Psychoanalysis is a form of therapy that aims to help clients release repressed emotions, leading to healing. The psychoanalytic models of counseling and therapy were created by great figures in psychology, including Carl Rogers and Sigmund Freud (Eagle, 2020). The differences between these approaches are clear based on their theoretical underpinnings and their practical applications. The philosophers have a differing conceptualization of human nature regarding the needs and goals, which allowed them to adopt distinct techniques in helping individuals lead a rewarding life. This paper aims to evaluate the similarities and differences between the Rogerian and Freudian psychotherapy modules. Features, such as the client-therapist relationship and therapeutic goals, will be addressed. Furthermore, it will compare the strengths and weaknesses of each therapy.
It was developed in the 1940s by Carl Rodger. It integrated principles from the concepts of the humanistic psychological approach. This approach regards individuals as capable and autonomous and has the capability of resolving their challenges, realizing their potential, and changing their lives in a positive direction. It is one of the most popular types of humanistic approaches employed in psychotherapy and counseling. It diverged from the traditional model in which the therapist was regarded as the expert and shifted toward a non-directive, empathic approach that empowers clients (Quinn, 2015). Rogerian therapy focused on the client being in control of the therapy, which led to them better comprehending their self and self-concepts. The attention then shifted to the client’s frame of reference, amongst other conditions essential for successful therapy. As a result, it is referred to as client or person-centered therapy. Nevertheless, since it shares the principles of the humanistic tradition, it holds significant prominence in the experiential process instead of the root of client problems.
In the Rogerian theory, the client has a central role. Person-centered therapists believe that clients are trustworthy and capable; therefore, they focus on the client to make changes for themselves. As a result, it can be insinuated that the key concepts are self-actualization, conditions of worth, the fully functioning individual, and the phenomenological perspective. In regards to actualization, individuals tend to work towards self-actualization to allow them to develop wholesomely. Instead of viewing people as naturally flawed, with problematic thoughts and behaviors that need treatment, Rogerian therapy identifies that self-actualization occurs throughout the lifespan. This is because people constantly work towards intrinsic goals, including self-realization and fulfillment. On the other hand, the conditions of worth influence how the important people in their lives shape an individual’s self-concept. Conditions of worth are referred to the critical and judgmental messages from close relationships, thereby affecting individuals’ reactions in certain situations.
The Rogerian theory also focuses on the concept of a fully functioning person. This kind of individual is described as having ideal emotional health (Quinn, 2015). This comprises living with a sense of purpose, embracing openness to experience, and trusting oneself and others. This is one of the primary goals of person-centered care, which is to be fully functioning. Lastly, the concept of the phenomenological perspective implies the unique perspective of individuals on their world. This is because people’s experiences affect how they perceive the world. This therapy is centered on adjusting treatment based on a person’s experiences.
The Freudian approach is used when clients are conflicted with the three personality types. Sigmund Freud began developing therapeutic techniques in the 1800s. In 1885, he partnered with Jean-Martin Charcot, who used hypnosis to treat hysteria in women (Sibi, 2020). He later began working with Josef Breuer on hypnotic treatment, which led to the development of the popular Freudian therapy.
The Freudian approach is centered on the pioneer’s medical background, psychiatry. Freud focuses on three competitive, autonomous, and interdependent divisions of personality, the id, ego, and superego (Sibi, 2020). Potential conflicts between these personality structures could result in end psychic conflicts that create conflict. The ego, superego, and sexual urges originate from the id. The ego mediates the conflict between the id and superego, hence, acting as the “executive branch”. The superego, the judicial branch, inhibits the impulses of the id and alters the ego from reality to learned moral values. Furthermore, Freudians believed that development began in childhood and occurred in five stages, oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital. These affected the family dynamics and clients’ relations to the cultural and social context.
