CHAPTER 17 (SUMMARY): THERAPY
derive from the psychoanalytic, humanistic, behavioral, and cognitive
perspectives. Half of all therapists take an eclectic approach, using a blend of therapies.
Psychoanalysts use free association and the interpretation of dreams, resistances, and
transference to help their patients gain insight into the unconscious origins of their disorders and
to work through the accompanying feelings.
Humanistic therapy focuses on clients’ conscious feelings and on their taking responsibility
for their own growth. Client-centered therapists use active listening to express genuineness,
acceptance, and empathy.
Behavior therapists emphasize the direct modification of problem behaviors. They use
exposure therapies such as systematic desensitization and aversive conditioning, and they may
also apply operant conditioning principles with techniques such as token economies.
Cognitive therapies aim to change self-defeating thinking by training people to view
themselves in new, more positive ways.
Except for traditional psychoanalysis, these various types of therapies may also occur in
therapist-led small groups. One special type of group therapy, family therapy, assumes that no
person is an island.
Research on the effectiveness of therapy indicates that people who receive therapy are
more likely to improve than the untreated. However, the friendly counsel of paraprofessionals
also tends to produce more improvement than occurs with untreated people.
Administration of antipsychotic, antianxiety, and antidepressant drugs constitutes the most
widely used biomedical therapy. Electroconvulsive therapy, although controversial, continues to
be an effective treatment for many severely depressed people who do not respond to drug
therapy. Psychosurgery is rarely used to alleviate specific problems largely because the effects
are irreversible and potentially drastic.
Preventive mental health experts aim to change oppressive, esteem-destroying
environments into more benevolent, nurturing environments that foster individual growth and
The Psychological Therapies
Psychotherapy is a “planned, emotionally charged, confiding interaction between a trained,
socially sanctioned healer and a sufferer.” Half of psychotherapists take an
which is a blend of therapies. Closely related to eclecticism is psychotherapy integration, which
combines the therapies into a single, coherent system.
Videos: Ordinary People and Psychotherapy; Approaches to Therapy
Aims and methods of psychoanalysis; Concerns with this form of therapy; How psychodynamic therapists
The goal of psychoanalysis is to help people gain insight into the unconscious origins of their
disorders and to work through the accompanying feelings. To do so, analysts draw on
techniques such as free association and the
of dreams, resistances, and the