both healing and individualisation.
Recommended Irish Psychotherapists
Irish Representative Body for Counsellors
The main representative body for counsellors in Ireland is the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Institute of Ireland. Contact details are as follows:
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