Humanistic approaches to treatment

In this week’s discussion we will be exploring some professional treatment techniques in clinical psychology. Postmodern and constructivist psychotherapeutic strategies have become common, replacing or modifying traditional cognitive-behavioral, psychoanalytic, and humanistic approaches to treatment. Evidence-based research about the effectiveness of these treatments is accumulating. For this week’s discussion you are asked to:

Part I

Choose two of the approaches below, one from group a) and one from group b). Familiarize yourself with them by doing an online search and then share with us briefly a description of the approach you have chosen and any thoughts you may have about it.

1. First:


Solution-Focused Therapy

Schema Therapy


Emotion-Focused Therapy

Narrative Therapy


2.  Click on “Resources” on the NavBar > Library and enter separately each of your two. Be sure to search for “___________  Psychotherapy.” Just using the word “therapy” will often take you off track.

a) Investigate a few journal articles that have to do with the approaches you have chosen and then choose one of each of those articles to share the results with us. Be sure to provide us with a reference, APA style, so we can access the article ourselves.

b) Then, briefly share with us your thoughts and impressions about whether or not this type of treatment would be useful for Case Study 1 (Jessica) and/or Case Study 2 (Kristen) (see below):

Case Study 1 (Jessica):

Jessica is a 28 year-old married female. She has a very demanding, high stress job as a second year medical resident in a large hospital. Jessica has always been a high achiever. She graduated with top honors in both college and medical school. She has very high standards for herself and can be very self-critical when she fails to meet them. Lately, she has struggled with significant feelings of worthlessness and shame due to her inability to perform as well as she always has in the past. For the past few weeks Jessica has felt unusually fatigued and found it increasingly difficult to concentrate at work. Her coworkers have noticed that she is often irritable and withdrawn, which is quite different from her typically upbeat and friendly disposition. She has called in sick on several occasions, which is completely unlike her. On those days she stays in bed all day, watching TV or sleeping.

At home, Jessica’s husband has noticed changes as well. She’s shown little interest in things she used to like and has had difficulties falling asleep at night. Her insomnia has been keeping him awake as she tosses and turns for an hour or two after they go to bed. He’s overheard her having frequent tearful phone conversations with her closest friend, which have him worried. When he tries to get her to open up about what’s bothering her, she pushes him away with an abrupt “everything’s fine”. Although she hasn’t ever considered suicide, Jessica has found herself increasingly dissatisfied with her life. She’s been having frequent thoughts of wishing she was dead. She gets frustrated with herself because she feels like she has every reason to be happy, yet can’t seem to shake the sense of doom and gloom that has been clouding each day as of late.

Case Study 2 (Kristen):

Kristen is a 38 year-old divorced mother of two teenagers. She has had a successful, well paying career for the past several years in upper-level management. Even though she has worked for the same, thriving company for over 6 years, she’s found herself worrying constantly about losing her job and being unable to provide for her children. This worry has been troubling her for the past 8 months. Despite her best efforts, she hasn’t been able to shake the negative thoughts. Ever since the worry started, Kristen has found herself feeling restless, tired, and tense. She often paces in her office when she’s there alone. She’s had several embarrassing moments in meetings where she has lost track of what she was trying to say. When she goes to bed at night, it’s as if her brain won’t shut off. She finds herself mentally rehearsing all the worse case scenarios regarding losing her job, including ending up homeless.

c) Describe to us your thoughts about which of the two therapies you chose above might be the best choice for clients with a dominant trait of: Thinking, Feeling, Sensing, or Intuition, orientated toward extraversion or introversion, and experiencing the world with a preference for judging or perceiving. No need to labor over this. All we need is your perception of any specific types that you think might respond well to that particular treatment approach, or have problems with it. Might it be good for thinking type sensors, such as ESTJs? Feeling type intuitives such as INFPs? Might an ENTJ be uncomfortable with it? etc. Please just give us your thoughts.

Part II

Finally, you are asked to do an internet search for the technical notion of “Effect Size” in psychological research. Briefly tell us why psychology’s more recent interest and emphasis on effect size is important (vs. just reporting that a difference is “significant” (i.e. meaning that at a probability of .01 or .05 ( p=.01, or p=.05 , etc.) a result is significantly different from a “zero”). Note that you are not required to discuss the technical details of the concept of effect size. However, do tell us why you think the effect size should be reported and whether or not the effect size appeared to be mentioned in an article you read in response to in Part 1, 2 above.




Part 1.

The Clinical Interview is an important initial step in the Assessment process.  Clinical psychologists use the Clinical Interview for a number of reasons.  Read the following article by clicking on the link below.  In particular, pay particular attention on how to assess special populations.  In addition, please read the additional learning resources in Week 4.

While the article briefly mentions children and adolescents as special populations, please identify at least one additional special population.  Then, provide a rationale of why you believe this group should have specialized clinical interview questions.  Finally, specify at least one question to ask this group in your answer.

Part 2.

We also need to examine how the DSM 5 and assessment intertwine. For example, the DSM 5 proposed a Section III  Multidimensional Personality Trait Model suggesting that the Big Five, the Five Factor Model of personality (FFM), are similar to the domains of personality psychopathology. Thus, a continuum is proposed and extreme scores on those “Big Five” scales represent psychopathology: Neuroticism vs. Emotional Stability, Detachment vs. Extroversion, Antagonism vs. Agreeableness, and Psychoticism vs. Lucidity (high neuroticism and high openness to experience).

Familiarize yourself with these dimensions by taking a sample of the Big Five test at: and also take and explore Dr. Phil’s very quick version:

Give us your thoughts about the validity and importance of these personality dimensions as diagnostic categories. The Big Five was not originally designed for that. Is this program a responsible suggestion or is the possible motive likely related to increased profit, the diagnosis and treatment of more customers? Where would you draw the “disordered” line on an individual’s score on each of these five dimensions? The Big Five is a normative measure so all one would need to make an official diagnosis is a number.

Actually, the DSM 5 introduced an expanded interpretation of the Big Five in terms of these dimensions  It may be informative for yourself and us if you shared your actual Big Five test results with us if you are willing to. However, it is definitely not at all a requirement.

Part 3.

a) Go to resources > Library and search for “The Big Five and mental health.” Describe an article that interests you and share with us your thoughts about it. Of course, we will need a reference so we can access it.  Please include the link in your post.

b) Do a second search but this time search for Big Five and mental health and one of the five dimensions that interests you or a clinical syndrome that interests you (depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, etc.). Again, share with us your thoughts about it.

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