Psychotherapy control rather than what they cannot. As

Psychotherapy is a
therapeutic treatment (Corey, 2017). While there are many misconceptions about
psychotherapy and how it works, due to cinema portrayals of psychotherapists as
being able to magically cure people, or as people who fit clients into a
societal mold. Some misconceptions are the reasons some people don’t seek
treatment in the first place.  Psychotherapy’s
main goal is to help people better function in their lives as well as in
society. There is a foundational focus on the relationship between client and
therapist and emphasis on the therapeutic environment including having a
relationship free of judgment. There are many different forms of psychotherapy,
while therapists do tend to ‘cherry-pick’ techniques from many forms in order
to individualize treatments for the benefit of the client. Some forms of
psychotherapy include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, and
Psychoanalysis among others. The two forms of psychotherapy this paper
discusses are Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) and Feminist therapy.

            With Rational Emotive Therapy patients debate their
irrational feelings through logic and empirical testing (Corey, 2017). The
therapeutic relationship is confrontational and has less emphasis on feelings-
RET says too much warmth and understanding is no good as it will allow the
client to think what they are doing is acceptable and won’t promote change. The
two goals of RET are the unconditional acceptance of self and the unconditional
acceptance of others and basically wants clients to focus on what they can
change and control rather than what they cannot. As for Feminist therapy having
an integration of multicultural views as well as sociopolitical status induced psychological
oppression of women. One of the main aspects of the theory is that what is
personal is political and vise versa. Components of this therapy focus on
social context of behavior and how that relates to people on the individual
level. Techniques of this therapy include empowerment, gender role analysis and
assertiveness training among others.

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            Albert Ellis developed Rational
Emotive Therapy in 1955 based off of the way people view their problems, he
believed that a lot of people’s problems are due to interpretations of the
situations (Corey, 2017). Ellis also believed that all people had irrational
beliefs that needed to be changed with cognitive reconstruction in order for
them to allow themselves to interpret situations differently in order to cope
with society (Corey, 2017). Ellis took an ‘evolutionary standpoint’ in the view
of the development of people and his theory (Ellis, 1999). He stated humans
were “practically forced to acquire musturbatory ways of thinking in order to
flee rapidly from potential destroyers” (Ellis, 1999, pg. 84). According to one
of the members of the Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy’s International
Training Standards and Review Committee, they see RET as “becoming a general
particle form of therapy for emotional problems” (Bernard et al., 2006).With
RET the overall view of people is that people have a capability to form both
rational and irrational thoughts as well as feelings, therefore their problems
are due to their interpretation of these thoughts and situations (Corey, 2017).

             Feminist theory of psychotherapy was an
outgrowth of other theories at the time which were mostly all centered and
developed by and for westernized white men, this theory is aimed specifically
towards women and how to help them, although the techniques of this therapy can
be used with anyone (Corey, 2017). It does not have a specific founder, rather
its development is attributed to names such as Jean Baker Miller and Laura
Brown.  The development of this theory
was brought forward due to the need for a therapeutic technique for  women based on  their experiences and thinking. The
philosophy associated with this theory is the foundation of feminism, as well
as a social justice and socio political aspect. There is also the foundation
that women have multiple roles and identities and this theory can help people
come to terms with their identity and self concept as well as their emotional
well-being and goals in life. Feminist theorists view people as overall beings
having multiple roles and being continuously shaped by societal pressures in
their life.

            The clinical usefulness of each
theory varies. For RET it is said that “Its main derivative that contribute to
the understanding of the causative factors in depression,” meaning that RET
wants to look into the associations that are causing the emotional distress in
hopes of understanding and treating them (David et al., 2008, pg. 731).
Findings of a study conducted by David et al., have supported RET as an
effective treatment for depression symptoms, it has also showed better outcomes
over minimal treatment controls (David et al., 2008) In a study conducted by
Macaskill & Macaskill (1996) on RET combined with pharmacotherapy versus
pharmacotherapy alone on the treatment for depression it was found that “combined
treatment was more effective than pharmacotherapy on a broad range of outcome
measures. On both the Beck Depression Inventory and on the Hamilton Depression
Rating Scale, the combined treatment group improved significantly,” showing
that RET has proved to have a benefit on depression symptoms (Macaskill &
Macaskill, 1996, pg. 588).

