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Psychodynamic Theory


Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (Freud)

Analytic Theory (Jung)

Individual Psychology (Adler)

The Neo-Freudians

The Ego-Analysts

Object-Relations Theorists

Pertaining to the cognitive, emotional, and volitional mental processes that consciously and unconsciously motivate behavior. These processes are the interplay between genetic and biological heritage, the sociocultural milieu, past and current realities, perceptual abilities and distortions, and one's unique exp. and memories.

Psychodynamic Theroy


Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (Freud)


Hypotheses and treatment applications about human personality and its development


Personality has three structures:

ID: present at birth, an indiv.'s unconscious instinctual drive/needs (the source of all psychic energy). The id seeks immediate gratification of its needs to avoid tension. Reflex actions (blinking, sneezing) and primary process thinking (dreaming) are the tension reducing actions of the id.  The id, therefore, is operating on the pleasure principle.

EGO: devel. at 6 mths. of age. the ego responds to the id's inability to gratify all of its needs. The ego defers gratification until an app. object is avail. in reality.  The ego employs secondary process thinking (perception, sensation, memory, and logical thinking). Therefore, the ego operates on the reality principle.  The ego also acts as a mediator between the id and the superego (when it devel.)

SuperEGO: somewhere b/w age 4 and 5, the child devel. the superego. The superego represents an internalization of societal morales. Behav. that r rewarded become a part of the ego ideal. Punishable behav. are incorp. in2 the conscience. The superego also tries to permanently block the id's socially-unacceptable drives. adding morals

**Conflict b/w any 2 of these 3 structures produces anxiety. the ego responds to anxiety produced by unresolved conflict by using a defense mechanism. (see black book for list of defense mech.)

**Even though the superego and the ego may reach the same decision about something, the superego’s reason for that decision is more based on moral values, while the ego’s decision is based more on what others will think or what the consequences of an action could be

The Technique:

free association


analyzing/interpreting resistance

ego analysis

dream interpretation

free association (technique with Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy)

A psychoanalytic technique first developed by Sigmund Freud and still used by some therapists today, free association invites patients to relate whatever thoughts come to mind, without censorship or embarrassment, in order for the therapist and patient to learn more about how the patient thinks and feels

Example: “Well, this morning I woke up and had coffee…On my drive to work I listened to the radio…What is it with the radio, anyway? So many ads all the time…I really hate my work…Did you know that beavers can hold their breath for more than ten minutes? That was on the radio too…God, I wish I were a beaver so I didn’t have to go to work.


Psychoanalytic techniques



counter-transference occurs when the therapist begins to project his or her own unresolved conflicts onto the client


Psychoanalytic technique

Dream Interpretation

dream interpretation is the process of explaining the meaning of the way the unconscious thoughts and emotions are processed in the mind during sleep.

Psychodynamic Theory

Analytic Theory (Carl Jung)


Personality is more a result of striving for self-realization than a result of methods used to reduce anxiety.

  • A) Personality incorparates a number of interacting structures and system
  • The psyche or the mind consists of three structure

Consciousness (or ego) is the part of the               psyche that represents conscious memories, perceptions, thoughts, or feelings.



Personal Unconscious contains experiences, memories, etc. that were once conscious but have been forgotten, repressed, or supressed. Experiences in this structure eventually become grouped into complexes.


The Collective Unconscious (or transpersonal unconscious) contains experiences of past generations.  These experiences are manifested as archetypes or universal thought forms.


The ultimate goal is to achieve a state of individuation. This occurs when the unconscious aspects of personality are incorporated into the conscious and the four psychological functions (thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuiting) achieve unity.


The Techniques

word-association tests

dream analysis

symptom analysis

life history

*Jung used these techniques to help individuals move toward individuation and self-actualization.



Psychoanalytic psychotherapy

Individual Psychology (Alfred Adler)


Development of personality and psychopathology.It emphasizes a person's lifestyle and the indiv. striving to overcome inadequaacy feelings.

a)Inferiority feelings develop during childhood as the result of real or, more importantly, perceived biological, psychological, or social weakness while a striving for superiority is an inherent tendency toward perfect completion. Health indiv. are cooperative for the common good. Unhealthy indiv. r self-centered, competitive, and power-hungry.

b) style of life is also influenced by birth order, family atmosphere, and the family constellation.

c)mental disorders represent a mistaken style of life. This lifestyle is characterized by maladative compensation for feelings of inferiority, preoccupation with achieving personal power, and an undeveloped social interest.

d) the therapeutic goal of Adlerian psychotherapy is to help a client replace the mistaken lifestyle with a healthier, more adaptive one.  The most healthy lifestyle is one that is characterized by a high degree of social interest.


establish an alliance b/w therapist and client

help the client identify his/her lifestyles & its consequences

study of dreams

reorient the client's attitudes to reflect a more adative lifestyle

Interpretation of resistances and transferences


giving encouragement and advice

Humanistic/Existential Theory
  • To understand the person one must understand his experience
  • Individuals are unique and whole
  • The focus is on the here and now
  • Individuals's have inherent potential for self-actualization and self-determination
  • Therapy is an authentic, collaaborative, egalitarian relationship between client and therapist
  • Traditional labels and assessment techniques are rejected

Humanistic/Existential Theory


Client-Centered Therapy (Carl Rogers)


based on the hypothesis that all people have an innate self-actualizing tendency.


