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Treatment of Psychological Disorders. Jeff Qian and Taylor Whitehead. Treatment Approaches. Insight into true nature of a disorder can be derived from examining the strategy that is most effective in treating the disorder. Insight Therapies: Psychoanalytic and Humanistic.

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Treatment of psychological disorders

Treatment of Psychological Disorders

Jeff Qian and Taylor Whitehead

Treatment approaches
Treatment Approaches

Insight into true nature of a disorder can be derived from examining the strategy that is most effective in treating the disorder.

Insight therapies psychoanalytic and humanistic
Insight Therapies: Psychoanalytic and Humanistic

Psychoanalytic approach to treatment of abnormal behavior is rooted in the concept of insight.

Psychoanalysis (Psychoanalytic Therapy)

  • Developed by Freud

  • Focuses on probing past defense mechanisms of repression and rationalization to understand the unconscious cause of a problem

    • Free Association: patient reports any and all conscious thoughts and ideas

      • This hints to the nature of unconscious conflict

    • Dreams: images and occurrences in dreams are actually symbols representing the truly meaningful content of dreams

    • Transference: patient pushes thoughts and feelings about certain people or events onto therapist

      • Reveals nature of patient’s conflicts


  • *Countertransference*: occurs when therapist pushes his/her feelings onto patient

    Therapist strives to remain detached from the patient: resists emotional/personal involvement

Insight therapies psychoanalytic and humanistic cont
Insight Therapies: Psychoanalytic and Humanistic (cont.)

Instead of treating the person seeking help as a patient, the humanistic approach treats the individual.

Humanistic Therapy

  • Client-Centered Therapy

    • Invented by Carl Roger

    • Clients can only be understood in terms of their own reality

    • Focuses on client’s present perception of reality

    • Goal is to help client realize full potential through self-actualization

    • Therapist is open, honest, and expressive rather than being detached

    • Therapist provides unconditional positive regard to help client reach a state of unconditional self-worth

    • Final key to success is the therapist’s ability to view world from client’s eyes

  • Gestalt Therapy

    • Developed by Fritz Perls

    • Combines both physical and mental therapies

    • Blend awareness of unconscious tensions with the belief that one must become aware of and deal with those tensions by taking personal responsibility

    • Physically act out conflicts

      • Empty Chair Technique

Behavioral therapy
Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral Therapy

  • Short-term process

  • Treats symptoms (no deep underlying cause of problem)

  • Abnormal behavior is the symptom and problem

    • Counterconditioning: technique where a response to a given stimulus is replaced by a different response

      • Aversion Therapy: aversive stimulus is repeatedly paired with the behavior the client wishes to stop

      • Systematic Desensitization: replace one response with another response

        Other Forms of Behavioral Therapy

  • Extinction Procedure: weaken Maladaptive responses

  • Flooding: exposing client to the stimulus that causes the undesirable response

  • Implosion: Client imagines disruptive stimuli rather than confronting it

  • Operant Conditioning: positive and negative reinforcement

  • Behavioral Contracting: therapist and client draw up a contract that they both agree to abide by

  • Modeling: clients watch someone act in a certain way and then receive a reward

Cognitive therapy
Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive Therapy

  • Changing the ways people think about situations in order to change behaviors

    • Rational-Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

      • Developed by Albert Ellis

      • Confronted with situations, people will recite statements to themselves that express maladaptive thoughts

      • Goal is to change maladaptive thoughts and emotional response by confronting the irrational thoughts directly

    • Cognitive Therapy

      • Developed by Aaron Beck

      • Focus on maladaptive schemas

      • Goal is to eliminate or modify the individual’s maladaptive schemas

Biological therapies
Biological Therapies

Biological Therapies

  • Medical approaches to behavioral problems

  • Used in conjunction with other forms of treatment

    • Electroconvulsive Therapy

      • High voltages of electricity are passed across a patient’s head

      • Successful in treatment of major depression, however only used if all other treatments for depression have failed

        • Risks

          • Temporary Amnesia

          • More permanent memory loss

          • Can result in seizures

    • Psychosurgery

      • Most well-known form is the prefrontal lobotomy

      • Parts of frontal lobes are cut off from the rest of the brain

        • Risks

          • Patients are left in catatonic state

Biological therapies cont
Biological Therapies (cont.)

  • Psychopharmacology

    • Treatment of psychological and behavioral maladaptives with drugs

      • Antipsychotics (Clozapine, Thorazine, Haldol)

        • Reduce symptoms of Schizophrenia by blocking neural receptors of dopamine

          • Risks

            • Jerky movements

            • Tremors

            • Muscle Stiffness

        • Clinician decides if disorder or side effects are worse

      • Antidepressant Drugs

        • MAO Inhibitors (Eutron)

          • Increase serotonin and norepinephrine in the synaptic cleft

          • Produce increase by blocking monoamine oxidase which are responsible for the breakdown of many neurotransmitters

            • Risks

              • Effective however toxic, require special dietary modifications

Biological therapies cont1
Biological Therapies (cont.)

  • Tricyclics (Norpramin)

    • Used frequently

    • Amitriptyline and Imipramine (other drugs) increase amount of serotonin and norepinephrine

  • Selective Reuptake Inhibitors (Prozac)

    • Increase amount of neurotransmitters at the synaptic cleft

    • Block the reuptake mechanism of the cell that released neurotransmitters

    • Indirect mechanism of action means fewer side effects

  • Anxiolytics (Xanax)

    • Depress central nervous system and reduce anxiety while increasing feeling of well-being and reducing insomnia

      • Risks

        • Include barbiturates which are rarely used because of their potential for addiction and danger when mixed with other drugs

  • Benzodiazepines (Valium and Librium)

    • Cause muscle relaxation and feeling of tranquility

  • Lithium Carbonate (A Salt)

    • Treats Bipolar Disorder

    • Mechanism of action is not known

Modes of therapy
Modes of Therapy

Modes of Therapy

  • Group Therapy

    • Clients meet together with a therapist as an interactive group

    • Group members learn from each other

    • Therapist is moderator

      • Advantages

        • Less expensive

        • Group dynamic is therapeutic in itself

      • Disadvantage

        • Psychological effect is diluted because attention is focused on group rather than individual

          • Twelve Step Programs

            • Not moderated by professional psychotherapists

            • Combination of spirituality and group therapy

            • Focus on strong support system

Modes of therapy cont
Modes of Therapy (cont.)

  • Couples or Family Therapy

    • Treatment arose out of simple observation that dysfunctional behavior affects the afflicted person’s loved ones

    • Help with communication and resolve conflicts

    • Focus on whole family instead of just “ill patient”

      • Couples Therapy

        • Approach couple dyad as a system that involves complex interactions

      • Family Therapy

        • Allows family members to express their feelings to each other and to therapist

        • Encourages family members to listen to each other

        • Therapy doesn’t minimize or get rid of stress but teaches family to overcome the stress


  • Manifest Content: images and occurrences

  • Latent Content: truly meaningful, content of dreams

  • Genuineness: Therapist is open, honest, and expressive

  • Accurate Empathic Understanding: therapist’s ability to view the world from the eyes of the client

  • Negative Triad: involves negative view of self, of the world, and of the future, these views are learned from experience

  • Arbitrary Inference: person draws conclusion without evidence

  • Dichotomous Thinking: involves all-or-none conceptions of situations