Compare and contrast counselling theories essay

The three theoretical models possess different goals. Person-Centred therapy aims at providing individuals with an environment that is safe and favourable for exploring their well being Rennie By encouraging clients to explore well being, Person-centred therapy ensures that clients recognize all the challenges that they have faced in their emotional and psychological growth. Basically, Gestalt therapy aims at assisting emotionally and psychologically affected individuals in advancing towards self awareness in relation to their day to day experiences Brownell This encourages clients to be expansive especially in making choices in regard to their lives.

In relation to therapeutic relationship, the role of the counsellor and client becomes critical in ensuring that the outcome of the therapy is desirable. In relation to the three theoretical models of counselling under discussion, the therapeutic relationships differ from one model to the other. In each model, the client and therapist hold different roles Corey The therapeutic relationship in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, the therapeutic relationship resembles the relationship between a teacher and a student.

The therapist acts as the teacher and the client as the student. According to Romana , the role of the therapist is to give therapeutical instructions to the client who listens and does what the counsellor says. In this case, the counsellor acts as the focal point since he impacts much on the cognitive and behavioural changes in the client. The counsellor utilizes the Socratic dialogue that is critical in supporting clients in tenets such as the identification of the beliefs, norms and values that have impacted on the psychological and emotional functionality Romana Further, the counsellor encourages the client to change these beliefs as well as identify an unconventional rule for present and future living.


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In the person centred therapy, the therapeutic relationship is distinct from CBT and gestalt. Due to this, the counsellor must ensure that respect, genuineness, and empathy towards the client are maintained. Further, communication is also critical in this model especially between the client and the therapist.

The relationship must equal as it is crucial in aiding behaviour change in the client Wilkins Therapeutic relationships in the Gestalt Therapy hold central significance. The counsellor and client establish a relationship that is centrally placed.

Compare And Contrast The Humanistic And Psychodynamic Model Of Counselling Theories

In this therapy, the relationship only depends on the nature and quality of the therapeutic measures being given Brownell In contrast to CBT and person centred therapies, gestalt therapy depends much on the attitudes of the counsellor towards the client. The client is his own interpreter hence the counsellor only helps the client to interpret his behaviours and experiences Brownell Therefore the role of the counsellor is as an aid. There are different techniques applicable in the three models of counselling described in this paper. CBT utilizes techniques aimed at personal counselling.

The theory utilizes the Socratic model that entails several questions to be answered by the client. However, the client is also allowed to ask the counsellor some questions. Further, the theory employs the aspect of homework that encourages the clients to practice the skills learnt. In client centred therapy, the techniques differ from those of CBT. While CBT applies assignments and Socratic model, Person centred therapy makes use of the attitudes of the counsellor as the major technique.

However, this therapy utilizes aspects of hearing and listening and clarification of ideas and feelings. This therapy does not utilize techniques that entail directive aspects.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the Person Centred Therapy

In person centred therapy, there is no probing and questioning; common aspects in CBT therapy Wilkins In the Gestalt therapy, the techniques used contrast those of CBT and person-centred therapy. Though the theoretical models of counselling described in this paper are necessary in counselling, each model has several limitations. The CBT is believed to have an aspect of playing down the emotions of the clients. The limitations of the person centred therapy are distinct as compared to those of CBT and Gestalt.

Since the therapist is a passive entity during this therapy, cases of limited responses are occasional. There is lack of direction for most clients since the counsellor remains inactive Wilkins In cases when crisis occurs, the clients will lack support.

Firstly I will begin by looking at the theory behind each of the main concepts. I will begin with the Humanistic Approach. Person-centred therapy is a non-scientific concept, developed by Carl Rogers.


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Rogers believed that we are all born with the ability to gain self-actualisation and have an organismic self. Rogers called this the adapted self. Rogers believed that in order for a client to reach self-actualisation there must be three core conditions; empathy, unconditional positive regard and genuineness. Rogers believed the self-concept was split into three sections, self-worth thoughts of our self , self-image how we view our body image , and the ideal self what we would like to be. Rogers saw the client as the expert and thus encouraged them to seek fulfilment for themselves, by taking charge of their actions and feelings.

He used counselling tools such as reflecting, paraphrasing and summarising to encourage the client to talk about their issues. These techniques emphasised the 3 core conditions and encouraged the client to accept who they are and reconnect with their true selves, stepping away from their adapted self. On the other hand the psychodynamic approach is a medical concept based upon the subconscious mind and was the first form of counselling dating back to the 20th century.

The main leader in this theory is Sigmund Freud In his opinion the feelings and memories were repressed and festered in the subconscious mind which consequently affected the current behaviour and thoughts of the client. He placed great emphasis on sexuality being the key to a healthy personality.

He created the 5 Pyscho-sexual stages of development whereby adulthood is determined by a person successfully reaching each stage; this would then lead to a healthy personality as an adult. Freud saw the human personality being split into three components, the conscious, the preconscious and the subconscious Nelson-Jones, , p He also saw the mind being split into the ego, the superego and id. The relationships with significant others such as parent are very important to the later functioning ego.

Freud believed that neurotic disorders are thought to stem from problematic relationships with parents.

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Counselling Theories Compared and Contrasted • Counselling Tutor

At the time that these occur a specific stage of the Pyscho-sexual development is unresolved and results in sexual conflict. Defence mechanisms such as denial, suppression, reaction formation and regression can then be used to cope with the anxiety formed by the fight between the impulsive desires of the id and moral judgements of the superego. These defence mechanisms offer protection for the individual from the painful thoughts and feelings keeping them from awareness. Winnicott, , pp. This shows a similarity between the two theories as they both show how those who step away from their real self or true selves and live in the adapted self or false selves, can often become depressed and un-fulfilled in their lives.

It joins the theories of both Cognitive therapy and behavioural. He realised that by working on these internal dialogues and making them positive it could effectively lead to positive changes in the behaviour of the clients. It helps to increase self-awareness, introduce better understanding and improve self-control by developing appropriate responses to negative feelings. Like Person-centred therapy CBT aims to help the client to experience and express feelings at the time they occur, rather than dwelling on them later on. If a person did not know the reason behind their fears and behaviours they would not be able to live fulfilled lives and would remain unhappy.

In Psychodynamic therapy the counsellor is seen as a key focus of the therapy. The role of the counsellor in Psychodynamic therapy is to act as a blank slate on which the client can project their feelings onto. In contrast, Person-Centred therapy sees the human being as a trustworthy and capable individual, who is born with the self-actualising tendencies to determine their own future and to reach full potential when an accepting environment is provided.

Extract of sample "Counselling approaches to case studies"

In contrast to the Psychodynamic approach, in Person-Centred therapy the role of the counsellor is to offer a congruent and trusting environment where it is the personal process of the client to be in a warm relationship with the counsellor. Therefore, it is evident that the Person-Centred approach is much more optimistic than the Psychodynamic approach.

Freud believed that the instincts from the Id, ego and superego caused the client to become motivated to change. Whereas, in contrast, Rogers believed it were the self-actualising tendencies of each client which motivated them to change and develop. The id and the organismic self both represent the repressed part of the mind. It is from these areas that anxiety and emotional difficulties can occur. We can also see similarities between the ego and the self-actualising tendency as both are concerned with mediating between the id and the super-ego.

The actualising tendency seems to echo this. In my opinion, Psychodynamic therapy fails to identify the power the individual has to change if a caring and safe environment is available.