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Current Counselling and Psychotherapy Practices

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    Discuss how current counselling and psychotherapy practice emerged from psychiatry and psychology. Use critical evaluation of theoretical evidence to support discussion points. 2, Analyse the similarities and differences between psychotherapy and counselling practices using evidence, aims and objectives relevant to practice and therapeutic need. Counselling and psychotherapy are very different areas of speciality than psychiatry or psychology. Yet it is from these two health practices that counselling and psychotherapy practice emerged.

    The emergence and beginning of this takes us back initially to 1887, when the specialism of psychotherapy emerged in psychiatry. In the nineteenth century there was a general shift towards science and capitalism, and away from religion, this impacted on peoples understanding and tolerance towards distress and mental ill health. In the early twentieth century Sigmund Freud founded/developed psychoanalysis. Around the time of the 2nd World War a number of well regarded psychoanalysts split off from Freud, and moved elsewhere, around the world, such as the UK, USA and Europe.

    Afterwards, a number of different influential psychotherapists developed different theories. Namely : Erickson et al developed psychoanalysis, Rogers and Maslow – humanistic therapy, Beck and Ellis – cognitive -behavioral therapy, then forward to the present day, where we have our current different therapies. Counselling and psychotherapy are very popular, accepted and sort after. It has been a relatively short journey of birth, transformation and independence. This is why there are undercurrents of similarities between all the professions.

    Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) born in Austria, is believed to be the first founder of psychoanalysis. He originally worked as a medical doctor, but later in his career he researched neurophysiology, after which he switched to clinical practice in this area.. He and his two colleagues used hypnosis to help patients with ‘hysterical symptoms’, and this led Freud to conclude that hypnosis helped patients just as much as talking did with their problems. The understanding and belief of talking therapy underpins psychoanalysis and all other theories that developed from it.

    Freud believed human behavior was not consciously controlled, and credited three parts in the mind to any psychological activity. These are called the unconscious, the preconscious and the conscious. Personality too was given three parts, the id, the super ego and the ego. Freud believed these parts in our mind have their individual parts to play in the way we go about life. He also stated the only way to work through conflicts that arise from our subconscious and unconscious mind is through dream analysis and psychoanalysis.

    Other key concepts in psychodynamic theory are the psychosexual stages of development, anxiety, defence mechanisms, and free association. Carl Jung (1875 – 1961) was a one time friend and colleague of Sigmund Freud, who initially held similar views to Freud. He started to feel dissatisfied with Freud’s ideas though and broke away from that school of thought in 1913. Jung also had a great interest in mystical and magical subjects, Buddhism and Hinduism, which influenced Jung’s own ideas on a theory of personality. He too, suggested there were 3 parts; the conscious mind (or ego), the personal unconscious, and the collective unconscious. The main point of difference between the two men (Jung and Freud) was Freud’s definition of sexuality and libido. Although Jung conceded the importance of the sexual instinct, he considered Freud’s view of it to be unbalanced……in addition to this, Jung’s theory of libido is more wide-ranging than Freud’s and is invested with spiritual, mystical and above all, creative meaning. His theory of personality has a much wider base and in this sense his approach to psychoanalysis is quite different from the orthodox position” ( p. 6, Counselling Skills and Theory 3rd Edition, Margaret Hough, Hodder Education, 2010) He stated that the one part of our personality (Jung named it the collective unconscious) is made up of archetypes (models) which contain our experiences, “so in isolation of these experiences they are nothing” (Level 4 Counselling and Psychotherapy Course book, 2012) Archetypes are images that present in symbolic form. There are many of them but Jung described only a few in detail. These are: the mother, mana, shadow, persona and anima & animus. The mother archetype “is said to e a reflection of the human evolutionary environment enabling an innate ability to recognize relationships” (Level 4 Counselling and Psychotherapy Course book, 2010). The mana archetype is that image of perfection and pushes us to find meaning in our lives. It is a spiritual symbol. The shadow archetype is the so-called evil part of our personality, and is the fundamental reason why cruel acts are committed in the world. It evolved from a pre-human existence, so in essence it has always ‘been there’. The persona describes the way we present ourselves to the world, how we wish others to see us.

    It does not mean we are portraying our true selves, but instead an image of what is deemed acceptable in the social situation. Problems can occur if we rely too much on this persona, and end up hiding behind the mask of what we think we should be like, opposed to who we really are. The animus is the image of the man in females, and likewise, the anima describes the image of the woman in man These images have been around for centuries, are concerned with sexuality, from observation and interaction with the opposite sex.

    Other names that have helped shape psychotherapy are psychologists are Carl Rogers (1902-1987) who developed person-centred therapy, the most influential of humanist approaches. B. F Skinner (1904-1990), who did the most famous experiment that he is known for – ‘The Skinner Box’. He developed behaviourism as his theory. As we have briefly seen, there are many methods and ideas regarding counselling & psychotherapy, and their many theories too. They are fairly similar in terms of jobs.

    The British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) states that “it is not possible to make a generally accepted distinction between counselling and psychotherapy. There are well-founded traditions which use the terms interchangeably and others which distinguish between them. If there are differences, then they relate more to the individual psychotherapist’s or counsellor’s training and interests and to the setting in which they work, rather than to any intrinsic difference in the two activities” (BACP, 2009).

    Both counselling and psychotherapy involves these matters : meeting the client face to face, one to one, in a private confidential placement, the counselor listening to the client, who will be in some form of emotional distress, trying to understand what they are going through, and trying to help the client change in some way, or cope far better so they can see clearly what the actual problem is and what can be done to lessen the emotional distress.

    Both have regulatory bodies, but there are no legal requirements at this present moment for training and qualifications, which essentially means many people can call themselves a counselor and give a service but not all will have had minimal training and supervised training – if at all. At the timing of writing this assignment the UK Government are looking at setting out legal minimal training requirements to be a practicing counselor or psychotherapist which could essentially, if put in place, make the industry a safer place for clients.

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