Essay: Psychotherapy

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  • Subject area(s): Psychology essays
  • Reading time: 8 minutes
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  • Published on: March 23, 2018
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  • Number of pages: 2
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Managing a mental disorder with psychological rather than medical means is known as psychotherapy. It is a process of sensing and deciphering patients and their troubles and developing explanations and answers. Psychotherapy methods can be placed into five general categories. The psychoanalysis approach, which most commonly identified with Sigmund Freud, focuses on modifying problematic actions, thoughts, and feelings by determining a person’s unconscious interests and desires. Behavior therapy is a technique that Ivan Pavlov made significant additions to by uncovering classical conditioning. The target of this therapy is to pay attention to learning’s role in cultivating normal and abnormal behaviors. Cognitive therapy highlights what people think rather than what they do. The humanistic practice concentrates on people’s ability to make the right choices and form their best self. The fifth approach of psychotherapy is holistic which adjusts the treatment according to each patient’s needs.

The argument over if one psychotherapy is more effective or beneficial than another when treating patients with bulimia has been a popular topic for about three decades. Bulimia can be defined as making oneself vomit, take laxatives, or exercise desperately after binge eating. Some symptoms of bulimia include dehydration, mood swings, constipation, and heartburn. Bulimia is a disorder commonly seen in people living in the United States. It can be found in both men and women of various ages. The idea of experimenting and proving the answer is extremely difficult as everyone is different and everyone’s problems are unique. People react to and favor from things variously and adversely.

To begin, there are findings between the types of psychotherapies that say one approach can be more effective than another when trying to stop patients from binge eating, but there are also studies that show the effects of one psychotherapy is equal to another. I believe out of the five general psychotherapies mentioned above including their more specific versions of psychotherapies, some psychotherapies do work better than others when treating patients who have bulimia. Psychotherapists practice in different ways and all psychotherapies are not equally effective. Therefore, I will argue in favor of the proposition that when coming up with solutions to help patients with bulimia, some psychotherapies are more advantageous than others.

To continue, similar to how there are different study techniques to study for a specific test, there are also multiple forms of therapy to help treat bulimia. Even though there are various approaches to prepare for an exam not all study habits work as well as another. This idea can be related to psychotherapies, as not all types of therapy would benefit a patient with bulimia the exact same way or as well as another would or could. A patient who suffers and experiences bulimia puts their body in an unsafe environment. The effects of such a serious mental disorder are alarming and even life threatening. Some effects include an uneven or sporadic heart rate pattern, abnormal potassium levels that are lower than the standard levels, and kidney failures. These effects are caused by the actions and thoughts of bulimic patients. With that in mind, it wouldn’t necessarily make sense that all psychotherapies are equally effective. It is obvious that the ones that would focus on the specific thoughts, behaviors, and actions of a patient with bulimia would have the most success in improving their disorder. Psychotherapies that would also pay attention to the way patients see themselves and interact with others would also have great success. Those psychotherapies would have the most favorable outcomes and progress because they would be directing the attention to the main causes of the problem. It wouldn’t help a patient to fixate on just one of their causes, or their unconscious interests as much as it would help them to think about what and why they are doing what they are to their body.

There have been many scientific investigations over the years that have studied the effects different psychotherapies and have come to conclusions that support and prove my points about all psychotherapies not being equally effective. For example, twenty four years ago, a scientific investigation occurred in hopes to discover the differences between a basic behavioral treatment of cognitive behavior therapy for bulimia and full treatment. Its purpose was to also figure out if cognitive behavior therapy for bulimia had a certain therapeutic result. To conduct the experiment, the researchers split participants into three groups. One group assigned patients with bulimia to receive cognitive behavior therapy, another to have interpersonal therapy, and another to have behavior therapy. Each person from each group had to attend nineteen sessions of their specific assigned therapy over the course of eighteen weeks. After eighteen weeks, the frequency of binge eating was measured. 48% of patients with bulimia who were assigned to behavior therapy experienced withdrawal and after a year follow up only few met the standards for a favorable outcome.1 Patients who received cognitive behavior therapy and interpersonal therapy attained similar results as patients from both therapies made valuable, long-lasting changes and no longer had the symptoms of bulimic patients.1 The major significance of these results were that it was proven clear that the basic behavioral treatment of cognitive behavior therapy for bulimia was not as helpful or advantageous as the full treatment. This finding helps prove the position that not all psychotherapies are equally effective. It expresses that it is important to focus on many aspects of a person who is suffering from bulimia, not just their behavior. It supports my suggestions and points of the qualities a psychotherapy would have to have to benefit a patient with bulimia. It does this by showing the success of cognitive behavior therapy, which focuses on more than one cause of bulimia and works on altering a patient’s way of thinking and behaviors, and the success of interpersonal therapy, which focuses on the way patients see themselves and how they interact with others.

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