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Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) versus Psychodynamic therapy (PT)

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Goal Specific – CBT is particularly good for specific goals and it works more effectively with clients who can appreciate more directive as well as self-investigative style of the therapy, particularly outside of the session. Assignments are an important part of CBT and clients are encouraged throughout the therapy to challenge their thoughts, behaviours and emotions in order to gain more effective outlook regarding the objective of the therapy. The general and specific responsibilities connected to the client’s beliefs are also discussed in the first stage of the therapy.
Client Adaptation – I have learnt from my own private practice that some people find CBT techniques helpful, others dislike it, feeling they are being talked out of their emotions. Some find that CBT’s focus on rational thinking feels too inhuman to them, minimizing the importance of their personal history.
Some PT, but also CBT clients find it difficult to accept that factors outside of their awareness influence their thoughts and behaviours. Others are reluctant to think about their childhood or the relationship that develops with their therapist. PT is less structured than CBT and some prefer the more focused and directive approach of CBT therapies.
One powerful aspect of PT is that a client’s (unconscious) conflicts that are causing problems in their everyday life and relationships emerge in the therapy relationship itself.
Treatment of Specific Conditions – PT is particularly good for dealing with general distress, psychosomatic conditions, and personality patterns or tendencies, such as repeated difficulties in one’s work or relationships.
Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) as a form of CBT therapy which is taking into consideration a client’s healthy and unhealthy emotions and the focus is not so much on a more positive way of thinking, rather a more rational/flexible outlook, which in turn will lead to healthier emotions.
Personally, I prefer the model of Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy, as I appreciate the benefits of a more structured therapy session, which focuses on the present rather than the past.
Many of my clients can also identify with the philosophical context of the therapy, which clarifies the roles and importance of personal responsibility, fallibility and self-interest. I also believe that the preparation of the client for the worst, but hoping for the best is a very important motto which most people can relate to once they achieve more rational outlook on life throughout the therapy. This philosophy underpins the whole REBT School of Psychology. That being said, I also recognise that an effective relationship between the therapist and client is the stepping stone to self-discovery and re-learning, therefore the rapport building is a very important process. That said, I appreciate the theory of transference and contra-transference derived from the psychodynamic school of therapy, as well as the inevitable impact our history has on our current mental state.

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