I need these questions in about 150 words each
1. As we read about May and existential therapy etc. attached is an interview with May about his approach. In this piece, he criticizes what he calls “gmmicks” and “quick fixes”. Well, as a behaviorally oriented psychologists and therapist, my goal with a client was to operationally describe the presenting issue, help the client to identify what would be different if that issue no longer existed, and then help the client engage in behaviors that moved toward his/her stated goals. May’s approach was quite different. If you were to be in therapy (and had to pay for it), what do you think?
2. May, gimmicks, and symptom subsitution
One of the issues with therapeutic approaches such May and Freud before him is this notion of symptom substitution. The idea that if one does not get to the “real root” of the problem and only treat the symptoms which may recede however other symptom will emerge. Is this true? I have not found that to be the case in my personal experience as a therapist nor is there any evidence for this.
Attached are 2 articles challenging the notion of symptom substitution. How do these pieces challenge May?
3. An interview with Yalom
As we read about Irving Yalom and his approach to psychotherapy attached is an interview with Yalom and this thoughts about therapy.
When we think about the various approaches to psychotherapy and philosophy it is critical to consider the historical context in which these ideas, philosophies emerge. Europe, from where existentialism developed, has a long and terrible history of war, death, oppression, etc.. Just consider the 20th Century in Europe, two devastating wars, the Holocaust etc… Freud lost a son in WWI which certainly influenced his notion of the “death instinct”. History, language etc is completely woven into the European mindset. The U.S. is a completely different cultural experience. Henry Ford was famous for saying, “history is bunk”. The American view, even with its overt racism, is a version of “can do” approach to existence. John Watson (who was a racist) famously said,
“Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. (1930)”
That is a distinctly American perspective, not a European one. Of course, racism, class issues contaminate this perspective. But from this uniquely American zeitgeist comes the development of Functionalism from William James and later the radical behaviorism of B.F. Skinner.
What do you think?