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Therapeutic Techniques

This paper is a detailed examination of Frederick H. Kanfer and Arnold P. Goldstein's textbook, Helping People Change, a catalog of essays on the most prominent therapeutic techniques in current use for intervention in contemporary psychology. These therapies are most effective in the treatment of such common problems as eating disorders, marital difficulties, stress management, and interpersonal problems. While many practicing therapists adhere to one primary approach, most also acknowledge the usefulness of knowing about others and, where appropriate, the efficacy of applying a variety of techniques and understandings. Whatever the underlying philosophy, all recognized approaches share four qualities, being unilateral, systematic, formal, and time limited. In order to be effective, each must also be administered by a trained professional with a clear sense of ethics. Change, the successful application of these techniques to the patient's problems within a helping relationship, can be measured in a number of ways, depending upon the nature of the initial problem. Change can include behavior modification, emotional relief, alteration in self-perception, or other measurable instances in which the patient is enabled to deal with his or her problems in more effective ways.

Human beings are, by definition, flawed creatures. Even under the most stable conditions, subjected to the fewest possible psychological stresses, every individual finds some situations difficult to deal with. Many people develop coping techniques that enable them to feel better or handle challenges more effectively. However, those whose coping mechanism cause "discomforts, psychological disabilities, and social inefficiencies [that] have been of sufficient concern to them, or to others in their environment" (Kanfer, 1991, p. 2) may be compelled to seek ways to change. The level of concern may vary among individuals facing similar problems, and an outside...

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Therapeutic Techniques. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:10, August 14, 2020, from