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Insight Therapy

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Insight Therapy

Life is tough sometimes. You might feel stuck in the middle of life’s pressures, stress, and challenging situations. Trying the best that we can to make things better and still encountering problems is incredibly discouraging. When we aren't sure what to do next, is there a type of therapy that can help us discover solutions to the challenges in our lives?

  • What are insight therapies in psychology?
  • What are the different types of insight therapies?
  • What kind of techniques are used in insight therapies?
  • What are some examples of the goals and differences of insight therapies?

Definition of Insight Therapy in Psychology

Insight therapies help a person self-reflect and search for solutions to life problems from within the self. Insight is suddenly realizing a solution to a problem you have been facing. There are three different therapeutic approaches that fall under the category of insight therapies: psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, and humanistic therapies. What makes them insight therapies?

These therapies seek to improve a client's psychological functioning by helping the client become more aware of their motives and defense mechanisms. Through guided sessions and a safe, trusting relationship, the client has the opportunity to develop greater self-awareness and understanding of their own thoughts and behavior patterns. This increased self-awareness is what insight therapists believe will improve the client's life.

Types of Insight Therapies

Psychoanalysis is the starting point for all types of therapy, but especially for insight therapy approaches in psychology. Freud created this type of therapy based on the idea that the unconscious mind holds information that can help us gain better insight into ourselves. Freud included aspects such as resistance, transference, and catharsis in psychoanalytic therapy.

Resistance is intentionally or unintentionally directing the conversation away from the parts of yourself that you don't want to face or talk about.

In psychoanalysis, clients can display resistance simply by arriving late to a session or not showing up at all. Freud was certain that spending time with a client would lead to transference. This meant that the client would begin treating the therapist as if they were someone else (maybe their mother or father). The client might even become angry or dependent on the therapist, depending on their relationship with the other person.

Catharsis is more of a goal or a good part of psychoanalysis. It is the pleasant release of emotions built up inside the client through talking about past experiences. Catharsis brings a feeling of relief and release of tension or anxiety that was attached to the past experience.

Psychodynamic Therapy

In psychodynamic therapy, the sessions focus on internal conflicts and motivations. They also focus on defense mechanisms: the client's problematic ways of dealing with life problems. Psychodynamic therapists believe that the unconscious mind influences how we act, think, and feel. They want to help their clients become more self-aware to take control of their lives.

Humanistic Therapy

The humanistic approach to therapy is all about the human potential for growth and the uniqueness of every person. There are many different types, but all of them are considered insight therapies. In the humanistic approach, problems in life are caused by external factors that restrict the client's inherent goodness and potential for growth.

Two of the main humanistic therapies are client-centered therapy developed by Carl Rogers and Gestalt psychotherapy developed by Fritz Perls. All humanistic approaches include a focus on the client's ideal self, developing a positive self-image, and identifying personal strengths. Humanistic therapists want their clients to realize that they can take control of their lives so that past experiences don't control them.

People create their own reality and continue to grow psychologically only as long as they perceive, stay aware of, and act on their true feelings." - Fritz Perls

Techniques in Insight Therapy

There are so many different insight therapy techniques! Some of them are unique to a particular approach, like psychoanalysis. Freud relied heavily on hypnosis, dream analysis, free association, and interpretations of life events.

Dream analysis was a huge part of Freud's approach to gaining insight into the unconscious mind. Freud believed there are hidden meanings in dreams, and he would ask clients to describe their dreams. Freud then provided an interpretation of the dreams based on any themes or symbols he noticed. The goal of dream analysis was to help the client gain insight into their dreams!

Free association in psychoanalysis means that the client says whatever comes to mind, especially things they don't want to admit! The idea was to freely release or talk about all of the client's thoughts and feelings. If a client became uncomfortable with free association and stopped sharing freely, Freud might interpret this as resistance or unresolved internal conflicts.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy grew out of Freud's psychoanalytic methods. It discards some parts of Freud's approach and keeps others. A psychodynamic therapist is still interested in helping the client gain insight into internal blocks or defenses against personal growth. Talking about the earliest years of life and other past experiences and relationships is the driving force of psychodynamic therapy.

How does a client's past impact what they are experiencing in the present? Is there any unfinished business from the past that the client needs to acknowledge and talk about? If the client can talk about past experiences and painful memories, this could help with gaining better self-awareness and insight into current struggles.

Humanistic Therapy

Humanistic approaches are all about championing the strengths and potential of each person. The therapist's goal is to create a warm, inviting, and accepting atmosphere that helps each client share freely and openly. Humanistic therapists focus on encouraging the client through the use of empathy and unconditional positive regard.

