Holistic Psychotherapy: More Than Behavior, More Than Feelings

A brief history: Psychotherapy in this century started with Freud. He developed a whole way of figuring out what people were thinking and feeling as a way to reach their unconscious. Practitioners who work this way are called psychoanalysts. This is pretty clever but there were people who took exception to that. They believed that it really isn’t fair for one person to tell another what is going on in his or her mind. They felt that behavior is all that you need to work on in order to help people. They are called behaviorists. Other people thought looking at behavior left out the world of feelings and experience. Clinicians aiming at feelings are called gestalt therapists and experiential therapists. But there were those who liked the idea of focusing on ideas, being rational and reasonable. Those people are called cognitive therapists. Some people noticed that it would make more sense to combine all of the above since people, after all, aren’t compartmentalized. Therapists taking this view look at people from the perspective of their unconscious, their behavior, their feelings, and their thoughts. What’s more, they like looking at people in the context of their relationships too. These are called systemic therapists. Because relationships are important, they also work with couples and families. I am a systemic therapist because I like to look at the whole individual whether adult or child. But I also work with couples and families. A Holistic Approach   Having been in the field of psychotherapy for 30 years, I think all these approaches make sense and I have come to the conclusion that each...

A Biblical Injunction for Orthodox Jewish Couples

TITLE: A Biblical Injunction for Orthodox Jewish Couples AUTHOR: Debby Schwarz Hirschhorn, M.S., Ph.D. Candidate, Nova Southeastern University; Clinical Director, CHABAD Family Counseling Services, Aventura, FL. HOMEWORK: a “noticing” task OBJECTIVE: to help orthodox Jewish couples understand their conflicts in a different way. RATIONALE: To systemic family therapists with a social constructionist (McNamee & Gergen, 1992) orientation, an arguing couple’s problem is not in any identified individual. Thus, it is not necessary for the therapist to assess who might be right or wrong. The clients most likely do not see it this way. Part of their problem may be the lack of flexibility which has dictated that one person must be right and the other, wrong (Hudson & O’Hanlon, 1991). Their limited number of choices (von Foerster, 1984)–either I am right or you are right–boxes them into this corner. The notion that a shift in their perspective (O’Hanlon & Wilk, 1987) can allow both members of the couple to be right is an incredible idea for a warring couple new to social constructionist models of therapy. A social constructionist framework therefore seems to be a vital basis for marital therapy. Because social constructionist models of therapy also underscore the importance of speaking to clients in language that makes sense to them (Fisch, Weakland, & Segal, 1982), such models lend themselves to utilizing the Bible as an authoritative resource when working with religious couples (Hirschhorn & Rambo, 1996). Christian counselors have discovered this powerful tool and have applied it using rational-emotive therapy (Johnson, 1993; Young, 1984), cognitive-behavioral therapy (Tan, 1987), gestalt therapy (Cowart, 1980), specially created Biblical models (Carter, 1980),...
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