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Chapter: Psychology: Treatment of Mental Disorders

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Psychological Treatments

Psychological treatments involve systematic efforts to change a patient’s thinking and behavior, usually by means of some form of discussion, instruction, or training.

PSYCHOLOGICAL TRETMENTS

 

Psychological treatments involve systematic efforts to change a patient’s thinking and behavior, usually by means of some form of discussion, instruction, or training. In the minds of many people, psychotherapy involves a patient lying on a couch, talking about his distant childhood, and a therapist quietly drawing conclusions about unconscious


fears or desires (Figure 17.2). This image fails to do justice to the fact that psychother-apy comes in over 500 forms (Eisner, 2000). Indeed, the form of therapy implied by this common image is actually quite rare.

 

Some forms of psychotherapy are based on psychoanalysis; these are the closest to the popular image of therapy, emphasizing unconscious conflicts and encouraging introspection and insight. Other modes of therapy grow out of the humanistic tradi-tion and focus on questions of growth and realizing one’s potential. Still others rely on behavioral findings from human and nonhuman experimentation; these seek to iden-tify maladaptive responses and then teach new responses. Others take a cognitive approach, focusing on the disabling role of faulty thinking while teaching more rational thought. In what follows, we will discuss some of the more common modes of psy-chotherapy that have grown out of each of these various approaches.

 

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