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CBT VS. Existential-Humanistic Therapy
AH is a 39-year-old African American female who lives with her husband and four children. Her children’s ages are 16, 11, 5, and 7 months old. She has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The client had a two-week-old son that died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) two years ago. The client’s symptomology includes tearful episodes, anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, depression, hopelessness, decreased concentration, and poor sleep. The client is taking Cognitive behavioral therapy and as the provider thinking about starting extrinsic -humanistic treatment. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been proven by research to help clients with PTSD (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2019). This paper will explore the strengths and challenges of CBT and existential-humanistic therapy for a client with PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a first-line treatment choice for clients with depression. CBT has a tone of evidence-based practice for treating a wide variety of mental health disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on changing the client’s attitudes and behavior to change behaviors, ultimately, attitudes toward self, and improve emotional reaction. CBT is a broader therapy and offers the client coping skills to deal with life events. Existential-humanistic treatment is a more focused therapy that focuses the clients on self-awareness and individual goal (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2019)s. This type of therapy does not focus on the disease but decreases symptoms by increasing the client’s self-worth.
Both therapy options would be great for AH. I would use CBT first to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and nightmares. Existential-humanistic therapy would be offered later to increase the client’s self-worth. As a provider, it is essential to understand when to introduce new treatment. According to Wheeler (2014), the humanistic-existential approach has long served as a foundation for psychiatric nursing, emphasizing self-actualization, facilitative communication, and the therapeutic relationship (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2019). Existential-humanistic therapy can be beneficial when a therapeutic relationship is and the idea that achieving wellness is a process (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2019).
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2019). Brief Interventions and Brief Therapies for Substance Abuse. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration US. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 34. Chapter 6 – Brief Humanistic and Existential Therapies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64939
Wheeler, K. (Ed.). (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.