UQx PSYC1030.3x 1.2.1 Models of psychological therapy


If your knowledge of psychological therapy
only came from TV or movies, you may think clinical psychologists sit in an armchair,
while their patients make themselves comfortable on a couch sharing the trauma of their childhood. This is a very stereotypical picture of Freudian
style psychodynamic therapy. But in fact, there are many different schools
or models of psychological therapy. However, biological, psychodynamic, behavioural,
and cognitive behavioural are arguably the four foundational models of therapy. On its own, the Biological model is somewhat
simplistic, suggesting that emotional distress is caused by biological or genetic determinants
– for instance a deficit in a particular neurotransmitter such as serotonin or dopamine. Biological and genetic influences are certainly
important in understanding mental health – and this is particularly true for some mental
illnesses. Typically, clinicians take what is referred
to as a ‘biopsychosocial’ approach to understanding mental illness – looking not
only at biological factors, but also psychological and social factors. Psychodynamic Therapy has been so incredibly
important historically. Sigmund Freud, who is widely regarded as the
founder of clinical psychology even though he was originally a neurologist, founded Psychodynamic
Therapy. Many of his ideas – for example, his thoughts
about the importance of the feelings a client has towards their therapist and vice versa
– have really stood the test of time and remain core constructs that most mental health
clinicians keep in mind when thinking about clients and their presentations. Behavioural Therapy, as its name suggests
is very focused on what people do, or how they behave. Central to Behavioural therapy are the two
different types of conditioning: classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, builds
on Behavioural Therapy with its emphasis on the role of cognitions or thoughts and their
importance in determining the way we feel and the way we behave. Behavioural therapy and cognitive behavioural
therapy are arguably the two therapies with the strongest evidence bases.

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