Clinical psychology approaches to depressive disorders.

Clinical psychology approaches

Depression, or what is referred to as depressive disorder, is an illness that impacts individuals feeling negative. The depression also affects how an individual thinks and acts. However, a depressive disorder can be treated. Generally, when a person is under depression, sadness, or feelings related to a lack of interest in past enjoyable activities usually take control of the person. From a report obtained from the American Psychiatric Association (2013), the depressive disorder can lead to either physical or emotional problems, which can result in a reduction of individuals’ abilities to function normally at home or work. From the data collected from APA, the depressive disorder can affect an approximate of fifteen adults in any particular year. The statistical data also shows that one person in every six, an estimated 16.6%, undergoes depression in a given time in their life. A depressive disorder has no particular time of appearance, but it attacks first during the teenage age. Some studies also indicate that women are more likely to be affected by a depressive disorder as compared to men. This paper is going to explore the issue of depressive disorder in general in comparison to all ages. The paper will also seek to compare and contrast major clinical psychology approaches to the selected disease.

The clinical psychology approaches that will be discussed include; cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, humanistic, and family systems. Let us begin by exploring the origin of each type of psychological approaches.

Philosophical Origins of the clinical psychology approaches to depressive disorders.

Psychodynamic approach

This approach emphasizes systematized research of the psychodynamic factors that underlie an individual’s emotions, behaviors, feelings, and how they relate to early experiences. Sigmund Freud is thought to have invented the psychodynamic approach. The theories applied in this approach suggest that for an individual to attain mental health, he or she must overcome the earlier experiences of developments. Additionally, depressive disorders or only mental illness occur because of failure to resolve the developmental conflicts. Ancient psychoanalysts believed that a depressive disorder occurred because of anger, which converts to self-hatred.

The psychodynamic approach has evolved somewhat over its long history, and in the current time, there are many variations of the procedure. The modern psychodynamic approach is an object relation theory. The theory is concerned with how people present their relationships mentally with others. As stated by object relation theory, there are ideas that show that depression is caused by difficulties people experience while developing healthy relationships. During ancient times, the psychodynamic approach was criticized extensively because the method lacked empiricism (Fairbairn, 1954).

Cognitive-behavioral approach

This approach uses cognitive methods that have developed due to the failure of ancient behaviorists in taking feelings and thought seriously. These theories are regarded as cognitive as they the mental activities such as feelings and thinking. This approach suggests that depressions arise from distorted judgments and thoughts. According to cognitive theories relating to lows, people who are depressed will tend to think differently from those who suffer no sorrows. The difference, in this case, causes people to become depressed.

There are different cognitive theories of depressions that have developed unique perspectives on the thinking ways (Abramson et al., 1988). For instance, an argument by Aaron Beck suggests that symptoms of depressions are caused by negative thoughts, which are caused by dysfunctional beliefs.

Humanistic approach

This theory emerged back in 1960, where it served as a critical reaction of both behaviorist learning and psychodynamic approaches to depression. This approach looks into a given depression as a crucial disturbance in an individual’s ability to attain their real potentials. According to this theory, a depressed person can only be helped if there is the presence of congruence, unlimited definite concern, and empathy conditions. If an individual experiences these conditions, then healing from depressions is possible (Yapko, 2014). If there is a provision of correct interpersonal terms where there is a real relationship, a person can lift a depression since an individual experiences self-worth and self-acceptance values.

Family system approach to depression

Theories related to family systems were created first in the twentieth century when ecology was leased from biology and used to study problems associated with humans (Lastoria,1990) The theories used in this approach suggest that depressions in individuals originate from family-related issues. The opinions also indicate that the distress can only be eliminated using the families oneness.

Goals of the clinical psychology approach in depression.

Psychodynamic approach.

