Comparing Existential-Humanistic Therapy To Other Types Of Therapy

Comparing Existential-Humanistic Therapy To Other Types Of Therapy

Cognitive- Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic intervention that challenges irrational and destructive cognitive distortions. The idea is that by identifying, challenging, and restating irrational thoughts into rational ones, the individual will be able to do so quickly on his or her own.  He or she would be able to modify thoughts, which directly would modify the emotions and behaviors associated with such thoughts (Epstein and Baucom, 2002).

According to Hawley et al. 2017, positive change in one’s attitude, thoughts, and emotions results in an improvement in one’s behavior and intimately, improvement in depressive symptoms. Since CBT is a short-term psychotherapy, it is usually expected to show positive outcomes in six to twenty sessions. Often Interpersonal Psychotherapy is used with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for optimal results in symptom severity and frequency of depression (Keisler, 1996).

The existential-humanistic approach to psychotherapy reflects a dynamic middle ground between circumspection and optimism, struggle and possibility, and realism and capacity for change (Schneider, 2016). The humanistic-existential approach also emphasizes holism, self-actualization, facilitative communication, and the therapeutic relationship, all of which would benefit the patient in addiction recovery. The humanistic perspective views human nature as basically good, with the potential to maintain healthy, meaningful relationships and to make choices that are in the best interest of oneself and others. It focuses on personal responsibility and individual freedom. The humanistic-existential theory shows us that humans are complex beings with unique experiences, thoughts, and behaviors that all deserve respect. When that element is present, relationships can be built, and that creates the foundation for change.

K.C. is a 22-year-old female with a history of depression for about 2 years and has been on antidepressants the whole time. The patient has been laid off her job due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, as a result, she lost her insurance and has been unable to afford her prescription medication. The patient scored 12 on a PHQ-9 score from her initial score of 9 about 6 weeks ago with a slight weight gain. The patient is positive about her recovery and has been current on her medication prior to the event listed above. Through the help of her caseworker, she was able to get insurance and was referred to counseling sessions to aid in her recovery. CBT has been known to be one of the best therapeutic approaches for depression, PTSD and anxiety. CBT can be completed in a short amount of time. Also, CBT is highly structured enabling it to be provided in different formats, including in groups, self-help books, and computer programs. Skills learned in CBT are practical and can be incorporated in everyday life. The challenges noted in CBT include the need for commitment as an individual undergoing the therapy, it’s pretty structured that it may not be suitable for clients with complex mental health needs. CBT has also been known not to address underlying conditions leading to the present diagnosis and also failure to address wider problems in systems or families.

For purposes of this paper, Esi is a girl who has no underlying mental health condition but fell into depression after recently breaking up with her long term boyfriend during this COVID 19 pandemic. He broke up with her because he felt she gained too much weight and is no more attractive. She feels worthless and now has low self-esteem. She is not dealing with it well and was referred to psychotherapy by an associate. I believe the humanistic-existential therapy would be a useful psychotherapy approach for her. This because it is optimistic and looks at potential in people to become great and not the lack thereof. It focuses on individual behavior and is person-centered counseling. The limitation lies in the fact that people who are afraid are unable to confront their inner selves. I chose the humanistic-existential therapy because of the way it allows clients to see the potential in them and makes clients believe that no matter what it is, there is good in them and deserves respect and this is what I believed Esi needs to hear to build her self-esteem up.


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