Crisis Intervention: Theory and Methodology

By Donna C. Aguilera | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
Differentiation
Among
Psychotherapeutic
Techniques

...If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

—Emily Dickinson

Psychotherapy as a form of treatment has had many definitions, some conflicting and others concurring. Areas of divergence are generally those of methodology, therapeutic goals, length of therapy, and indications for treatment. There is general agreement, however, that psychotherapy is a set of procedures for changing behaviors based primarily on the establishment of a relationship between two (or more) people.


Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

The original theories of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, passed through several phases as he subjected changing hypotheses to the tests of experience and observation, all directed toward the goal of making the unconscious available to the conscious.

In collaboration with Breuer, Freud first developed the psychotherapeutic technique of "cathartic hypnosis." Recognizing that ego control of the unconscious was released under the influence of hypnosis, Freud used hypnotism to induce the patient to answer direct questions in an effort to uncover the unconscious causes of the symptomatology and to allow free expression of pent-up feelings.

Freud observed, however, that to obtain therapeutic results, the procedure had to be repeated. He recognized that material brought to consciousness during hypnosis returned to the unconscious as the awakening patient regained control over his emotions. The therapeutic task of making the conscious patient recall and face repressed emotions to gain insight and increased ego strength was only transiently achieved by this technique.

Freud then experimented with what he referred to as "waking suggestion." Laying his hand on the patient's forehead, he would strongly suggest that the patient could recall the past if he tried. Freud soon learned that a person could not be forced to recall

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