Comparison of the Psychoanalytic Therapies
In the Rogerian theory, central to the therapeutic relationship aims to help clients more rather than behave like a scientist with specialized knowledge. The client-therapist relationship is primarily based on the client-centered therapist communicating the six conditions of successful client-centered therapy. These comprise empathy, congruence, unconditional positive regard (UPR), psychological contract, the client’s perception of the therapist, and client incongruence (Quinn, 2015). The initial role of the therapist is to assist the client through communicating UPR via an empathetic, non-judgmental, and genuine lens. If this is executed successfully, the client becomes involved and starts talking. As the client communicates, the therapist must respond and showcase interest and understanding. This results in gaining insight into their situation, leading to self-exploration and self-actualization. Finally, a conglomeration of the information gained from the self-exploration helps determine the aspects that require immediacy. This provides a framework through which mitigative actions can resolve the issues. Consequentially, the therapeutic changes will begin to envision.
Conversely, therapists embracing the Freudian theory are alert to transference manifestations and are concerned with the unconscious. Furthermore, clients in such kind of therapy commit to adhere to the relatively intensive therapeutic process (Sibi, 2020). They consent to talk because their verbal messages are at the center of the therapy. The clients are also aware that they can terminate their sessions when both parties agree to resolve the conflicts and symptoms mutually. This is after accepting their problems and having a proper comprehension of the root of their problems.
In client-centered therapy, emphasis is placed on the individual and not the issue. Rogerian therapy has several goals, with the first one being to help the client attain greater autonomy helping them better manage current and future problems. Secondly, the treatment aims to instigate the client’s ability and trust to be present at the moment. This enables the client to be honest in the process without feeling judged by the therapist. Thirdly, it objectifies empowering the client to change. Fourth, it promotes congruence in the client’s feelings and behavior. Finally, it aims to help clients gain the capability of managing their lives and becoming self-actualized.
On the other hand, the therapeutic goal of Freudian Psychoanalysis has a clear comprehension of the three levels of awareness and mindset, which are conscious, preconscious, and unconscious (Sibi, 2020). The conscious mind revolves around everything that the client is aware of, everything going on around them, and their rationality. The preconscious reflects the memory. Lastly, the unconscious influences how people respond to situations. The second goal of Freudian therapy is to understand the other three spheres of personality, the id, ego, and superego. Creating a balance among the three is essential for the smooth transition to the conscious. As a result, this helps the client develop self-understanding, which is the ultimate goal.
Strengths and Weaknesses
|Several aspects apply to a multicultural perspective (Lenhardt, 2017).||It is not recommended for individuals who are not willing to change.|
|It has provided the foundation for several other emergent therapies, with regards to emphasis on the client-therapist relationship.||It does not draw on psychodynamic or developmental therapy, hence limiting the general understanding of the clients.|
|Results from previous therapies illustrate that clients have had a positive experience and it has helped them solve their problems||It might not be effective on clients with significant psychopathology.|
|Clients feel empowered at the treatment is centered on them.||The therapy results in therapists providing support to the clients without challenging them.|
|It has been inculcated into the practice of psychodynamic therapists as the concepts are borne out of everyday life.||It has explanatory power but lacks scientific and empirical data to support the theory (Sibi, 2020).|
|It provides a comprehensive framework of the human personality.||The therapy is dependent on the therapist’s subjective interpretation.|
|Various concepts in this theory are supported by some of the recent research findings from cognitive psychologists.||Freud utilized a biased sample. Participants in the study were aged between 20-44 years, all of whom had serious emotional issues (Sibi, 2020).|
|Determinist. It attributes abnormal childhood behavior to childhood trauma and ignores the effect of biology and behaviorism.|
The person-centered approach applies a humanistic approach to therapy. It is a non-directive, optimistic therapy that aims to enable the client to gain self-awareness and self-actualization by empowering them to change. On the other hand, the Freudian theory is deterministic and more power is given to the therapist. Furthermore, it holds several weaknesses, with the greatest being the lack of scientific data to back up the approach. Therefore, this insinuates that the Rogerian outweighs the Freudian theory in helping clients achieve self-realization and release their repressed feelings.
Eagle, M.N. (2020). Toward an integrated psychoanalytic theory: Foundation in a revitalized ego psychology. Clinical Social Work Journal, 48, 257-266. Web.
Lenhardt V. (2017). My 10 Strategies for Integrative Coaching. Palgrave Macmillan. Web.
Quinn, A. (2015). A Person-Centered Approach and the Rogerian Tradition. Web.
Sibi, K. (2020). Sigmund Freud and psychoanalytic theory. An International Peer-Reviewed Open Access Journal, 16, 75-79. Web.