The Nature Of People from thePsychodynamic psychotherapy• The concept of human nature in psychoanalytic theory found its basis in psychic determinism and unconscious mental processes.• Psychic determinism implies that mental life is a continuous manifestation of cause-related relationships.• Mental processes are considered the causative factors in the nature of human behavior. Mental activity and even physical activity may be kept below the conscious level.• Freud ( 1965) noted that conflict, repression, and anxiety often go together, with the result that people often do not understand their feelings, thoughts, actions, or behaviors. Analysis on the basis of unconscious determinism is the base of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Psychotherapy leading to catharsis will then lead to confronting the unconscious mind or to a way of learning to cope, understand, and grow in mental development.
Continue:1• Freud viewed people as basically evil and victims of instincts that must be balanced or reconciled with social forces in order to provide a structure in which human beings can function.• To achieve balance people need a deep understanding of the forces that motivate them to action.• According to Freud, people operate like energy systems, distributing psychic energy to the id, ego, and super ego.• Human behavior is viewed as determined by this energy, by unconscious motives, and by instinctual and biological drives.• Psychosexual events during the first five years of life are seen as critical to adult personality development.• Sugarman (1977), believing that Freud’s concept of the nature of people is often misinterpreted, presents a contrasting view of Freudian theory in which a humanistic image of people is recognized in the following eight ideas:
Continue:2• people have a dual nature, biological and symbolic;• people are both individuals and related to others simultaneously;• people strive for goals and values;• one of the strongest human needs is to give meaning to life;• one’s internal world, including the unconscious, is more important than overt behavior;• people are social creatures whose need for interpersonal relationships is supreme;• people are always evolving, always in process;• people have a certain amount of autonomy within the constraints of reality.
Continue:3• In summary, according to psychoanalytic theory, the basic concepts of human nature revolve around the notions of psychic determinism and unconscious mental processes. Psychic determinism simply implies that our mental function or mental life is a continuous logical manifestation of causative relationships. Nothing is random, nothing happens by chance. Though mental events may appear unrelated, they are actually closely interwoven and dependent upon preceding mental signals. Closely related to psychic determinism are unconscious mental processes, which exist as fundamental causative factors in the nature of human behavior. In essence, much of what goes on in our minds and hence our bodies in unknown, below the conscious level, so that we often do not understand our feelings and/or actions. The existence of unconscious mental processes is the basis for much of what is involved in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Analysis leading to catharsis is employed to dredge up unconscious elements contained within the recesses of the mind. By confronting these elements, the therapist can achieve growth and mental health.
L.P.Ullman, Joseph Wolpe, Arnold Lazarus, and John Krumboltz).Nature of people :• A broad statement of the behaviorist view of the nature of people is probably best summed up by Skinner’s (1971) belief that children are influenced and changed as biological entities by things that happen to them. He finds the notion that somehow or other the child of our past is still contained within us a form of animism that serves no useful purpose in explaining present behavior.• Behaviorists view human beings as neither good nor bad but merely as products of their environment.• People are essentially neutral at birth ( the blank slate ot tabula rasa idea) with equal potential for good or evil and for rationality or irrationality.• Behaviorists view people as responders. Self-directing mentalistic concepts of people are not accepted; people are seen as capable of making only those responses they have learned, and they make them when the stimulus conditions are appropriate.
Continue:1• Individuals, then, are viewed by behavioral therapists ad product oftheir conditioning. The stimulus/response paradigm is the basic pattern of all human learning. People react in predictable ways to any given stimulus according to what they have learned through experience. Humans react to stimuli in much the same way animals do, except that human responses are more complex and organized on a higher plane.• Skinner regarded the human being as an organism who learns patterns of behavior, which are catalogued within the individual’s repertoire, to be repeated at a later date. To be more specific, the organism learns a specific respose when a satisfying condition follows an action. The number of these responses mount as time passes and satisfying conditions repeat. The interest of the behaviorist is in the science of behavior as it relates to biology. Skinner believes that “ a person is a member of a species shaped by evolutionary contingencies of survival, displaying behavioral processes which bring him under the control of a social environment which he and millions of others like him have constructed and maintained during the evolution of a culture. The direction of the controlling relation is reversed: a person does not act upon the world, the world acts upon him.” (1971,p.211).