            As for Feminist theory it is useful
due to the fact that women enter therapy seeking help for being victimized by
people who hold more power (Rodis & Strehorn, 1997). As well as being
useful for women who have gone through trauma and feelings of invalidity by
teaching them techniques to cope with life stress and the knowledge of how to
handle certain situations (Rodis & Strehorn, 1997). This contradicts with
one of the original views of women who entered therapy, being that women who
sought therapy were victims of their own “flawed biology” (Rodis & Strehorn,
1997, pg. 19) Feminist theory analyzes the women on a whole scale –who she is
to herself, in her family and in society (Corey, 2017). Identity is one of the aspects
of empowerment, when it comes to eating disorders being treated with feminist
theory one must keep in mind that the “feminine identity, culture, food, and
history to lay the groundwork for the development of a whole female self,”
meaning that when analyzing a women with an eating disorder you must evaluate
every piece of her which feminist therapy emphasizes (Cooks & Descutner,
1993, pg. 507). Cooks & Descunter (1993) also mention how with eating
disorders the source and how to cope with them has to do with where a women’s
place is in society. One of feminist therapies standpoints is that
sociopolitical status can cause psychological harm therefore “FT Feminist
Therapy urges women to change their consciousness and to work to transform the
social order that constrains them politically, mutes them historically, and
divides them personally” (Cooks & Descutner, 1993, pg. 512).

            When it comes to empirical
sturdiness of each of the approaches the evidence varies. As for Feminist
theory some studies have found and suggest “some aspects of therapeutic relationship
were enhanced for male clients when their therapist incorporated feminist
principles,” for men, although stereotypically they hold a lot of power with
the use of feministic technique of power analysis they are able to be aware of
the power they hold not only in themselves but in society, this can aid them
with feeling more in control of their situation (Werner-Wilson et al., 1999,
pg.549). It was also found that feminist therapy adds an aspect of empowerment
for men while not giving women an “unfair advantage,” meaning that Feminist
theory is not biased towards or against either sex (Werner-Wilson et al., 1999,
pg.550). As for RET studies show it being more effective than no treatment, but
appears to have little empirical support due to insufficient testing of
hypotheses (Haaga, 1993)The creator of RET, Albert Ellis did not believe in the
possibility of effectively evaluating psychotherapy and whether or not a
specific technique works –therefore Ellis allotted a lot of validation for his
theory through Aaron Beck’s work in cognitive therapy (Corey, 2017).

            The applicability of each therapy
varies. As for Feminist theory it has the capability for its techniques to be
used in different types of therapy. Eating disorders can be treated with Feminist
therapy because although both genders are affected, it is predominantly female
and Feminist therapy can aid in the understanding and treating the disorder
with feminist perspectives due to the theories underlying understanding of the
women in society(Maier, 2015). The Feminist view of treatment can aid in
women’s validation of experience as well as looking into the sociocultural
factors that may contribute to the issue (Maier, 2015). For RET, it can help
teach people to be aware that it is ok for their desires to be unmet thus
controlling the disappointment they allow themselves to feel (Dryden, 2012).
Also it has the ability to help patients learn to cope with not getting what
they want and trying to counteract the negative feelings they get when they
don’t get their way, as well as teaching them to accept what they cannot
control (Dryden, 2012).  

            The ethical considerations for each
theory vary as well. In regards to Feminist theory of therapy due to attempt’s
to help an underserved population and making steps to further  change society to be more “righteous or
justice” (Rodis &Strehorn, 1997, pg. 19). Also it is ethical due to
teaching clients to view language as well as the world in a more objective way in
order to assist them in being more realistic (Rodis &Strehorn, 1997). Feminist
therapy analyzes power relationships; this has shown to be an ethical issue in
terms of when a therapist attempts to practice the techniques from Feminist
therapy under a misguided lens, Feminist theory aims to analyze power in the
clients life and how they are affected by being powerless or having power taken
from them (Brown, 1991). Also in feminist therapy, awareness of some contradicting
points of the theory and practice is essential –knowing a patients history of
things such as impulsivity or inability to tolerate emotions before attempting
to empower them to be able to handle reliving or discussing issues in their
life (Scatura, 2002). If a client isn’t ready to relive the event or issue then
no amount of power analysis or assertiveness training will ready them until
they have gained enough trust and view their therapeutic relationship as safe
(Scatura, 2002).  One of the major
ethical issues any therapist needs to be aware of is code 2.01 Boundaries of Competence,
if a therapist attempts to perform a branch of therapy that they are not
trained in they will likely cause more harm than good to any client (American
Psychological Association. Ethical
Principles of Psychologists and Code
of Conduct, 2010). Another ethical issue to be aware of in performing any
therapy is code 3.05 multiple relationships, as a therapist you must be aware
of the risk of running into your clients outside of the office, you must remain
professional and avoid multiple relationships with your clients as best as
possible (American Psychological Association.
Ethical Principles of Psychologists and
Code of Conduct, 2010).

            With ethics and RET there are
conflicting views of the effectiveness therefore causing mixed interpretations
of what RET can and can’t or should and shouldn’t be used for, raising the
question of ethical use pertaining to certain disorder treatments (Haaga &
Davison, 1993). Another issue is treatment adherence with this therapy, in
order to evaluate effectiveness or ethical boundary one must adhere to the
specifications and a competence of execute them (Haaga & Davison, 1993).  One ethical code to be aware of with RET is
3.04 Avoiding harm, due to the somewhat abrasive nature of RET and the
possibility of harm in confrontation, although RET tries to minimize harm as
much as possible there is still a risk of psychological harm to the client (American
Psychological Association. Ethical
Principles of Psychologists and Code
of Conduct, 2010).