This is one of the oldest approaches that is used even in modern methods. The main goal of the psychodynamic approach is to focus primarily on the unconscious processes that are presented in the individual’s current behavior. Another goal of the psychodynamic approach is to understand the influence of past human behavior on the current. Additionally, the psychodynamic approach aims at addressing the formation and foundation of psychological processes. Using this way, there are possibilities of reducing depression symptoms and, in turn, improve the lives of individuals.

In the psychodynamic approach, it is a goal of the therapists to help people obtain insights that help them improve their lives (Bihlar & Carlsson, 2001)

Goals of Cognitive Behavioral approach to depression

This approach has several goals that it focuses on to reduce the symptoms of depression among individuals. To begin with, cognitive depression therapy aims at creating self-awareness and promote emotional intelligence by teaching the clients how to understand their emotions. In turn, the individuals will enjoy the benefits of being able to differentiate the good feelings from the unhealthy ones. Secondly, the cognitive approach seeks to help individuals understand how deformed perceptions and feelings contribute to painful thoughts. This will enable indivuduals reframe their feelings and in turn reduce symptoms of depression. Furthermore, cognitive therapy aims at totally reducing depression symptoms while emphasizing on exploring individuals current conditions that will help solve the underlying conditions. Moreover, still focusing on the goals of cognitive approach towards depression, the therapy aims at developing self-control through educating individuals particular strategies that may help identify oblivious thinking. Lastly, cognitive therapy aims at preventing future points of being emotionally distressed that may limit the personal development. This will in turn help in changing the individual’s core beliefs that forms the hearts of their suffering.

Goals of humanistic therapy to depression

The goal of humanistic therapy is to help an individual obtain healthier self-sense which is stronger and still understand and access their feelings so as to develop sense of life meaning. Humanistic theories aims to help individuals attain what Maslow and Rodgers calls self-actualization. Self-actualization refers to the final level of psychological development that can only be obtained when all other basic mental needs are fully fulfilled. Humanistic therapy focuses on the strengths of individuals and provides counselling sessions that are non-judgmental.

Techniques used by clinical psychology approaches.

Psychodynamic therapy.

This method employs two types of techniques and approaches to carry out the therapy function. The two mainly used methods are the inter-personal and the person strategy therapy. To begin with, let us begin by discussing the person centered technique.

Person-centered therapy technique.

This method is non directive and it is less structured in terms of complexity. The technique was developed by Carl Rodgers. This therapy suggests that the functions of the therapist is show sense of empathy, oblivious positive concern and warmth to the clients. By listening and responding to grieves of the clients, therapists help individuals see themselves differently as to how others see them.

Inter-Personal Therapy

This is a supportive strategy that seeks to connect the outside, for instance, personal struggles with the internal e.g. person’s moods. This strategy is basically limited to social roles and relationships. Generally, IPT has a timed period of treatment which lasts for not more that 16 months. This helps to encourage the depression victim regain the command of moods and functionalism.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques

This type of therapy uses a number of techniques and strategies to help improve individual moods and behaviors. The following are some of the strategies employed in this method.

Cognitive restructuring techniques

This is a form of therapy that is aims in helping people choose thinking patterns that are responsible for ineffective behavioral characteristics and negative moods. The most common technique that is used in this strategy is the tracking of dysfunctional feelings on a felling record form.

Graded Exposure Assignments.

This is a cognitive strategy that uses exposure as the technique which may help individuals approach what they fear most. Through exposure, individuals can memorize the feared conditions that one after the other and then at the end show prowess in tackling difficult assignments related to exposure. from research generated from other exposure related information, treatment of depression through exposure proves to be of the most effective strategies with an approximate 90% effectiveness.

Activity Scheduling

This a cognitive therapy technique that is designed to help individuals improve on behaviors that they should be engaged in more. The technique most significant for individuals who do not engage in more than one rewarding activities. The method is also useful for people who experience difficulties during completion of tasks since they procrastinate.

