Key Characteristics and and Concepts of: Humanistic, Psychodynamic and Cognitive Behavioral Theories

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Explain the key characteristics and concepts of: Humanistic theory Psychodynamic theory Cognitive – behavioural theory Humanistic theory The humanistic approach began in response to concerns from Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. They believed that existing theories (psychodynamic) failed to address issues like the meaning of behaviour adequately. However instead of variations of the psychodynamic approach a new approach was created. It was designed to be a non- judgmental, non-directive approach to therapy. It emphasizes the three core conditions- unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence. Rogers believed that there is good in everyone and that everyone has the ability to flourish. By using these three conditions it is believed that this would aid the persons’ ability to fulfil their potential, thus reaching self-actualisation (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). This therapy explores feelings and experiences as they occur, in other words what is in our conscious awareness. As it focuses on conscious experiences it is able to help a person have a healthy transition from reactionary behaviours to thoughtful actions. It reflects the clients feelings back to them. Psychodynamic theory The psychodynamic approach was founded by psychologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis was the original psychodynamic theory but the psychodynamic approach as a whole is based upon theories from his ideas. These came from Jung, Erikson and Adler. Freud’s main theory was that the psyche was structured in three parts, the ID, ego and the super ego. Therapists believe that the motives for our behaviours and personality are determined through psychosexual and psychosocial development. It is believed in particular that in our very early years (before the age of 5) plays a large part in this. The way children are treated by their parents helps form adult behaviours.
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