Therapists have several approaches at their disposal when trying to solve problems affecting their clients. Any approach may be applied to a case and this is purely at the discretion of the therapist. In this paper, I will employ: psychoanalytic, behavioral, cognitive and humanistic approaches to Darren’s case. To achieve this, I will use each of the above four approaches to propose the causes of Darren’s symptoms and suggest specific techniques to help him and ultimately chose the best approach.
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If I was a psychoanalytic therapist, I would certainly say that, Darren’s symptoms are as a result of repressed feelings, thoughts and motives rooted in the past. An individual’s personality is composed of the id, ego, and the superego, In Darren’s case; his Id and superego are in conflict because his id was seeking pleasure by just relaxing and not putting more effort to studies and constantly casting blame. His ego on the other hand wanted him to work hard and pass exams. This conflict then led the superego to intervene in a punitive manner by compelling him to stop attending classes. Our unconscious minds directly influence our behavior and actions (Goldenberg & Goldenberg). The technique that I will use to help him is free association. This technique will enable Darren to freely associate with me and speak out what is on his minds. The advantage of this technique is that, it allows Darren to get access to his unconscious conflict which then leads to an insight and the ultimate assimilation of the new material by the ego (Miller, 2004).
Taking the position of a behavioral therapist, I will suggest that, Darren’s actions are caused by environmental influences. Through this approach, I will study Darren’s behavior experimentally without considering his mental state. I will therefore be able to explain his behavior through observation in the present and find a way to modify it. I will employ behavior modification as a technique to help him (Reynolds & Janzen, 2007). This technique uses Skinner’s operant conditioning principle which provides for clearly specified consequences either positive or negative for certain actions. This technique sets to give rewards and privileges for desirable behavior and withdrawal of the privileges for undesirable behavior. I will therefore agree with Darren on the rewards and privileges that will be extended to him if he works hard in class and produces good grades and agree on the withdrawal of the positive reinforcement if he performed poorly. This will work well because there is a predictable pattern between the stimulus and the response in our minds (Miller, 2004).
Putting on the shoe of a cognitive therapist, I will say that, Darren’s behavior is caused by dysfunctional thinking behavior and emotional responses. Darren will therefore need to develop skills to modify his beliefs, identify his distorted thinking, how he relates to others especially his professors, and ultimately change his behavior. This approach concentrates on how we think and emphasizes that, such thoughts directly affect the way we behave. I will engage Darren in Socratic dialogue, debating with him his irrational stand as the core technique to help him. Darren believes that, his professors hate him and that; because of his poor performance his parents will stop loving him. I will therefore, challenges Darren to confront this faulty belief with the contradictory evidence that he has gathered and evaluated. I will help him seek his dogmatic beliefs and put them to a minimum if not eradicate. This process will make him be aware of the automatic thoughts and therefore change those (Lenzenweger & Clarkin, 2004).
As a humanistic therapist, I will put forth the suggestion that, Darren’s symptoms are as a result of on going determining forces both in his unconscious and in the world around him. These two forces directly influence the mind. I will therefore focus on Darren’s substantial capacity to be self determining. Through this approach to therapy, I will dwell on the present occurrences and therefore provide an open testing environment through which Darren can discover and nurture his true self. The technique that I will use to help him is; client – centered therapy. Going back to Carl Rodgers he believed that, all humans strive for growth and fulfillment. He further asserts that, psychologically problems arise when one’s drive for growth and fulfillment are blocked by oneself or others. I can say that, Darren is infringing his own growth and fulfillment. I will also be able me evaluate the conditional love that is extended to Darren by his parents. It seems to me that he will only be loved if he performs well in school and this is contributing to his psychological problems (Lori et al., 2005).
The best approach to explain Darren’s problems would be the humanistic approach. This is because; this it puts in to consideration all the core issues that need to be addressed. The best course of therapy for Darren is client center therapy. This form of therapy fits well to this case since it will give Darren the empathy, unconditional positive regard and above all an open and trustworthy environment that can enable him reflect on who he is and therefore develop his true self.
Goldenberg H, Goldenberg I. (2004). Family Therapy: An Overview 7th ed. Pacific Groove, CA; Brooks/Cole.
Lenzenweger, M., Clarkin, F., (2004). Major Theories of Personality Disorder. Guildford: Guildford Press.
Lori A. Harris, Fred N. Grayson, Kevin T. Ball, American BookWorks Corporation, Deborah Grayson Riegel, Lisa S. Taubenblat. (2005). CliffsAP Psychology. New York: Wiley and Sons.
Miller, G., (2004) Learning the Language of Addiction Counseling. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Reynolds, C., Janzen, E., (2007). Encyclopedia of Special Education. New York: John Wiley and Sons.