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Unformatted text preview: nterpretations
of transference, resistance, and dreams. Freudian psychodynamic therapists use these methods to
help clients with generalized anxiety disorder become less afraid of their id impulses and
more successful in controlling them. Other psychodynamic therapists, particularly object
relations therapists, use them to help anxious patients identify and settle the childhood relationship problems that continue to produce anxiety in adulthood (Lucas, 2006).
Controlled studies have typically found psychodynamic treatments to be of only
modest help to persons with generalized anxiety disorder (Goisman et al., 1999). An
exception to this trend is short-term psychodynamic therapy (see Chapter 2), which has
in some cases significantly reduced the levels of anxiety, worry, and social difficulty of
patients with this disorder (Crits-Christoph et al., 2004). The Humanistic Perspective
Humanistic theorists propose that generalized anxiety disorder, like other psychological disorders, arises when people stop looking at themselves honestly and acceptingly.
Repeated denials of their true thoughts, emotions, and behavior make these people
extremely anxious and unable to fulfill their potential as human beings.
The humanistic view of why people develop this disorder is best illustrated by Carl
Rogers’s explanation. As you saw in Chapter 2, Rogers believed that children who fail
to receive unconditional positive regard from others may become overly critical of themselves and develop harsh self-standards, what Rogers called conditions of worth. They try
to meet these standards by repeatedly distorting and denying their true thoughts and
experiences. Despite such efforts, however, threatening self-judgments keep breaking
through and causing them intense anxiety. This onslaught of anxiety sets the stage for
generalized anxiety disorder or some other form of psychological dysfunctioning.
Practitioners of Rogers’s treatment approach, client-centered therapy, try to
show unconditional positive regard for their clients and to empathize with them. The
therapists hope that an atmosphere of genuine acceptance and caring will help clients
feel secure enough to recognize their true needs, thoughts, and emotions. When clients
eventually are honest and comfortable with themselves, their anxiety or other symptoms
will subside. In the following excerpt, Rogers describes the progress made by a client
with anxiety and related symptoms: “Dear Mom and Dad: Thanks for the
happy childhood.You’ve destroyed any
chance I had of becoming a writer.” Therapy was an experiencing of herself, in all its aspects, in a safe relationship . . . the experiencing of self as having a capacity for wholeness . . . a self that cared about others.
This last followed . . . the realization that the therapist cared, that it really mattered to
him how therapy turned out for her, that he really valued her. . . . She gradually became
aware of the fact that . . . there was nothing fundamentally bad, but rather, at heart she
was positive and sound.
(Rogers, 1954, pp. 261–264) In spite of such optimistic case reports, controlled studies have failed to offe...
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