Psychoanalysis is the basis of many of the therapies that are used by mental health counselors today. As a form of talk therapy, psychoanalysis consists of a patient discussing their thoughts and feelings. A counselor or therapist uses this information to analyze and identify patterns that might suggest hidden or subconscious meanings that contribute to a patient’s problem.
Psychoanalysis focuses on emotions and the conflict that is going on within a patient. If they can recognize those emotions and conflicts, they can work on tracing down their roots and therefore eliminate them.
Mental health counselors also use cognitive and behavioral theories to formulate therapeutic procedures for their patients. Cognitive behavioral theories (CBTs) assume that our thoughts, behaviors, emotions, and even bodily sensations are connected and therefore influence how we act.
Today’s mental health counselors have to understand these theories because they are relevant to their everyday work. Students are taught in university courses, and by the time learners graduate, newly qualified mental health counselors are expected to know why theories are relevant and how they shape the treatments used when working with patients.
What are the benefits of CBT and psychoanalysis for patients?
Both of these theories help patients explore their past and how it might be influencing their current behavior. For example, in the case of depression, both psychoanalysis and CBT can help trace the root cause of a patient’s illness; if a patient can understand why they feel the way they do, they can then work on changing their thoughts and behaviors to alleviate their depression.
The other benefit of these therapies is that in many cases, they eliminate overreliance on medication. Rather than patients taking pills to get temporary relief, they can use CBT and psychoanalysis to find long-term solutions.
You may be wondering how effective these therapies are. There are many studies that have shown that these therapies are effective in treating a range of mental health conditions. However, it must be noted that they aren’t always effective, especially in those who suffer from severe mental illness or inherited mental conditions. Both CBT and psychoanalysis can be used in conjunction with other more conventional therapies to treat severe cases.
How does psychoanalysis influence modern counseling techniques?
According to the American Psychoanalytic Association, psychoanalysis is a process through which people can explore their feelings. Psychoanalysis helps us explore the past and how it affects our present behavior and feelings. By tracing the roots of negative thoughts, we can shape the present and the future and let go of self-destroying habits.
Psychoanalysis is based on several sub-theories. The first is that behavior is influenced by one’s subconscious drives and desires. This leads to the theory that many mental health problems are often the result of a conflict between the conscious and unconscious mind. Psychoanalysis also believes that human personality is heavily influenced by occurrences in early childhood, and that many defense mechanisms are a way for people to protect themselves from their subconscious.
A trained mental health counselor helps patients access their subconscious so that they can deal with whatever feelings and conflicts are buried there. When they welcome a new patient, they talk to them about their problem and then formulate a treatment plan that is aimed at helping the patient access whatever hidden emotions or problems may be holding them back.
A treatment plan usually includes the following strategies:
- Learning to recognize distorted thoughts that are causing problems and either eliminate or correct them.
- Getting better at understanding others’ behaviors and how they influence the patient.
- Using different problem-solving techniques to cope with tough situations.
- Developing a sense of confidence in themselves and avoiding thoughts that undermine their well-being.
Cognitive behavioral theories
Cognitive behavioral theory is used to treat a range of mental health disorders.
It helps alleviate depression and anxiety, alcohol and drug addiction, eating disorders, and relationship problems, and in some cases, it can be used to help those with severe mental illness.
How can mental health counselors explore psychoanalysis and CBT?
The best way to learn about these theories is to enroll in a course. A mental health counselor online degree, for example, is an excellent introduction to the field, offering several levels of education, delivered in a flexible online setting. A course such as the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the American International College looks at the major theories and principles that guide mental health counseling. The course examines how psychoanalysis and cognitive behavioral theories influence today’s counseling practices. All course material is online and tailored to working professionals, so you can become an online student and learn when it suits you.
Mental health counselors can also learn about CBT and psychoanalysis by attending weekend seminars, short courses, and conferences. These usually bring together industry experts, where counselors can exchange ideas, debate different treatments and their effects, and find new ways to help their patients.
Some mental health counselors learn by shadowing others who are more experienced. After completing a degree, some students are employed to assist older, more experienced mental health counselors, and this is a great opportunity to see how CBT and psychoanalysis work in practice. Learning in a clinical setting with real patients is an excellent way to learn.
After students complete their training, they need to keep up with new developments in the field. They must be continually engaged with their peers to exchange new ideas and get an understanding of how best to use these therapies. Likewise, mental health counselors need to develop lasting relationships with their patients so that they can monitor their progress over the years.
Many therapies are used to treat mental health disorders, but cognitive behavioral therapy and psychoanalysis have stood the test of time. Both therapies help patients understand their past and how it influences their current behavior, ensuring patients are treated correctly to improve any mental health problem they suffer from. It is essential that mental health counselors have a good understanding of how these theories work and how they can be implemented in a clinical setting.