Continue:2• Since human behavior is learned, any or all behavior can be unlearned and new behaviors learned in its space. The behaviorist is concerned with observable events. These observable events, when they become unacceptable behaviors, can be unlearned. It is this unlearning or reeducation process with which the behavioral therapy is concerned. Behavioral therapy procedures can be developed from social learning theory.•
Person-centered therapy ( CarlRogers)• Carl Rogers and his person-centered school of thought view people as rational, socialized, forward-moving, and realistic beings. Negative, antisocial emotions do exist, but they are only a result of frustrated basic impulses, an idea that is related to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. For instance, extreme aggressive action toward other people would result from failure to meet needs of love and belonging. Once people are free from their defensive behavior, their reactions are positive and progressive.• People possess the capacity to experience—that is, to express rather than –repress—their own maladjustment to life and to move toward a more adjusted state of mind. Rogers believes that, in moving toward psychological adjustment, people are moving toward self-actualization. Because people possess the capacity to regulate and control their own behavior, the therapeutic relationship is merely a MEANS OF tapping personal resources and developing human potential. It is believed that people will learn from their external therapy experience how to internalize and provide their own form of psychotherapy.
Continue:1• In summary, a person-centered therapy believes that people have worth and dignity in their own right and therefore deserve respect;• Have the capacity and right to self-direction and, when given the opportunity, will make wise judgments;• Can select their own values if allowed to do so;• Can learn to make constructive use of responsibility;• Have the capacity to deal with their own feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, and• Have the potential for constructive change and personal development toward a full and satisfying life.
Gestalt Therapy ( Fritz Perls)The nature of man:• According to gestalt Therapy, the most important area to concern is the thoughts and feelings people are experiencing at the moment. Normal and healthy behavior occurs when people act and react as total organisms. Many people tend to fragment their lives, distributing their concentration and attending among several variables and events at one time. The results of such fragmentation can be seen in an ineffective living style, with outcomes ranging from low productivity to serious accidents. The gestalt view of human nature is positive in that people are viewed as capable of becoming self-regulating beings who can achieve a sense of unity and integration in their lives.
Continue:1• Perls (1969) referred to the person as a total organism—not just the brain. His saying that people would be better off losing their minds and coming to their senses meant that our bodies and feelings are better indicators of the truth than our words, which we use to hide ourselves from the truth. Body signs such as headaches, rashes, neck strain, and stomach pains may indicate that we need to change our behavior. Perls believed that awareness alone can be curative. With full awareness, a state of organismic self-regulation develops, and the total person takes control.• Mentally healthy people are viewed as people who can maintain their awareness without being distracted by the various environmental stimuli that constantly vie for our attention. Such people can fully and clearly experience their own needs and the environmental alternativesfor meeting these needs.
Continue:2 experiencehavingshare of inner• Healthy people still conflicts and frustrations, but their achieved increased levels of concentration and awareness, they are able to solve their problems without completing them with fantasy elaboration. Conflicts with others are likewise resolved when it is possible and dismissed when it is not. People with high levels of awareness of their needs and their environment know which problems and conflicts are solvable and which are not. The key to successful adjustment in Perl’s theory is the development of personal responsibility—responsibility for one’s life and response to one’s environment. Much of the Perls doctrine is summarized in his famous Gestalt Prayer (Perls, 1969, p.4):•
Continue:3• I do my thing and you do your thing.• I am not in this world to live up to your expectations.• And you are not in this world to live up to mine.• You are you and I am i• And if by chance we find each other, it is beautiful.• If not, it can’t be helped. The healthy person focuses sharply on one need at a time while relegating other needs to the background. When the need is met —or the gestalt is closed or completed—it is relegated to the background, and a new need comes into focus. The smoothly functioning figure/ground relationship characterizes the healthy personality. The dominant need of the organism at any time becomes the foreground figure, and the other needs recede, at least temporarily, into the background.
Continue;4• The foreground is the need that presses most sharply for satisfaction, whether it is the need to preserve life or is related to less physically or psychologically vital areas. For individuals to be able to satisfy their needs and close the Gestalt in order to move on to other things, they must be able to determine what they need, and they must know how to manipulate themselves and their environment; even the purely physiological needs can be satisfied only through the interaction of the organism and the environment ( Perls, 1976).•• Perls defined neurotic people as those who try to attend to too many needs at one time with the result being failure to satisfy any one need fully. Neurotic people also use their potential to manipulate others to do for them what they have not done for themselves. Rather than running their own lives, they turn them over to those who will take care of their lives, they turn them over to those who will take care of their needs.
Continue:5• In summary, people cause themselves additional problems by not handling their lives appropriately in the following six categories:•• 1.Lacking contact with the environment. People may become so rigid that they cut themselves off from others or from resources in the environment.• 2. confluence. People may incorporate too much of themselves into others incorporate so much of the environment into themselves that they lose touch with where they are. Then the environment takes control.• 3. Unfinished business. People may have unfulfilled needs, unexpressed feelings, or some uncompleted situations that clamor for their attention ( this may manifest itself in dreams).• 4. fragmentation. People may try to discover or deny a need such as aggression. The inability to find and obtain those things are needs may be result of fragmenting one’s life.
