Psychotherapy: A critical guide by R. van Deth (auth.)

By R. van Deth (auth.)

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These treatments were thought to restore mental balance and calm down ‘overstimulated nerves’. Following some French physicians, doctors increasingly used hypnosis in hysterical patients (see 7 Box 2-1). These (mostly female) patients were troubled with unexplained afflictions such as paralysis, deafness, and blindness, which appeared to indicate serious physical ailments, but for which medical examination provided no physical cause. Some physicians assumed a mental cause, and tried to cure their patients by suggesting that their symptoms would disappear under hypnosis.

Box 1-11: Controversy Surrounding the No-Suicide Contract To prevent the suicide of a person evaluated as being of suicidal risk, a no-suicide contract can be used. The clients are asked explicitly to ‘promise’ (and often in writing as proof ) they will not attempt suicide for a certain period of time. There are many different opinions on the usefulness of such a contract. According to some, it really does help the suicidal client: it alleviates any pressing thoughts of (or fear of ) suicide, and gives the client the supportive and reassuring message that the therapist is concerned about him/her.

Repression resistance refers to the response of not allowing unacceptable impulses, memories and feelings to surface in the conscious mind; there is too much fear to be able to learn effectively. –– Superego-resistance has to do with guilt or a need for punishment, as a result of which improvement (disappearance of symptoms) provokes more tension. –– Resistance by secondary gain usually means that by giving up symptoms, one also loses certain advantages linked to these symptoms. Resistances linked to family and partner relations.

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