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[ANSWERED 2023] Both psychoanalysis and Gestalt therapy consider that dream exploration can be used as an effective therapeutic technique

Last Updated on 03/08/2023 by Admin

Both psychoanalysis and Gestalt therapy consider that dream exploration can be used as an effective therapeutic technique

5.1. Approaches to Dream Work

Both psychoanalysis and Gestalt therapy consider that dream exploration can be used as an effective therapeutic technique.  However, the two schools propose very different approaches to dream work.  Which approach would you favour and why?

  • The last post is due at the end of Sunday of this unit.

Expert Answer and Explanation

Psychoanalysis is a therapeutic method designed by Sigmund Freud. The primary assumption of psychoanalysis is that all individuals possess unconscious feelings, thoughts, memories, and desires (Safran et al., 2019). On the other hand, Gestalt therapy is a psychotherapy that stresses personal responsibility and gives weight to the client’s experience at the present (Wagner-Moore, 2004). I would select the approach to work with depending on the client I am handling.

For instance, if a patient has trauma, I would select free speech therapy by Freud. In this form of therapy, the patient should lie on a couch and the therapist sits behind them capturing notes while the client freely talks about their nightmares, memories, and dreams (Safran et al., 2019). In bream work therapy, the patient will be asked by the counselor to share their dreams. Dreams represent the wish to achieve the unconscious desires and conflicts.

I would select the psychoanalysis approach because through dreams I can identify the conflicts between the patient’s unconscious and conscious mind. Safran et al. (2019) note that dreams have both latent and manifest content that can help counselors identify what is wrong with their patients. This therapy is significant in determining the source of trauma and working with the client to solve it.


Safran, J. D., Kriss, A. & Foley, V. K. (2019). Psychoanalytic therapies. In D. Wedding & R. J. Corsini (Eds.), Current psychotherapies (11th ed.) pp. 21-58. Boston, MA: Cengage.

Wagner-Moore, L. E. (2004). Gestalt Therapy: Past, Present, Theory, and Research. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 41(2), 180.

5.2. Interruptions to Contact vs. Ego Defense Mechanisms

Gestalt therapy identifies a number of problematic patterns of interpersonal relationships called Interruptions/Resistances to Contact or Boundary Disturbances.  These maladaptive interpersonal patterns are similar, though not identical, to some of the ego defense mechanisms identified in psychoanalysis.  Based on your understanding of the psychoanalytical and the Gestalt concepts, which of the two sets of constructs do you find more useful for conceptualizing and addressing potential clients’ concerns?

  • The last post is due at the end of Sunday of this unit.

Expert Answer and Explanation

5.2. Interruptions to Contact vs. Ego Defense Mechanisms

Based on my understanding of the two theories, I find psychoanalysis more useful for conceptualizing and addressing potential clients’ concerns. Ego-defenses can be defined as psychological strategies that are used to protect an individual from anxiety from unwanted feelings and thoughts in an unconscious manner (Freud, 1937).

Defense mechanisms help remove unpleasant feelings by operating at unconscious level. Defense mechanisms, such as denial and repression can help a counselor identify the unpleasant feelings the patient is suppressing or denying (Freud, 1933). For instance, if a clients is suffering from grief, a counselor can identify this concern by listening to how the patient is denying the problem or suppressing it.

Understanding defense mechanisms can help a therapist understand the client in depth. For instance, a counselor can conclude as a client is angry if the patient uses displacement to defend themselves from anxiety (Freud, 1937). Angry clients can displace their anger by taking it out on their family members or throwing things. After finding that the client has anger issues, the counselor can now work with them to help them control their anger and adapt good behaviors when they are angry (Freud, 1933). Ego defense mechanisms can also help a client clarify conflicting behavior.


Freud, A. (1937). The Ego and the mechanisms of defense, London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis.

Freud, S. (1933). New introductory lectures on psychoanalysis. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis. Pp. xi + 240.

Both psychoanalysis and Gestalt therapy consider that dream exploration can be used as an effective therapeutic technique

Assignment 2: Assignment 2: Humanistic Approaches


Do NOT exceed one double-spaced page (two or three paragraphs) for each of your answers. Please format your assignment in Word (files with extension .doc or .docx), or Rich Text Format (files with extension .rtf). Include a title page and a reference page. An introduction/conclusion is not necessary. Organize the answers using APA style.

Answer the following three short-answer questions (250 words for each answer, approximately 750 words per assignment):

  • What are some of the possible cross-cultural limitations of the person-centred approach to counselling?
  • Helping clients create meaning in their lives is arguably the ultimate goal of Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy; however, this process may appear quite abstract and esoteric to many clients and counsellors. Das (1998) articulated four specific steps that help make this process more concrete and relevant for both counsellors and clients. Briefly describe those four steps.
  • Identify a hypothetical counselling scenario (client’s presenting concern) in which you would appropriately use the Gestalt empty-chair technique. In your answer, briefly describe how you would actually implement the empty-chair technique and provide a rationale for its use (i.e., what is the expected outcome of this intervention, given the hypothetical presenting concern you have selected).

Information Regarding Citations

Any sources used to support your Written Narrative should, of course, be cited using correct APA format. And although it can be a useful starting place to gather very general information, in order to later verify it with more substantial sources, no Wikipedia references will be accepted as scholarly citations. Here’s just one reason why:


*The “Submit” button will appear 72 hours before the due date for this assignment. This means that you must upload the final draft of your assignment during this 72-hour period from when the button appears and the due date passes.

