Psychoanalytical, Adlerian, and Existential approaches to counseling

Psychoanalytical, Adlerian, and Existential approaches to counseling

Psychoanalytical, Adlerian, and Existential approaches to counseling have fundamental differences and similarities. Corey, 2017 provides the application of all these methods through videos. He engages in an interview with Stan and demonstrates how the therapy approaches can be insightful. With the psychoanalytical approach, Dr. Corey explores deep feelings by allowing us to understand what is suppressed in mind. This theory is based on the principle of attachment, resistance, and transference. A therapist can also conduct a transference, dream, as well as a word association analysis in the counseling process. Whereas Dr. Corey uses word association, Stan demonstrates transference feelings in their discussions.

The application of the Adlerian approach makes the client familiarize himself with the social context. This process helps the therapist and the client to develop a collaborative relationship throughout the session. The therapy has four main stages namely engagement, assessment, insight, insight and reorientation. All are meant to help the client reflect his/her life with the ability to adopt changes for a positive difference. Also, the therapy is always short term and goal oriented. However, it alludes to the feelings of discouraging, lack of the sense of belonging, as well as inferiority. These feelings may result in neurotic behaviors that may affect the therapy process. Dr. Corey motivates Stan by providing him an assignment. This approach brings Stan to terms with many memories even though he is being discouraged from interpreting them.

The existential approach looks on a client’s factors and characteristics such as self-determination and the free will. Also, it emphasizes the ability of a client to come up with rational decisions with the aim of maximizing the results. This approach borrows a lot from other theories such as being resilient on the past and flexibility in dealing with favorable situations. During the video, Dr.  Corey assesses Stan by the use of an existential approach. This helps him to focus on his present and future conditions. By avoiding the past, Stan is oriented with realities such as death, mortality as well as individual responsibility.

From the analysis of the three theories, there are some similarities that are evident. All of them are meant to help improve client conditions. Also, the results in each video are reliant on the relationship between the therapist and the client. The existential approach borrows a lot from the others but pays less attention to symptoms. However, there is a difference in focus for each of the videos. While the psychoanalytical approach looks at the memories that harm the client, the Adlerian theory focuses on the present and future.

  1. Stan and Corey focus on some issues in the psychoanalytical sessions. Stan censors much of his answers draws past interactions, and also makes an emphasis on his family. The session begun with Corey asking Stan of his censoring behavior at around the third minute. From the 5th minutes and 10 seconds, Corey engages Stan in drawing his relationships with the family. However, Stan seems worried from 5.50 that Corey was thinking different of him. Although Stan becomes careful in their discussion, Corey brings a word association from the 7th minute. At the 11th minute and 15 seconds, Corey tells Stan to see more if he was afraid.

In the Adlerian session, the two focuses on Stan’s memory assignment. Stan is expected to report his recollection process and how the memories affected his present life. At 5.54, Corey asks Sta n to share his childhood memories. At exactly the 9th minute, Core tells Stan that some of his past memories could be affecting his current status. In this regard, Dr. Corey asks Stan that he should be willing to be in terms with some of his imperfections, at 1520. This makes Stan to be a bit critical of himself.

The existential video also shows discussions on the issues of death, self-worth and acceptance. At 1.29, Corey introduces Stan to their previous discussion. Stan elaborates the suffering of his father and the past conditions. This enables Corey to seek clarity on Stan’s overall feelings and perceptions. He tells Stan that he ought to have been in school and not for his father. Corey further encourages Stan to be determined with his career goals.

  1. In the Adlerian vide Corey offers orientation to Stan drawing a reflection to his experiences. The existential video uses observation and a question session. Also, the psychoanalytical video approach used direct and open questions to engage Stan. Excitingly, the existential approach borrows much from the others.
  2. The use of word association in the psychoanalytic approach was not effective. Stan was unable to censor himself. In the Adlerian session, everything was successful while in the existential video, all techniques were also very successful.
  3. Personally, I am working as a case manager in an internship program. Thus, I have never taken the role of a therapist. In my practice, I deal with different populations, both old and young. I always would wish to utilize the Adlerian approach which helps me to explore several issues. At home and when dealing with friends, I apply the psychoanalytic approach. However, I have never used the existentialism approach so far in my practice.
  4. Each population requires a particular theory. For instance, the Adlerian fits all people while psychoanalytic works best for kids. Also, victims of domestic violence may find the Adlerian technique fit. Older clients suitably work with the existential technique which helps them to focus with the present and future.
  5. If I were counseling Stan, I would have been interested in analyzing his dreams in the first video. For the second video, my interest would be on family constellate and past life. In the existential approach, I would have focused more on freedom and responsibilities.
  6. In my opinion, I am attracted to the existential approach. It incorporates a lot of aspects from the other theories and helps the counselling process to be effective.


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