Unconditional positive regard is a pervasive attitude of acceptance towards a client and belief in the client's inner resources to overcome struggles.

Humanistic therapists strive to be genuine, sensitive listeners. They want each client to gain greater insight into anything standing in the way of their personal growth. Just like the other insight therapies, humanistic therapy is about helping the client build self-awareness and self-reflection skills. Unlike the other two approaches, however, humanistic therapy focuses on the present more than the past.

Insight Therapy, a clip art graphic of a female talking with a female counselor, StudySmarterTherapy, pixabay.com

Examples of Insight Therapies

Remember those two types of humanistic therapy we mentioned earlier? Even though they are both humanistic approaches, client-centered therapy and Gestalt therapy are different in several ways. The goal is the same, though: helping clients gain insight into themselves and their problems.

Client-Centered Therapy

Carl Rogers wanted to help his clients reflect on their own thoughts and feelings. He encouraged his clients to speak freely without interruptions without any possibility of feeling judged or shamed. Unlike Freud's approach, there is little interpretation in client-centered therapy. Instead of providing insight to the client, Rogers wanted to help clients discover their own insight. His approach to therapy is non-directive: the client is in control of each therapy session rather than the therapist.

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy is less directive than psychoanalysis, but it is more directive than client-centered therapy. Gestalt therapists purposefully push a client to make decisions and take control of life. The therapist uses strategic questions and challenging statements to move the client towards greater self-awareness and personal responsibility. Gestalt therapy also includes role-playing scenarios and dream interpretations (like psychoanalysis) to help the client gain insight.

Efficacy of Insight Therapies

Out of the different kinds of insight therapies, psychodynamic and client-centered therapies are the two most commonly used today. They are often combined with other therapy approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy to help a client as much as possible. Does insight therapy work? In general, insight therapies seem to be helpful for most clients. The reason they are helpful is due to building a client's self-awareness and ability to self-reflect. Armed with this new knowledge or insight about themselves, clients can apply what they learned in therapy to future situations and events.

Insight Therapy - Key takeaways

  • Insight therapies help a person self-reflect and search for solutions to life problems from within the self.
  • Insight is suddenly realizing a solution to a problem you have been facing.
  • There are three different therapeutic approaches that fall under the category of insight therapies: psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, and humanistic therapies.
  • Two of the main humanistic therapies are client-centered therapy developed by Carl Rogers and Gestalt psychotherapy developed by Fritz Perls.
  • Psychodynamic and client-centered therapies are the two insight therapies most commonly used today, and they are often combined with other therapy approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy

Frequently Asked Questions about Insight Therapy

Insight therapy in psychology is a type of therapy that combines several approaches. 

The goal of insight therapy is to identify internal conflicts hindering the client's growth. 

The difference between psychodynamic and humanistic therapy is the source of meaning and insight in the client's life.

The three insight therapies are different in their approaches to treating client concerns. 

Yes, insight therapy is generally effective for most clients.

Final Insight Therapy Quiz

Question

Insight therapy is made up of two types of therapeutic approaches; ____ and ____ therapies.

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Answer

psychodynamic and

humanistic

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Question

Who created client-centered therapy?

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Answer

Carl Rogers

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Question

True or False: Rogers felt that active listening was an important aspect of client-centered therapy.

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Answer

True

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What were the three aspects of active listening?


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Answer

Echo, restate, clarify

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What is unconditional positive regard in client-centered therapy?

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Answer

When the therapist is able to accept and understand their client.

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Question

In psychodynamic therapy, there is an emphasis on the themes of relationships in life in present times as well as in ______. 

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Answer

 childhood.

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Question

Who began psychoanalysis therapy?


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Answer

Carl Rogers 

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Question

______ means that a client is speaking without hesitation and allowing themselves to freely release or speak of all elements of their thoughts and feelings.

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Answer

Free association

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Question

If at any point, the free association slows and there seems to be a more calculated way of sharing from the patient, Freud would make notes and ask further questions. He named this

______.

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Answer

resistance

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True or false: client-centered therapy techniques include free association, discussing

dreams, understanding transference, and resistance to discussing particular feelings or events.

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Answer

False: Psychoanalysis therapy has these

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Question

_____ - When a client unconsciously, has or shares feelings and behaviors toward their therapist. These feelings could range from feelings of dependency or

even anger.

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Answer

transference 

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True or False: Creating a safe space for a client is one of the foundational elements of this type of insight therapy according to Rogers.

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Answer

true 

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Define psychotherapy.

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Answer

Psychotherapy refers to mental health treatment that includes talk therapy as a way to help people with a variety of mental health conditions and emotional difficulties.  

