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Three Theoretical Approaches to Counsellin

  • Date Submitted: 07/23/2010 05:57 PM
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The aim of this paper is to describe and discuss the three theoretical approaches used in counselling practice which are psychodynamic, humanistic and cognitive. This will be demonstrated by looking at the core concepts of each approach illustrating how each perspective would affect a counsellor’s approach to a client. I will also describe the role of theory in relation to practice, applying theory to the counsellor/client relationship. Finally, I will compare and contrast all three approaches identifying the similarities and differences of each.

    Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) founder of psychodynamic theory was interested in the conscious and unconscious of a person’s mind He developed a structure of personality which was divided into three elements the id, the ego and the superego. The id which is present from birth and is necessary for survival and its purpose is concerned with basic drives and instincts i.e. pleasure, hunger and security. The ego is non existent at birth and serves as an intermediary between the id and the external world. The super ego begins to develop at about three years old and this is the voice of the conscience like an internal parent nagging, blaming or criticising. Freud suggest that for each individual there will always be conflict and compromises between the three parts of the personality.   He also suggested the ways in which we cope with these conflicts and anxiety as Defence mechanisms some of these include denial, regression, repression, displacement, humour. Freud describes these as ways of expressing forbidden impulses in a disguised form. (Hough 2002) Later in his work he became interested in patients who had suffered childhood trauma which involved sexual abuse. From this he developed the psychosexual stages of development which he regarded as taking place between infancy and adolescence. The psychodynamic approach to counselling places emphasis on both past and present experience. According to this model what happens in our...


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