At times great thinkers, philosophers, and educators of a given society tend te precipitate and ingenually costruct beliefs or theories about existing citizens in their society. These theories are usually based on specific traits, usually psychological, that certain people in their society may express. The studies and investigations of great thinkers such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Rodgers, and B.F. Skinner attempt to solidify, in terms of applicability, theories related to the guidance/counseling situation in modern school systems.
The examination of my thesis will include consideration of the purpose of guidance in schools by each theorist, and will attempt to describe how pupil personnel services might be organized, if one were to be consistent with each theorists concepts, as applied to the counseling realm.
As Mortensen states, in short, Freud represents the psychoanalytic approach, Rodgers represents the humanistic or person-centered approach, and Skinner represents the behaviorist approach (112). Accordingly, the goals and techniques in the guidance/counseling milieu are strongly contrastive among the three theorists. In addition, the three approaches are obviously more individually effective in dealing with appropriate problems. For example, Freuds psychoanalytic approach would be most effective in counseling a student with family problems, rather than a student who merely wishes technical advice on a career choice. Taking Freud first, we find that although he wrote in a letter to Jung, Psychoanalysis is in essence a cure through love (Bettelheim 32), the fact is that the psychoanalyst, or the counselor basing his or her guidance on psychoanalysis, is the ultimate definer of every aspect of the encounter with the patient,
client or student.
Bettelheim correctly argues that Freud has been misunderstood by many translators and therefore, unfairly lableled as an inhumane tyrant, desiring primarily to control human lives and define reality in his own terms (134). Accordingly, one might expect the counselor using his theories to try to dictate to the student seeking guidance. While this may be a harsh conclusion to Bettelheim, it is an inevitable one when we consider the Freudian approach in comparison to the client-centered approach of Rodgers, for example. On the other hand, Skinner, as we shall see, would devise an even more harsh counseling program in terms of eliminating consideration of the students freedom and individuality. One can not quarrel, in any case, with Bettelheims basic argument that the purpose of Freuds lifelong struggle was to help us understand our self , so that we would no longer be propelled by forces unknown to us, to live lives of discontent, or perhaps outright misery, and to make others miserable, very much to our own detriment (169-71). But honorable purpose are often achieved through means which lead to the domination of one person over another.
In the case of school counseling; the imbalance in power would be even more drastic in a program based on psychoanalysis. Lindsey states the fundamental definition of psychoanalysis as being: a method of studying human behavior, as well as a method of treatment (27). This simply means that psychoanalysis combines the use of free association, the subject speaks the first thought that comes to mind without inhibition or censorship; a permissive setting, and typically a couch on which the patient reclines, looking away from the therapist. The patient begins to reveal a host of material that is not only private, but also unconscious in
that the patient is not consciously aware of what he or she is saying at the given time. As Dyer states, Freuds theory emphasizes the overriding importance of early (particularly infantile) experience, of sexual drives and of the unconscious, in determining adult behavior (407-408). The individuals early relations with his or her parents are (seen to be) vital in the young individuals development (Lindzey 34).
Clearly then one can see that Freuds approach as applied to counseling in schools is limited, first because psychoanalysis is more effective in treating adults rather than children or teenagers, and second because it would in any case only be useful in treating students whose primary problem is a deep-seeded emotional one. This approach is not as useful or convenient in treating the student with more practical needs that are simply not found in psychological turmoil. The purpose of guidance in .