            Contemporary issues are issues or
topics that are currently under debate or discussion. In current psychology
contemporary issues are things such as treating sex offenders, dual diagnosis,
treating trauma, treating and diagnosing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
as well as personality disorders amongst others. Each contemporary issue raises
its own concerns for therapeutic practice. For the purpose of this paper I will
be examining how rational emotive therapy and feminist therapy would address
and confront post traumatic stress disorder and trauma.

            According to Zender (2017) trauma
results in lasting psychological and sometimes physical pain. Zender also
states, “We know that supportive, trauma-informed psychotherapy is highly
effective by teaching the survivor improved coping skills, stress and anger
management” (Zender, 2017, pg. 1). These skills have been highlighted as
effective in treatments for trauma, but the biggest emphasis in treatment is
the therapeutic relationship which helps to client gain trust and safety which
therefore aids in them getting better (Zender, 2017). The feminist theory of
therapy states that the therapeutic relationship is egalitarian meaning both
the client and therapist hold equal power (Corey, 2017). If someone adhering  solely to the Feminist theory of psychotherapy
were to be faced with a client who has a traumatic background they would
address the issue through the use of techniques such as empowerment, power
analysis, and assertiveness training (Corey, 2017). Empowerment allows the
client to have power to control the therapy sessions as well as gain power and
be aware that they are able to tackle any emotions that come up during a
session, as well as power analysis allows the therapist and client to analyze
the power shifts in the clients life (Corey, 2017). Assertiveness training aids
in helping the client boost their self esteem when it comes to being aware of
what they are in control of and where they do hold power (Corey, 2017). Also in
feminist theory there is a focus on reframing the issues which are the root
causes of distress for the client, in doing so it allows the client to
reevaluate the situation and how or why it bothers them (Corey, 2017). As for
Rational Emotive Therapy it is more confrontation based with less emphasis on
warmth, views problems as due to the way the client is interpreting a situation
(Corey, 2017). Rational Emotive Therapy would activate the event in the
client’s memory and work through cognitive reconstruction to desensitize them
from the event and make new associations and feelings to the specific event
(Corey, 2017). With RET there is an expectancy for improvement so there is a
pressure involved that comes with the risk of harm to the clients, whenever you
add an aspect of pressure or expectation especially with the confrontational
aspect of RET there is the presented risk of psychological harm to the client
which the therapist must remain aware of (Corey, 2017).

            Post traumatic stress disorder
occurs in someone who has experienced severe trauma (Tarrier, 2010). Tarrier
(2010) also mentions some of the difficulties for those suffering from PTSD is
their loved ones have little to no knowledge of PTSD –what it is and how it
affects those who have it, which makes it hard for sufferers to let them know
how they are feeling. “Effective treatments exist, and these include both
cognitive and behavioral, mainly exposure-based treatments,” although there
have been treatments proven to work there is still a difficulty surrounding the
go-to treatment for PTSD (Tarrier, 2010, pg. 1). Feminist therapy would
approach PTSD with warmth and understanding of the loss of power involved with
witnessed or going through a very traumatic event (Corey, 2017). As well as in
Feminist therapy there would be a reframing or relabeling of the main issues
afflicting the client (Corey, 2017). One aspect that feminist therapy utilizes
is group therapy, and with an issue like PTSD sometimes those dealing with the
symptoms associated with it like to know they are not alone, therefore group
therapy may prove beneficial for those clients (Corey, 2017). As for Rational
Emotive Therapy its process involves activating the event with the client,
observing the emotional and or behavioral consequences, disputing the
intervention, observing the effect and developing new emotions for that event
(Corey, 2017). For someone with PTSD a Rational Emotive therapist may use
Rational Emotive Imagery as a therapeutic technique, this is when the therapist
has the client picture the worst event that has or could happen to them and
explain their feelings associated with that event –all for the benefit of the
client to develop healthier emotions and associations regarding that event
(Corey, 2017).

            To conclude, rational emotive
therapy and feminist therapy are two very different techniques in therapy. On
one hand you have RET focuses on total acceptance not only of self but of all
things that one cannot control (Corey, 2017). On the other you have feminist
therapy in which with the therapist one analyzes the power in the world and how
that has affected the client on the individual level whether that be societal
or in their own family. Both therapies have empirically backed support as well
as different applicability and different places in the therapeutic world.  One is proven affective with depression
treatment while the other with the treatment of eating disorders.  As they are both very different therapies used
for different treatments they both remain necessary in the therapeutic world.