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Abnormal Psychology: Mental Disorders and Therapies

What are the similarities and differences among the therapies for each school of thought in psychology for treating mental disorders?

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Let's take a closer look at five schools of thought and some theories within each school, which you can consider for your final copy. I also provided links for further research, if necessary.

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1. What are the similarities and differences among the therapies for each school of thought in psychology for treating mental disorders?

Since psychology is not a unified science, there are a number of schools of thought in psychology, each with its own way of conceptualizing the origins of psychological problems. With these different views, each school has developed different ways of addressing psychological problems--thus therapy is different for each school of thought. Although there are numerous schools of thought, most professionals provide therapy from one of these five primary schools of thought: psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, cognitive, humanistic and biological. (1)

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic theory holds that tension between conscious and unconscious forces creates psychological problems. These problems were created in childhood, and therapy (called psychoanalysis) is the long process of developing an awareness of these unconscious elements. (1)

For example, Freudian psychoanalysis is where a therapist makes a diagnosis of a patient's condition and suggestions for his treatment based on Freudian interpretations of his behavior, thoughts and dreams. The goal of psychoanalysis (on a macro level) is to provide the patient with insight as to the nature of his problem--once the patient possesses this insight (or so the theory goes), he will be able to correct his behavior. Insight comes from making the unconscious conscious through various techniques, such as free association, dream analysis, transference, ink plot, and others. (4)

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Unlike Freud, Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on the person's life as it is now--the current and conscious thought patterns and behaviors. The therapist is directive--making specific recommendations on how to bring about change in behavior. Therapeutic sessions are well structured, and the therapist uses direct questioning. They typically end with a homework assignment to complete before the next session. (1) Basically, Cognitive behavioral therapy is focused on teaching patients coping mechanisms that allow them to "self-correct" their irrational thoughts, assumptions and behaviors. (4)
CBT is primarily focused on symptom control, and is most helpful when symptoms seem to have taken on a life of their own. It is useful in the treatment of phobias, ...

Solution Summary

This solution looks at the similarities and differences among the therapies for each school of thought in psychology for treating mental disorders. Links for further research and references are also provided.

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