Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been the most often form of therapy delivered in my practicum. Its fundamentals include manipulating unhealthy ways of thinking for a more positive approach; understanding others’ behaviors and their motivations; using learned coping patterns to help relieve symptoms and to become more operative in life (Apa.org, 2020). CBT offers that behavioral patterns are learned and therefore can be unlearned through treatment (Apa.org, 2020). Treatment is based on the premise that one can become a therapist to themselves through the guidance of their counselor (Apa.org, 2020). CBT has been within keeping of my personal philosophy that life is about choices and their consequences, either positive or negative. One must be able to take responsibility for their actions and inactions to become more self-aware. I believe this concept is now, more than ever, a necessary perception. Victim-stancing or being a victim in situations transfers power to other entities that do not serve the individual’s common good. Taking control of oneself and identifying ways to do so is empowering and allows for self-actualization.
Existential-Humanistic therapy focuses on the individual’s increasing self-esteem to help make contributions to society (Human-studies.com, 2020). These contributions are linked to the help of others and are focused on the interconnectedness of people and societies (Human-studies.com, 2020). Their self-awareness allows for them to see others who are more unfortunate and allows for an appreciation and giving in which the individual feels good about contributing to their society (Human-studies.com, 2020).
The differences between CBT and Existential-Humanistic therapy is the patient focus. CBT has a more immediate focus on the person receiving therapy, and their choices, whereas Existential-Humanistic Therapy would like to take the focus and expand it to the individual and their contributions not only to themselves but to society as well (Human-studies.com, 2020). Their contributions to society have a ripple effect, helping others to feel well about themselves and being able to expand their positive energy and experiences past themselves (Human-studies.com, 2020).
The strengths of CBT are that the patient can become empowered through the process of therapy, having realized they are in control of their thoughts, feelings, and emotions; therefore they are in charge of their choices. The downside to CBT is sometimes the patients are very deep-seated into victim-stancing and may take longer to help channel them to a more self-actualized individual. The strengths of existential-humanistic therapy are when one becomes a better self, they also influence their society. The difficulty of this type of therapy is that it is difficult to help others when you are not in a healthy place.
A.B., a 39-year-old male diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder and General anxiety disorder would benefit from CBT. He has recurring nightmares and flashbacks. He suffers from a generally low mood and struggles with alcoholism. He no longer participates in activities that he once appreciated. He has had a recent DUI for which his license has been revoked. The patient is now estranged from his wife of 7 years and their two children, aged 6 and 4.
This patient would be a prime candidate for CBT. His negative thinking, actions, and choices have brought him negative results for which he is responsible. Changing how he makes decisions and his thinking patterns are necessary for this patient to begin practicing good decision making and yield generally positive results. The change in perception and the focus on self and his ability to control the situations he puts himself in is the goal for this patient.
A fictional client that would benefit from existential-humanistic therapy would be a 22-year-old college student. She is transsexual and emotionally imbalanced suffering from manic episodes and deep depression. She is on the brink of failing most of her classes, oversleeps, overeats, and does not participate in any activities on campus. When she does participate in class, her contributions are minimal at best and her parents are fed up with her wild and outlandish behavior.
This patient would benefit from existential-humanistic therapy. To guide this patient to see how her actions and inactions affect others such as her classmates and parents would be beneficial to her. Helping her to resolve her inner conflicts would be of great importance for this patient to self-actualize and for change. Counseling this patient to be self-aware and to motivate this patient to have better self-esteem, better grades, and better contributions would be of benefit to this patient and would allow her to see the correlation between her choices and the consequences.
Apa.org. 2020. [online] Available at: <https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and- families/cognitive-behavioral> [Accessed 21 October 2020].
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Brief Interventions and Brief Therapies for Substance Abuse. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 1999. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 34.) Chapter 6 –Brief Humanistic and Existential Therapies. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64939/
Human-studies.com. 2020. Existential-Humanistic Psychology, Mindfulness And Global Change. [online] Available at: <http://www.human-studies.com/articles/existential-humanistic- psychology-mindfulness.php> [Accessed 21 October 2020].
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