Requirement for Psyc 502 Research Paper: The paper (6pages) will compare Existential Therapy and Psychoanalytic Therapy (Frued) as it relates to philosophy, key concepts and tenets, stragtegies and technqiues, and goals. Additionally, the paper will include a discussion of the appropriateness of each approach for culturally and diasibility diverse psoulation. The paper should have a clear introducation, purpose, and logical discourse. APA style format is required with references (which includes 5 empirical articles).
The field of psychology encompasses a wide range of theoretical frameworks and therapeutic approaches, each offering unique insights into the human experience. Two prominent theories, Existential Therapy and Psychoanalytic Therapy (Freudian), have greatly influenced the field and continue to shape contemporary clinical practice. This paper aims to compare Existential Therapy and Psychoanalytic Therapy in relation to their philosophy, key concepts and tenets, strategies and techniques, and goals. Furthermore, the appropriateness of each approach for culturally and disability diverse populations will be discussed. By examining these aspects, this paper will contribute to a comprehensive understanding of these therapeutic approaches and their relevance in today’s increasingly diverse world.
Existential Therapy is grounded in the philosophical teachings of existential philosophers such as Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jean-Paul Sartre. It is a humanistic approach that emphasizes personal responsibility, self-awareness, and the exploration of existential concerns, such as the nature of existence, freedom, choice, meaning, and death. According to existential therapists, individuals have the freedom and responsibility to create their own lives and meaning, and therapy provides a space to explore existential anxieties and navigate life’s challenges.
Psychoanalytic Therapy, pioneered by Sigmund Freud, is rooted in the psychoanalytic tradition. It views human behavior as determined by unconscious processes, early childhood experiences, and the interplay of psychological forces. Freud believed that individuals’ thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are influenced by unconscious conflicts, and therapy aims to bring unconscious material into conscious awareness through techniques such as dream analysis, free association, and interpretation.
Key Concepts and Tenets:
Existential Therapy focuses on understanding the unique subjective experience of each individual. It emphasizes the exploration of four fundamental dimensions: existence, meaning, freedom, and death. Existential therapists believe that individuals struggle with existential dilemmas, such as the search for meaning, the anxiety of freedom, and the confrontation with mortality. The therapeutic process involves helping individuals develop self-awareness, take responsibility for their choices, and grapple with the existential dimensions of their lives.
Psychoanalytic Therapy revolves around core concepts such as the unconscious, defense mechanisms, transference, and the psychosexual stages of development. It posits that individuals’ thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are influenced by unconscious conflicts and unresolved childhood experiences. The therapist’s role is to interpret the client’s unconscious processes, facilitating insight and resolving conflicts that underlie psychological symptoms.
Strategies and Techniques:
Existential therapists employ a range of strategies and techniques to help clients explore existential concerns. These include phenomenological exploration, meaning-making, confrontation, and experiential interventions. In phenomenological exploration, therapists encourage clients to describe their subjective experiences, promoting self-reflection and self-understanding. Meaning-making involves assisting clients in clarifying their values and purposes in life. Confrontation challenges clients to face difficult truths and confront existential anxieties directly. Experiential interventions aim to enhance clients’ self-awareness through creative experiential exercises, such as role-playing or guided imagery.
Psychoanalytic Therapy relies on techniques such as free association, dream analysis, interpretation, and working through transference and resistance. Free association encourages clients to freely express their thoughts, feelings, and memories, allowing the therapist to identify unconscious material. Dream analysis involves exploring the symbolic meaning of dreams to access unconscious conflicts and desires. Interpretation is the process of uncovering hidden meanings and unconscious motivations behind the client’s words and behaviors. Transference refers to the client’s unconscious transfer of feelings and attitudes from significant figures in their past onto the therapist. Working through transference and resistance involves exploring and resolving these unconscious dynamics to promote growth and insight.
The primary goal of Existential Therapy is to assist individuals in developing a deeper understanding of their authentic selves and living a fuller, more meaningful life. It aims to help clients confront existential dilemmas, develop self-awareness, take responsibility for their choices, and align their lives with their personally held values and aspirations.
The overarching goal of Psychoanalytic Therapy is to bring the unconscious conflicts and motivations into conscious awareness, thereby reducing psychological symptoms and facilitating personal growth. By understanding and resolving unconscious conflicts, clients can gain insight and develop healthier ways of relating to themselves and others.
Consideration for Culturally and Disability Diverse Populations:
Existential Therapy has been critiqued for its cultural specificity, primarily because it has its roots in Western philosophy and individualistic values. However, many of the concepts and techniques in Existential Therapy can be adapted to be more inclusive and culturally sensitive. Therapists can take into account clients’ cultural backgrounds, incorporate their unique value systems, and consider the impact of systemic oppression on clients’ existential struggles.
Psychoanalytic Therapy has historically focused on individual pathology and maintaining neutrality, which can present challenges when working with culturally and disability diverse populations. However, contemporary psychoanalytic theorists and practitioners have made efforts to address these limitations. By adopting a more relational and culturally sensitive stance, therapists can actively engage with clients’ diverse identities and experiences, acknowledging the impact of cultural and social factors on their psychological well-being.
In conclusion, Existential Therapy and Psychoanalytic Therapy are distinct approaches that differ in their philosophical underpinnings, key concepts and tenets, strategies and techniques, and goals. Both approaches offer unique perspectives on understanding human behavior and providing therapeutic interventions. However, it is essential to consider the appropriateness of each approach when working with culturally and disability diverse populations. By utilizing an inclusive and culturally sensitive framework, therapists can strive to meet the unique needs and experiences of diverse individuals, promoting a more comprehensive and effective therapeutic process.