• top dog/underdog. People may experience a split in their personalitiesContinue:6• between what they think they “ should” do ( top dog) and what they “want” to do ( underdog) 6. polarities ( dichotomies). People tend to flounder at times between existing, natural dichotomies in their lives such as: body/mind, self/external world, emotional/real, infantile/mature, biological/cultural, poetry/prose, spontaneous/deliberate, personal/social, love/aggression, and unconscious/conscious( Sahakian,1969).• Much of everyday living seems to be involved in resolving conflicts posed by these competing polarities. Five types have been identified by Assagioli (1965):• Physical polarities—masculinity/femininity and parasympathetic/sympathetic nervous system;• emotional polarities—pleasure/pain, excitement/depression, love/hate.• Mental polarities—parent/child, eros(feeling)/logos (reason), topdog/underdog.• Spiritual polarities—intellectual doubt/dogmatism.• interindividual polarities—man/woman,black/white, Christian/jew.•
• Rational emotive therapy is based on the philosophy of Epictetus ( born ca. AD 50) : “ what disturbs men’s minds is not events, but their judgement of events.” Generally speaking, very young children and animals have limited emotional repertoires and tend to emote in a quick, unsustaines manner. When children get old enough to use language effectively, they acquire the ability to sustain their emotions and possibly keep themselves emotionally upset. RET does not concentrate upon the past events in one’s life, but rather the present events and how one reacts to them. RET theory stresses that, as human beings, we have choices.
Continue:1• We control our ideas, attitudes, feelings, and actions, and we arrange our lives according to our own dictates. We have little control over what happens or what actually exists, but we do have both choices and control over how we view the world and how we react to the difficulties, regardless of how we have been taught to respond.• RET theory holds that people are neither good nor bad if they respond to others with a rational belief system. If individuals react with irrational beliefs, however, they will view themselves and others as evil, awful, and horrible whenever they or others fall short of their expectations. The human being is viewed by Ellis as a naturally irrational, self-defeating individual who needs to be taught otherwise. He has also stated people can be naturally helpful and loving as long as they do not think irrationally. In others words, Ellis has described a circular process in the following figure.•
Transactional analysis ( Eric berne)• The nature of people and the theory of psychotherapy sections are covered together for transactional analysis because the TA theory of psychotherapy is basically a statement describing the human personality.• Berne had a positive view of the nature of people. He believed that children were borne as princes and princesses, and shortly thereafter their parents and the environment turned them into frogs. He believed that people had their potential to regain their royal status providing they learned and applied the lessons of transactional analysis to their personal lives. Berne believed that early childhood years were critical to personal development. During these early years, before children enter school, they form their basic life script, and they develop a sense of being either OK or not OK.
Continue: 1• They also arrive at conclusions about the “OK-ness” of other people. In Berne’s view, life is very simple to live. However, people upset themselves to the point where they invent religions, pastimes, and games. These same people complain about how complicated life is while persisting in making life even harder. Life is a series of decisions to be made and problems to be solved. Berne believes people have the rationality and freedom to make decisions and solve their problems.• The TA theory of human nature and human relationships derives from data collected via four types of analyses:• structural analysis, in which an individual’s personality is analyzed;• Transactional analysis, which is concerned with what people do and say to each other;• Script analysis, which deals with the specific life dramas people compulsively employ;• Game analysis, in which ulterior transactions leading to a pay off are analyzed.•
Continue:2• Irrational thinking leads to self-hate, which leads to self-destructive behavior and eventually to hatred of others, which will turn cause others to act irrationally toward the individual, and thus begin the cycle again.• Ellis believes that some of our irrational thoughts are biological in origin, but the majority stem from our upbringing ( parents, teachers, and clergy). Ellis has described three problem areas in which people hold irrational; beliefs; they must be perfect; others must be perfect; and/or the world must be a perfect place to live. The following examples describe in a nutshell what people tell themselves when interpreting events with an irrational belief system. A more rational replacement thought follows each irrational self-message.•• because it would be highly preferable if I were outstandingly competent, I absolutely should and must be; it is awful when I am not, and I am therefore a worthless individual .• ( alternative) It would sure be nice if I were outstanding in whatever I do, but if I am not, it is OK, and I will try my best anyway.•
Continue:3• Because it is highly desirable that others treat me considerably and fairly, they absolutely should and must, and they are rotten people who deserve to be utterly damned when they do not.• (alternative) I would prefer people to treat me considerately. However, I realize that this is not always the case, so I will not take it personally when they do not, and I will make it my business to be considerate.• Because it is preferable that I experience pleasure rather than pain, the world should absolutely arrange this, and life is horrible and I can’t bear it when the world doesn’t.• ( alternative) I realize that in life there are both pleasurable moments and painful moments. Therefore, I will try to make the painful moments a positive, learning experience so that I can endure trials and even benefit from them.