Successive Approximation

This is a technique that is used for people who experience difficulties during the completion if tasks either because they are not familiar with the task or for some reason, the task seems overwhelming. The technique plays its role through enabling people memorize easier tasks which are more or less similar to the difficult tasks. Its principle works on the example of practicing subtraction and addition before long division. Likewise, through having rehearsed a given behavior, the one that is more difficult becomes more manageable.

Humanistic therapy techniques

There are two widely used techniques that are used in humanistic therapy. They include the Gestalt therapy and client-centered therapy. Let us focus on each of this therapies and see how each method can be used to treat s depression.

Gestalt therapy.

This type of therapy technique was developed by Fritz Perls and Laura, his wife, back in 1049. The technique aims at helping individuals become more aware of their thoughts, perceptions, and emotions. The technique also helps clients understand hoe factors mentioned earlier shape their internal conversations that cause behaviors that they take. Based on the humanistic view, gestalt method describes unified whole and states that the whole does not equal to the sum of its parts. If an individual is in desire of knowing what kind of emotions he has, then gestalt concept may apply. There are strategies that are used in Gestalt therapy and they include dream work and empty chairs. In dream work strategy, a client is encouraged to tell the therapist a dream. The client is then asked to take the roles of the objects in the dream so as to decode meaning. On the other hand, in empty chair strategy, an individual is asked to sit across from an empty chair. The particular individual is asked to talk to talk to the empty chair so that the therapist can see the thoughts of the client.

Client-Centered therapy

This technique was developed by an American psychologist Carl Rodgers in 1940. The strategy is based on the founder’s beliefs that people are good and possess the ability to make their potentials become a fulfillment. Some people suggest that this method makes the involved individuals feel more empowered while they are still discovering their emotions habits and decisions.

Family therapy techniques

Bowenian technique

This form of therapy is applicable in conditions where the individual do not want to get involved with other family members in the therapy treatment. This type of therapy applies two core concepts that include, triangulation and differentiation.

Structural Technique

This therapy aims at strengthening and adjusting a particular family system which ensures that the parents are the ones who are in control.

Systematic therapy technique

This is a form of therapy that focuses on the oblivious meanings and communications that underlies the family members’ behavior. In this technique the therapist acts as if neutral to allow the family members dive into their conflicts as a family.

How each approach affects the treatment strategies for depressive disorder?

Each of the clinical approaches presented above in general support the treatment strategies but in different ways. For a treatment of depressive disorder to occur effectively, any of the above clinical approaches can be used during the treatment process. However, each of this methods may work differently and if not handled with care, it may present some negative effects. If the method or approach is used carefully, success cases are possible in the treatment of depressive disorders. Each approach uses different strategies that are useful in treating a depression. The psychodynamic approach seeks to use strategies that help treat depressive disorders that arise because of emotional conflicts within an individual.

The cognitive behavioral theory will seek to treat depressions that arise from poor mental health. As discussed above, in the section of cognitive approach, more than one strategy may be used to treat a depression arising from mental illness. The humanistic approach tries to analyze depressions that are caused by poor social relationships. Only two techniques can be used under the humanistic approach. Therefore, we can say that this clinical approach affects the treatment of the depression by limiting us to only two techniques. On the family system approach there are a number of techniques that can be used to treat depressions arising from poor family relations. This can help obtain enormous information and solution relating to the depressive disorder.

The efficacy of the clinical approaches

The effectiveness of every approach is difficult to level. This is because the effectiveness is determined by the judgment and interpretation of the therapist which may prove difficult to draw conclusions. The cognitive therapy has shown effectiveness in adults. Evidence has it that the effectiveness of CBT is offered in treatment of schizophrenia. In children, cognitive therapy has shown its effectiveness in treating anxiety disorders, obesity and eating disorders. Humanistic therapy has shown its effectiveness in treatment of broad mental health challenges. Humanistic approach has been used to treat relationship issues, depression, schizophrenia, and addictions such as alcoholism. The approach can be used and be effective in any population.

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