Psychoanalytic Approach Essay

Submitted By pstatus
Words: 3603
Pages: 15

The client - centered and Psychoanalytic models of psychotherapy and counseling are both offsprings of great figures in the field of psychological treatment namely, Carl Ransom Rogers and Sigmund Freud respectively, were the originators of these fundamental approaches, which proved to be very important for the further development of counseling and psychotherapy.

While Freud based his theoretical framework on his medical background (psychiatry), Rogers, influenced by the existential philosophy, developed a psychological theory, in which the person has a central role to play.

The differences concerning the origins of the above approaches are obviously reflected to both their theory and practice. An apparently different conceptualization of human nature's needs and goals by Rogers and Freud allowed them to adopt different techniques for helping the individual to lead a creative and rewarding life.

In this paper the major theoretical concepts and the basic tools of intervention used in the above mentioned therapeutic approaches will be discussed. This discussion is on attempt to illustrate any similarities of Rogerian and Freudian modules of psychotherapy. Issues, such as the role of the counselor/psychotherapist, the nature of the therapeutic relationship, the use of specific techniques and the evaluation of the therapeutic outcome, as perceived by the client - centered and the psychoanalytic approach, will be addressed. However, the advantages and limitations associated with each approach will be briefly presented, since a full account on their theoretical and practical developments would seem to exceed the scope of this paper.


Rogerian approach is the most widely used humanistic approach in the field of counseling and psychotherapy. Since it shares the principals of the humanistic tradition, it puts emphasis on experiential processes, rather than on the etiology of the clients problems in this early childhood relationships with his parents, as psychoanalysis does. Rogerian mode of therapy is also known as non directive or client - centered or person - centered approach. It is called so, because the role of the expert is transferred from the therapist to the client, who is regarded as responsible for and capable of reaching his own solutions for his own problems (McLead, 1993; Nelson-Jones, 1982).

Concepts such as organizing valuing process, conditions of worth, congruence, self-actualization and self-concept are of central value and all interrelated in the Rogerian model of counseling and psychotherapy. While self is the real, underlying, experiencing part of the person, self-concept is the individual?s perception of himself. Self-actualization is the inherent tendency to every human being to use his own full potential and reach the optimal level of his self-growth. When self-concept is in congruence with the individual?s own, internal valuing process of his experiences (organismic valuing process), there is no obstacle in the function of his actualizing tendency. Only the conditional parental love (conditions of worth) in childhood may lead the person to experience incongruence as an adult. Such a state of denial or repression of thoughts and feelings may result in the individual?s need for counseling or therapy (McLead, 1993; Davis & Fallowfield, 1991).

To Rogers, the goal of counseling and therapy is the congruence of personality. That is achieved when the self has access to the variety of the experiences of the organism (Kahn, 1985). The need for congruence can not be fulfilled, until two primary human needs have been satisfied. These are the self-actualizing tendency and the need for being loved and positively valued by others. From a person-centered perspective, these needs can only be met when the counselor creates on atmosphere of unconditional positive regard and empathic understanding. Only then will the person be able to make use of his full potential, and all the qualities in