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What does mean that psychotherapists are mandated reports?

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Answer

This means that they must report anything that may put the client or others in imminent danger. They must also report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect.  

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True or False? All psychotherapies are made alike. 


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Answer

False.

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What are the four types of psychotherapy?

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Answer

individual

couples

family

group

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___________ may be designed for people with similar problems such as substance use, depression, obesity, panic attacks, eating disorders, social anxiety, or chronic pain.  

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Answer

Group therapy

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______________ therapy stems from the ideas of psychoanalysis in that it seeks to uncover hidden past events or trauma from childhood

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Answer

Psychodynamic

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Rather than focusing on the _______ like psychoanalysis or psychodynamic therapies, humanistic therapy focuses on a person's ________.

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Answer

past ; present

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____________ uses a combination of psychotherapy techniques.

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Answer

Integrative therapy

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True or False? IPT has no time limit and is usually forcused on the past. 

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Answer

False, IPT is time-limited and focused on the present

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Interpersonal therapists will identify an ________________ in which the patient's relationship patterns, capacity for intimacy, and current relationships are reviewed.

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Answer

interpersonal inventory

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________________ uses the psychedelic medication called ketamine as a psychotherapy technique for conscious awareness.

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Answer

Ketamine-assigned psychotherapy (KAP)

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True or False? An interpersonal therapist may encourage you to take appropriate social risks.


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True

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One of the goals of CBT is not for you to walk away miraculously cured but to walk away with clear ________ to use in everyday life.


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Answer

tools

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True or False? KPT is effective in treating depression and anxiety, as well as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and racial trauma. 

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Answer

True

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Question

_____________ is sometimes used to treat alcoholism by putting some substance in an alcohol drink that makes a person sick.

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Answer

Aversion therapy

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Define client-centered therapy.

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Answer

Client-centered therapy is a type of therapy that aims to help people strengthen personal authority over their own healing by promoting self-actualization and creating a safe and accepting space.

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Question

What technique does Carl Rogers outline in his work entitled Counseling and Psychotherapy (1942)? 

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Answer

his non-directive approach

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_______________ is the innate human desire and motivation to maintain and enhance themselves.  

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Answer

Actualizing tendency

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What is unconditional positive regard?


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Answer

A therapist's commitment to a radical form of acceptance.

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Question

What are the three techniques of active listening?

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Answer

Clarify

Paraphrase

Reflect

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True or False? Client-centered therapist will assign homework, even if the client didn't request it. 

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Answer

False, only when client requests it. 

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What is focusing-oriented therapy or experiential therapy?


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Answer

This therapy aims to help a person locate where in their body they are processing their experience or emotions.

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A client-centered therapist would allow a person to share freely their depressive thoughts and feelings, helping to ________ their experience.

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Answer

normalize

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The ______________ is how a person interprets and understands their value either externally or internally.

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locus of evaluation

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True or False? Client-centered therapy focuses on the person rather than the problem.

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Answer

True.

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Who originally developed emotion-focused therapy?

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Answer

Laura North Rice,

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Question

Which of the following is not a benefit of client-centered therapy?

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Answer

Makes a person more reliant on therapists and other people for support. 

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True or False? Emotion-focused therapy assumes that the client's problems stem from avoidance and dysregulation of their behavior

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Answer

False -- avoidance and dysregulation of their emotions.

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Question

Rogers drew from the ________ approach while developing client-centered therapy, however, rather than strictly implying that all humans are inherently good or evil, he suggested that all humans have an actualizing tendency.

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Answer

humanistic

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True or False? Client-centered therapists usually try to avoid giving specific directions while in therapy. 

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Answer

True

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Question

What is the goal of aversion therapy?

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Answer

To help people eliminate unwanted behaviors such as smoking by pairing the cigarette with a negative stimulus. 

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Question

Which one of these are types of psychotherapy?

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Answer

Couples psychotherapy

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Question

Psychotherapist usually maintain a confidential environment; however psychotherapists are______ which means that they must report anything that may put the client of others in___. Also, psychotherapists must report any suspicion of_____ 

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Answer

Mandatory reports, danger, child abuse

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Question

Why may someone seek psychotherapy?

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Answer

To achieve personal growth

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When is group psychotherapy the most effective?

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Answer

When people suffer from the same disorder such as substance abuse or social anxiety 

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What is the primary goal of psychoanalysis?

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Answer

To help the client identify past moments that may be causing their current distress

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Question

Which form os psychotherapy utilizes a non-directive approach with clients where clients are not directly told what to do?

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Answer

Humanistic therapy

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Question

What for of therapy focuses on the whole person and all parts that make up the person?

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Answer

Humanistic therapy 

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