Human behaviors and their responses to situations around them have been and still is a subject of study and discussion for many centuries. Many sociologists and medical researchers have undertaken studies to examine the way people’s characters and behaviors develop. Among the common topics of discussion on human behavior is the effect that childhood development has on adult life in terms of behavior and character of people. There are theories that have been developed to analyze these behaviors in the society. This essay with compare how two theories, Cognitive Behavioral Theory and Classical Freudian Theory, in regard to their use by therapists in handling psychological issues that determines people’s behavior. A case study of a 25-year old African American male, referred to as D., will be used to provide examples that are necessary to provide more insight on the approach used by the two theories.
Therapists’ perspective view of the client and client’s problem
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The two theories that have been mentioned above have different ways of approach that they employ in their endeavor to explain the behavior of human beings in the society. To begin with, Classical Freudian Theory approaches the problems that are depicted in people’s lives by examining how they perceive other people around them. According to Dweck (2000), people have desires for pleasure in them that drives them to seek for it while at the same time strongly avoiding pain in their lives (p.136). Therefore, when this theory is used by therapists, they view their clients as people who are after pleasure in the lives and nothing else. On the other hand, therapists will analyze their clients on the basis of the pleasure that is denied to these clients because of the problems that they have in their lives. As a result of this, therapists have found such kind of clients to be unable to socialize well with other people in the society because of their demands that are laid out in their lives. For example, in the Case Study of the African American, D., he was found out to be unable to keep relationships because of the heavy demands that he laid on the people he interacted with. Such demands on other people meant that he wanted more for himself as this would give a certain form of pleasure. However, since many people could not satisfy this pleasure, the only thing that they could do was to walk out of the relationship.
On the contrary, Cognitive Behavioral Theory approaches behavioral issues in human beings by seeking to transform their thinking processes, which are often inclined towards negative perception, to a positive thinking that enables them to cope with others in the society. According to Hepworth, Rooney, Rooney, Strom-Gottfried & Larsen (2009), Cognitive Behavior Theory has an assumption that people usually have formed theories that define reality in their lives (p.391). However, these theories may not necessarily be correct, and therefore result in conflicts between the person who has these assumptions and other people around him. In this regard, therapists who approach their clients with this theory view them as the source of their own problems. Similarly, these therapists believe that these problems can be solved if their clients are willing to shift their thinking position, from a negative one to a positive one. There is also the use of Socratic Dialogue whereby the client is allowed to participate in searching for solutions to his own problems. For example, D. the African American male in the case study was found to possess a negative feeling about his life. He thought that he was wasting away his own life, something that affected the way he related with his self and other people around him. As a result, when he visits the university counseling center, he is allowed to talk about his life and situations in his life as a way of identifying the underlying problems that caused him to be depressed.
How are the goals of treatment similar or different in these approaches?
Despite the differences in the approach of these theories in defining behavioral problems that are revealed in the society, there are several similarities in terms of approach when treating these problems. First, the therapists in Classical Freudian Theory approaches the problems that are presented to them by their clients by looking at pain as one of the issue that one needs to avoid in his life. Therefore, a therapist who uses this theory works on helping their clients to understand that not everything that they don’t derive pleasure from is bad. On the contrary, there are pleasures that have to be foregone for one to be able to relate well in the society. As a result, their treatment is based on changing the perceptions that are held by their patients. For example, in describing his athletic career, the male African American in the case study reiterated his ability to control his life and everything around. Thus, a therapist that uses Classical Freudian Theory to help solve the problem of his clients such as that of the male African American in the case study has to rely on changing the thought processes of his clients. In this case, since the African American man derives pleasure in his talent as an athlete, he is in control of his life every moment involves himself in athletic activities. Therefore, he has to be made to understand that he can also be also control of his social life if he had positive thoughts towards it as those he had toward his athletic prowess (Dweck, 2000).
In the same way, Cognitive Behavioral Theory work under the principle of thought transformation, from negative thinking to positive thinking. The African American in the case study has to be made to understand that he should not feel isolated because he felt different from his friends. In this regard therefore, the therapist that employs Cognitive Behavioral Theory has to work into bringing such a client as male African American to an understanding that despite his feeling that he was unique or peculiar from his friends, this is the way life is meant to be since no human being is completely similar to the other (Hepworth, Rooney, Rooney, Strom-Gottfried & Larsen, 2009).