He believed that:

a) the self must remain unified, organized, and whole to grow toward self-actualizing

b) the self becomes disorganized when there is incongruence b/w the self and experience 

c) incongruence b/w self and exp. produces anxiety

d) when the unified self is threatened the indiv. may attempt to alleviate the anxiety through distortion or denial (defenses)

e)defensive maneuvers are counter to self-actualization

f) positive self-regard (and especially unconditional positive self-regard) is the key to self- actualization


The Techniques

-If theapist provides the right environment, the client will achieve congruence b/w self and experience

-the right envir. is provided by furnishing 3 facilitative conditions

         Unconditional positive regard ( therapist genuinely cares about the client and affirms the client's worth as a person

         Accurate empathetic understanding (the therapist has the ability to c the world as the client does and conveys that understanding to the client.

         Congruence (therapist must be gunine in therapy)

-therapy is non-directive and client centered

-clients are the experts of their own inner processes


Humanistic/Existential Theory


Gestalt Therapy (Fritz Perls)


based on the assumption that each indiv. is capable of assuming personal responsibility and living fully as an integrated person

a) indiv. should will recognize the existence of gaps and distortions in their own hinking

b) indiv. will spontaneously express emotions and perceptions

c)indiv. will become aware of & take responsibility for their actions

d) people tend to seek closure

e) a person's gestalts (perceptions of parts as a whole) reflect his/her current needs

f) a person's behavior represents a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts

g) behavior can only be fully understood in context

h) a person exp. the world in accord with the principle of figure and ground

i) the personality has two parts: the self and the self image

-self is the creative aspect of the personality that promotes the indiv. inherent tendency for self acyualization

-self image is the darker side of the personality- it imposes external standards and hinders growth and self-actulization

j)maladative behavior is seen as a growth disorder that involves the abandonment to the self for the self image

k) maladaptive behaviors is often the result of one or more boundary disturbances which all reflect identification w/ the self image:

-introjection-person psychologically swallows whole concepts (person accepts w/o understanding). Introjectors have difficulty distinguishing b/w "me" and "not" me" in therapy.

-projection-making someone or something in the environment responsible for what originates from oneself

-retroflection-doing to self what one wants to do to others

-confluence-no noundary b/w self and envir.

awareness is a necessary precondition for appropriate change in behavior

Gestalt Therapy (Part 2)


-therapists avoid lables

-historical events only impt. when they directly impact current functioning

-transference is counterproductive

-directed awareness-direct questions keep clients in he here and now

-language-therapist directs client to begin sentences with "I" to help them assume responsibility for actions

-no questions-questions foster intellectualizing and mask feelings

-games of dialogue-role playing and empty chair technique help client express feelings directly

-assuming responsibility-therapist direct clients to use the phrase "I take responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings, and actions.

-dream work- elements of recurring dreams are representations of parts of the self that have not been fully accepted


Humanistic/Exisential Theory


Existential Therapy


based on existential philosophy in as much as it has the central idea that man is a "being in the world".  The focus, then, is on the indiv.'s mode of "being-in-the-world" and the meaning that an indiv. gives to existence. 


Two types of anxiety:

Existential anxiety- elicited by issues such as the threat of non-being and the inability of an indiv. to know what is feels like to be someone else

Neurotic anxiety- results when a person tries to avoid existential anxiety. Usually involves a decrease in sense of self-as-subject and an increase in sense of self-as-object. The neurotic indiv. has stopped taking respon. for his/her own life.


b) the goal is the help the indiv. achieve an authentic existence/mode of being-in-the-world. confront the threat of non-being, take responsibility for decision in the face of existential doubt, and acknowledge his/her fundamental existential isolation.



-relationship b/w client and therapist is primary curative factor

-techniques are eschewed

-therapist and client attempt to understand each other & their perspective ways of being-in-the world

Reality Therapy (William Glasser)

form of psychosocial and behavioral intervention in which the client is helped to devel. a success identify based on love and worth.  


-focus is on behavior rather than feelings

-focus is on present and future rather than past

-responsibility is a central concept and is defined s the ability to fulfill one's needs, and to do so in a way that does not deprive others of the ability to fulfill their needs



-Verbally active therapist r confrontive and intellectul

-the concept of mental illness is rejected

-transference is viewed as detrimental

-emphasis is on consious process

emphasis is on value judgements, especially client's ability to judge right and wrong 

-seeks to teach clients specific behaviors that will fulfill their basic needs

CBT theory

Treatment uses techniques that decrease maladaptive behaviors and increase more adaptive ones. It is not a single approach to therapy. 


a) emphasis is on current behaviors

b) a scientific approach is used

c) cognitive processes influence behavior

d) restructuring an individual's cognition can alter his/her behavior

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