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Other psychodynamic therapists particularly object

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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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