There are many different types of therapies or psychological methods used to alleviate problems. First, there are therapies that emphasize the value of gaining insight to personal problems. Then there are behavior therapies and cognitive therapies, which are used to directly change troublesome actions and thoughts. Two therapies I will be describing are rational-emotive behavior therapy and psychoanalysis.
According to author Dennis Coon of Introduction to Psychology, “Rational-emotive behavior therapy (REBT) attempts to change or remove irrational beliefs that cause emotional problems.” Albert Ellis states the basic idea of rational-emotive behavior is easy as ABC. He assumes that people become unhappy and develop self-defeating habits because they have unrealistic or faulty beliefs.
Ellis analyzes problems in this way: The letter A stands for an activating experience, which the person assumes to be the cause of C, an emotional consequence. For example, a person who is rejected (the activating experience) feels depressed, threatened, or hurt (the consequence). Rational-emotive therapy, however, shows that the real problem comes between A and C. In between is B, the patient’s unrealistic beliefs.
There are many irrational or unrealistic beliefs that we all tend to hold. For instance, certain people I must deal with are thoroughly bad and should be severely blamed and punished for. This could lead to “The old man next door is such a pain. I’m going to play my stereo even louder the next time he complains.” Another irrational belief is it is awful and upsetting when things are not the way I would very much like them to be. For example, “I should have gotten a B in that class. The teacher doesn’t like me.” Rational-emotive behavior therapy holds that events do not cause us to have feelings. We feel as we do because of our beliefs.
Psychoanalysis resolves internal conflicts that lead to emotional suffering. Because of the huge amounts of time and money it requires, psychoanalysts have become rare. Four basic techniques Freud relied on to uncover the roots of psychoanalysis are free association, dream analysis, analysis of resistance, and analysis of transference.
During psychoanalysis, the patient engages in free association, by saying whatever comes to mind. They must speak without concern for whether the ideas are painful, embarrassing, or illogical. Dream analysis is also considered a good way to tap the unconsciousness. Freud felt that forbidden desires and unconscious feelings are more freely expressed in dreams. Then there is analysis of resistance where the analyst becomes aware of resistances, or blockages in the flow of ideas, and he or she brings them to the patient’s awareness so they can be dealt with realistically. Finally, there is analysis of transference, which the patient may act as if the analyst is the rejecting father, former lover, or whoever the patient is feeling anger towards. All of these techniques are used in psychoanalysis today.
Both rational-emotive behavior and psychoanalysis help the patients recognize their problem and deal with it. The world today should be lucky and take advantage of the many different types of therapies we are able to choose from. These are just two of the many we are able to have.