Strengths and limitations of psychoanalytic counselling

Strengths and limitations of psychoanalytic counselling

Strengths of psychoanalytic counselling

 The importance of sexuality and the unconscious in human behaviour.
 The approach lends itself to empirical studies. Freud’s proposals have generated a tremendous amount of research since the early 1900s. Usually psychoanalytic research is based on case histories
 Provides a theoretical base of support for a number of diagnostic instruments.
 The approach reflects the complexity of human nature.
 The approach has grown and developed through the years. There are several modified forms of psychoanalysis, such as ego psychology or object-relations theories.
 The approach appears to be effective for those who suffer from a wide variety of disorders, such as hysteria, narcissism, obsessive-compulsive reactions, character disorders, anxiety, phobias, and sexual difficulties.
 The approach stressed the importance of developmental stages, the knowledge of which is essential for treatment plans. Moreover, this also provided basis for the development of other personality theories, such as those of Erikson and Levinson.
 Some psychological tests, such as the Thematic Apperception Test or the Rorschach Ink Blots, are rooted in psychoanalytic theory.

Limitations of psychoanalytic Counselling

Despite the unique emphasis of psychoanalysis, most modern professional counsellors do not use the approach. The reasons are numerous, but among them are following limiting factors:
 Time consuming and expensive.
 The approach does not seem to lend itself to working with older clients.
 Based on many concepts not easily communicated or understood. These concepts not only are difficult to test but also have inadequate evidence for their existence.
 Overemphasis on biology and unconscious forces
 Sexism
 Lack of Cross-cultural support
 The approach is deterministic.
 Counsellors and psychologists without medical degrees have had a difficult time getting extensive training in psychoanalysis.

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