John Suler's Teaching Clinical Psychology
Theories of Psychotherapy
Course Outline(PSY 305)
Dr. John Suler
Science and Technology Center
Photo by Asia Suler
This course surveys the theories and techniques of psychotherapy, including the psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral. and humanistic approaches. Case studies, role plays, and in-class exercises will illustrate the principles of therapeutic change. The exercises often are experiential because they encourage students to apply psychotherapy concepts to their own lives. Students will also undertake an experiential project outside of class that will help them personally explore the psychotherapeutic process. This project is a contemporary version of an ancient practice known as the "vision quest." Participation in any of the experiential activities in this course is optional by recommended.
Madman: Strange Adventures of a Psychology Intern, by John Suler
With irreverent humor, a surreal imagination, and undercurrents of eastern philosophy, this coming-of-age novel captures the point of view of a young clinical psychologist, Thomas Holden. A keen observer with a comic eye, Holden's ongoing musings about his strange experiences with patients and staff expose both the absurdity and the idealism inherent in psychotherapy.
The Fifty Minute Hour, by Robert Lindner
In this collection of classic case studies - including a psychopath, a political radical, and a brilliant but psychotic scientist - Lindner reveals the inner workings of traditional, but also renegade, psychoanalytic methods.
Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl
A German psychiatrist, stripped of his life and imprisoned in a Nazi concentration, tells the psychological tale of what it's like to survive the camps, and proposes a theory of psychotherapy that emphasizes finding love, hope, and meaning in life.
On Life after Death, by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
After spending decades in her pioneering work of counseling peopl who are dying, Kubler-Ross becomes fascinated by the therapeutic impact of life after death experiences.
I. The "Big Picture" of Psychotherapy
II. Psychodynamic and Eclectic Therapies (Read: Suler and Lindner)
A. Overview of psychodynamic therapies*Midterm Exam: Lectures in I and II; Lindner book
B. Two essentials: Dreams & childhood memories
--- (dream exercise - childhood memory exercise)
C. Traditional/orthodox psychoanalysis
D. Contemporary psychoanalytic approaches (the shadow exercise)
E. Basic elements of psychodynamic and eclectic therapies
- the intake interview and first sessionsF. Role plays
...(an intake interview with Wilfred and the Personal Timeline exercise)
- early therapist/client relationships
- resistance (secrets and resistance exercise)
- imagery and somatic techniques (the imagined house exercise)
- transference and countertransference
III. Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
A. Overview of behavior and cognitive therapies
B. Aversion, exposure, flooding, implosion (implosion exercise)
C. Relaxation techniques
D. Modeling and behavioral rehearsal (assertiveness training)
E. Cognitive restructuring (exercise in cognitive interventions)
IV. Humanistic-Existential Therapies (READ: Frankl and Kubler-Ross)
A. Client- centered therapy (reflection exercise)V. The "best" psychotherapies
B. Existential therapy
C. Gestalt therapy
D. Eastern methods of transformation (Zen, meditation, the I Ching)
E. The vision quest
F. Death, dying, and the "after-life"
*Final Exam: Lectures in III and IV
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