Please do not email your submissions to your professor, either before or after the due date; all coursework should be submitted through the online course (Moodle).



The following rubric indicates those areas you should be focusing on in preparing your assignment, and how the professor will weigh these components relative to one another.

Criteria % of Assignment Grade
1. Substantive content that answers correctly and directly the questions posed /50
2. Evidence of completion of required readings /35
3. Clarity of writing style, correct grammar, use of Canadian English spelling, and punctuation /5
4. Compliance with the APA style guidelines for general formatting, citations, and references /10
TOTAL /100

Expert Answer and Explanation

Cross-Cultural Limitations of the Person-Centered Approach 

A person-centered approach is beneficial in counseling. However, the approach has several cross-cultural limitations. One of the limitations of the person-centered approach is that it can lead the therapist to misinterpret the client’s specific traditions and norms, which can interfere this the professional’s ability to generate correspondence.

According to Wressle and Samuelsson (2004) note that the danger of misinterpretation of clients’ norms and beliefs can be amplified by the therapist’s incomplete set of skills. The second barrier of this approach is that some behaviors might be acceptable in one culture but unacceptable in another culture (Sharkey et al., 2010). Therefore, teaching a patient to avoid certain behaviors that are accepted in western cultures’ but not other settings is hard. The client might resist the therapy due to the difference in beliefs between the professional and the patient.

The third limitation of the cross-cultural limitation of the client-centered approach is the probability that the counselor might emphasize more on the three core conditions that surround the clients or their unconditional understanding of the patients (MacDougal, 2002). As a result, the approach often holds back the therapists’ role of providing clients actual help.

The fourth limitation is that the therapist might forget their power as professionals in a patient-centered approach. Being client-centered can prevent them from clearly communicating with their patients. Some clients might be demanding and not all therapists can accept or understand them (Wressle & Samuelsson, 2004). The approach often forces counselors to act patients to focus on self-actualization for them to cope with their issues. However, this might be the case for all clients.

Four Steps by Das (1998)

According to Das (1998), Frankl (1965) proposed a four-step process to logotherapy. The first step is the application for dereflection which requires counselors to help patients divert their attention from the current issue. Frankl believed that people find satisfaction and meaning by engaging themselves in certain activities.

An example of dereflection is when an individual is clouded by their personal objectives and starts to feel depressed when they think that they cannot achieve their goals. The second step is modulation of attitude (Das, 1998). In this step, the therapist is needed to help their clients view their problems from a different angle. For instance, a counselor can help a client view their problems as a starting point to new life and not their downfall.

The third involves preparing patients to be open to new meanings (Das, 1998). Using Socratic dialogue, Frankl (1965) noted that the process of search for meaning is a joint process where the clients and therapists are equal partners. Learning is supported by Socratic questions with his dialogue and hence allows patients to identify their truths.

This step can be achieved through metaphors and stories. Counselors can use the techniques to help create new meanings about their problems and issues. The last step involves assisting patients to pursue new goals and make fresh commitments (Das, 1998). After clients have developed new meanings about various aspects of life, they should be helped by the counselor to have a fresh start through goal setting.

Gestalt Empty-Chair Technique 

Gestalt empty chair technique is a type of therapy that requires a counselor to place the client in a counseling session across from an empty chair (Wagner-Moore, 2004). The patient is then asked to imagine that another person, such as their children, partner, relative, or employer is sitting in an empty chair.

The counselor then encourages dialogue between the client and the empty chair to engage the patient’s emotions, behaviors, and thoughts (Wagner-Moore, 2004). John Doe came to me needing help to get along with his wife. However, he noted that he is afraid of facing his wife because he cheated on her with her friend. He noted that “I love my wife so much that I cannot face her after the act.” I would you empty-chair technique to treat this patient.

I would apply the technique by asking the patient to sit facing an empty chair. I would then ask him to imagine the wife is the empty chair. I would then ask him to talk to the chair as he was communicating with her wife. Gestalt empty-chair technique is applicable when the patient needs to talk to someone unavailable to them (Conoley et al., 9183). In my case, the technique is useful because the patient is afraid of talking to his wife but needs to express how he feels. The expected outcome for therapy is that after the session, the patient will have the courage to face his wife as ask for forgiveness.


Conoley, C. W., Conoley, J. C., McConnell, J. A., & Kimzey, C. E. (1983). The effect of the ABCs of Rational Emotive Therapy and the empty-chair technique of Gestalt Therapy on anger reduction. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 20(1), 112.

Das, A. J. (1998). Frankl and the realm of meaning. Journal of Humanistic Education and Development, 36(4), 199-212.

Frankl, V. (1965). The doctor and the soul. New York: Bantam Books.

MacDougal, C. (2002). Rogers’s person-centered approach: consideration for use in multicultural counselling. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 42(2), 248-265. doi: 10.1177/0022167802422005

Sharkey, J. D., Sander, J. B., & Jimerson, S. R. (2010). Acculturation and mental health: Response to a culturally-centered delinquency intervention. Journal of Criminal Justice. 10(36), 1-8. Retrieved from

Wagner-Moore, L. E. (2004). Gestalt Therapy: Past, Present, Theory, and Research. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 41(2), 180.

Wressle, E., & Samuelsson, K. (2004). Barriers and bridges to client-centred occupational therapy in Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 11(1), 12-16. doi: 10.1080/11038120410019135

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Both psychoanalysis and Gestalt therapy consider that dream exploration can be used as an effective therapeutic technique

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