On the basis of the above arguments, it can be argued that both Cognitive Behavioral Theory and Classical Freudian Theory therapists approaches the problems of their clients by using the model for changing of their thoughts and perspectives towards their lives and those of the people in the society around them. Therefore, they employ mental change mechanisms that direct the clients’ mind from harboring negative thought to keeping positive thoughts, not only towards oneself but also other people. Accordingly, the two theories have a goal of treatment that is somehow similar to each other in the way it approaches the underlined issues.
Different in the process of therapy
There are several differences that are elicited in the process of therapy of the two theories. To begin with, the mode of defining the problems that the clients face is different in the sense that Cognitive Behavioral Theory defines the thought processes that trigger depression and anxiety in people differently from the way it has been defined by Classical Freudian theory. Cognitive Behavioral Theory suggests that distressed emotions that result from distorted thought that concerns a stimulus are the major cause of psychological distress (Hepworth, Rooney, Rooney, Strom-Gottfried & Larsen, 2009, p.391). For example, from the case study, D., the African American, is not able to cry or express the challenges he was facing in his life to another person because of the comment that his father made to him that he should show forth himself as a man by refusing to bow to the urge to express his frustration emotionally. Consequently, when D. is sent to seek for help, he tries to avoid some questions that could get to the base of his heart and reveal some information because he was not used to sharing his personal frustrations with other people in the society after he was told to shut up and be a man by his father.
On the contrary, therapists who use Classical Freudian Theory try to help the patient to have a clear focus on the object of representation in their lives. However, an emphasis is laid on those objects of representation that elicit very little pain and great pleasure for the client. Similarly, it is the work of the therapist to help such a client with ways of dealing specifically with the problems that arises because of the negative attitude that one has towards the people that he doesn’t like, or derives very little pleasure when spending time with them (Dweck, 2000). For example, from the case study of the behaviors of the African American man, the therapists has to find out ways of helping him to see other people as having the potential to release joy into his life rather than pain. For example, the African American man saw his mother as a source of joy in his life. However, therapists can be able to make such a man to understand that not everybody can be in a position to offer love that could be likened to that of his mother and therefore he should not raise his expectations to such levels. Instead, understanding people’s ability to love could go a long way in helping him to appreciate relationships with other people in his life.
Overall comment about how these approaches compare in D.’s case
Therefore, it can be said that the two theories provide an excellent approach to the way the problems that are seen in the case study of D., the African American man. First, the Classical Freudian Theory approaches the problems that emerge in this man by looking at the way he associated certain conditions in his life by the physical things in the external world. For example, when he saw his mother, though not perfect in caring for him together with his siblings, he saw a source of love in his life. Similarly, participating in athletics was a source of strength in his life that made him feel like he was able to control his own life. On the other hand, the Cognitive Behavioral Theory works by critically looking at the way this man perceived himself and his surrounding environment and works from this point to help him change his thought processes by focusing on the positive part of life rather on the negative side. Therefore, the two theories are in a position of being employed to diagnose and provide solutions to various challenges that are revealed in this person’s life.
Approach that I am most likely to consider using
However, as a therapist, it is important to have a theory that can solve completely the psychological problem that a client has in his life with ease. Accordingly, Cognitive Behavioral Theory is the most appropriate theory that can be used in this case. This is because, most of the problem that people have are results of negative perceptions that thy hold in their lives towards themselves and towards other people within their environment. On the other hand, it has a strong sense of Socratic dialogue that enables the clients to focus more on their own on the problem they are facing and from that point be able to understand their own problems and the solutions that can be offered. Therefore, when these perceptions are dealt with, the depression and anxiety problems are eliminated completely.
In regard to the above arguments as put forwards in the two theories, i.e. Cognitive Behavioral Theory and Classical Freudian Theory, it is important to understand that these theories play an important part in helping therapists and other people that have undertaken studies in human behavior to help people who are faced with depression and anxiety disorders. Therefore, these theories cannot be ignored. Instead, for any professional therapist, counselor, psychologist, etc, an understanding of these theories forms a separating line between success and failure in helping clients to solve their anxiety and depression problems.
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