In the early decades of the 20th century Freud's mastery of the craft of presenting a case enthroned a belief that anxiety disorders were caused by repressed emotional complexes and that recovery required the restitution of repressed ideas. This belief dominated psychotherapeutic practice, and even though little was to be seen in the way of success, any alternative was treated with scorn. Mid-century studies of experimental neuroses showed that these disturbances were the consequence of the learning of maladaptive anxiety and could be overcome by systematic counteraction by other emotions. These findings, transferred to humans, were gratifyingly successful, but the published findings were ignored or belittled.
The traditional assumption that only insight into the causes in the past can bring about a change in the present makes us blind for what Alexander & French called "the corrective emotional experience," i.e., chance events in the present that may lead to almost immediate solutions. A great number of Erickson's surprising results could be considered the outcome of "planned chance events," often in the form of behavior prescriptions similar to interventions in hypnotherapy (e.g., "speaking the clients's language," prescribing resistance, the use of reframing, paradoxical interventions, etc.).
The major emphasis in contemporary psychoanalytic psychotherapy is on the early and consistent interpretation of the transference. A growing attention to countertransference analysis, to the risk of "indoctrinating" patients, to character analysis, to the analysis of unconscious meanings in the "here and now" also are dominant trends. Significant controversies continue regarding the importance of the "real" relationship, the therapeutic versus the resistant aspects of regression, the role of empathy, and the relation of historical to narrative truth. A growing interest in short dynamic psychotherapy has sharpened the focus on the indications and contraindications for supportive in contrast to exploratory or expressive modalities of treatment.
The evolution of psychotherapeutic methods over the past 200 years from Mesmer through the psychoanalytic schools, behaviorism and current cognitive psychology tells a fascinating tale of our evolving understanding of human nature. In this address we will trace the development of fundamental techniques such as suggestion, free association, active imagination, gestalt dialogue, focusing, Erickson's indirect approaches and what I now call "The Basic Accessing Question." A new conceptual framework for understanding these psychotherapeutic techniques is proposed in terms of the new nonlinear dynamics of complex, self-organizing systems, the dynamics of the Chaos, for facilitating self-reflection and the evolution of human consciousness.
Madanes will present guidelines for the positive use of shame in couples and families. Stories from therapy will be told to reveal complicated problems in which shame, sex, power and love are interconnected. Looking at extreme cases of violence will throw light on when it is appropriate to experience shame and how to recover from the pain that shame represents. In our families and in society, we use shame as a secret weapon in restraining the abuse of power and the expression of violence. Yet there are various sides to shame. It can be experienced by victims instead of victimizers, and it can bring about compassionate deeds or lead to guilt and failure. Feelings of shame often conceal deep, hidden issues inside a family, an organization, or a nation.
The development of cognitive-behavior therapy parallels major developments in how to conceptualize the role of cognition in psychopathology and behavior change. Dr. Meichenbaum will trace his "personal journey" as a clinician and researcher, noting the altering views of cognition from a behavioral, information processing and constructive narrative perspective. He will examine the therapeutic and research implications of this shift.
My own physical disabilities as well as my performance anxiety during my childhood and adolescence impelled me to read many ancient and modern philosophers who had worked on the philosophy of human happiness and unhappiness. Thinking about their views and adapting them to my own life, I made myself distinctly less disturbed as well as less disturbable. After I tried several psychotherapy systems-especially psychoanalysis with my clients for the first dozen years of my practice, I found them all woefully inefficient and often iatrogenic. So, I went back to philosophy, welded some of its best elements with experiential and behavioral methods that I had also effectively used on myself, formulated Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), and have kep
The author traces the evolution of psychodynamic theory over the past fifty years and demonstrates how various individuals and schools of thought have contributed to increasing conceptual clarity despite significant continuing differences. Along with these theoretical advances, there have been important changes in analytically-oriented therapeutic techniques. Nevertheless, underneath the wide variance in methodology and in their explanatory terminology, certain common denominators are discernible that explain why such diverse theoretical approaches are able to achieve comparable degrees of therapeutic success. These factors are demonstrable in non-analytic therapies also.
Methods for training therapists customarily are directed to developing cognitive abilities. Using Milton Erickson as a model, an alternate, experiential approach is offered. The "evoking style" of the therapist determines the outcome of the treatment more than the theoretical and clinical methods to which the therapist ascribes.
In the ancient world, the philosopher was a physician of the soul who, employing the healing word (iatroi /ogoi), offered counsel to persons perplexed by problems in living. After the triumph of Christianity, the priest as confessor-counselor replaced the philosopher as rhetorician of consolation. With the birth of psychiatry, and especially since the Freudian revolution, we call helping persons with words "psychotherapy." I shall try to show that without a decisive separation of rhetorical healing from medical healing, psychotherapy as the secular cure of souls is doomed to extinction.