Four Major Approaches to Clinical Psychology

Essay by Shawn1969 February 2010

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There are many approaches to clinical psychology; the four major approaches are in psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, and family systems. Using the four major approaches contributes to the effectiveness in treatment by identifying the goals of each approach. The paper will break down the approaches, goals, techniques, and the overall approaches used.

Philosophical Origins of Clinical Psychology ApproachesAs Thomas Plante (2005) cleverly suggested, clinical psychology is both a science and an art. Scientific research and inquiry helps establish appropriate and effective therapies just as clinical experience allows for improvement in design and implementation (Plante, 2005). One of the primary aspects of clinical psychology is that it encompasses a myriad of treatment approaches and activities. Since clinical psychology has evolved to a standard that understands the importance of individualized and holistic treatment, it is interesting to examine the philosophical origins of each approach. Philosophy has been defined as the relative analysis and interpretation of values and standards, which is also psychological territory (Heath, 2003), though philosophy and psychology parted ways in the nineteenth century to make way for more logical and mathematical approaches.

The origin and influence of philosophy on psychological methods is still detectable through observing the psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, and family system approaches to clinical psychology.

The psychodynamic approach was influenced strongly by psychological epitomes like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. For instance, Carl Jung concentrated on spiritual influences and the collective unconscious, which both offer ties to philosophical origins. Another correlation of philosophy utilized in the psychodynamic approach is the analysis of dreams, transference, and insightful resistance to understand human motives, drives, and other unconscious energies (Plante, 2005). The next method is the cognitive behavioral approach, which is founded on educational and experimental directives. The cognitive behavioral approach is a more systematic method compared with philosophical tactics of times...