Psychology in Action

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  C ritical T hinking Critical Thinking Exercise 15.1 - Synthesizing: Commonalities of Different Psychotherapies When students are introduced to the various forms of psychotherapy, they often fail to fully appreciate the mutual values and complementary interests of each of the major therapies. Their inability to see the interrelationships may be a reflection of their need for improvement in the critical thinking skill known Instructor's Resource Guide                               Chapter 15                                         Page  221
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as synthesizing. The following exercise will provide an opportunity for practice with this skill, while also helping students to master the major principles underlying the various therapeutic approaches. Time : Approximately 30 minutes. Advance preparation : Make five large posters with the following words in large letters: PSYCHOANALYTIC, BEHAVIORISTIC, HUMANISTIC, COGNITIVE, BIOLOGICAL. Post the signs at five locations on the classroom walls. Instructions : Assign the reading of Chapter 15 and on the day of this demonstration briefly review the five major approaches to psychotherapy--psychoanalytic, behavioristic, humanistic, cognitive, and biological. Ask students to stand up and go to the center of the room. When they are gathered in the middle, read the first of the following "case histories." Then ask them to move and stand beneath the sign that they feel would be the best type of therapy for this particular problem. Once they are grouped under the various signs, call on specific individuals to explain their choice. Encourage students to move and stand under a different sign if they hear arguments or explanations from their colleagues that make them reconsider their initial decision. Spend about 5-7 minutes on the first case history and then have them return to the center of the room. Repeat the same "read, move, and discuss" procedure with the second, third, and fourth case histories. At the end of the class period, ask students to return to their chairs and briefly discuss their reactions to the exercise. Students often report increased understanding of the various therapies and a greater appreciation for the similarities. CASE HISTORIES Joe is 18 years of age and is deeply concerned over the thought that he might be schizophrenic. Both his parents were schizophrenic, and his college friends have complained about his extreme sensitivity to criticism and his paranoia. Ann is 42 years of age and is very depressed. She has planned all her life to have a large family, yet the men she dates never seem to be the right type for marriage or proper "father material." Tim is 35 and dissatisfied with his work situation. His co-workers seem to avoid him and have complained to his superiors about his abusive personality. Tim believes these people are just weak individuals who envy his strength and greater intelligence.
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