These are the assumptions of psychotherapy which differentiate one psychotherapist from another. An assumption is basically a major premiss that is accepted as being true or as certain to happen, without proof. These assumptions, once accepted, generate inevitable logical consequences that will create a cohesive structure to the theoretical background of a particular psychotherapist. Thus as a psychotherapist, the therapy I practise are equally based on fundamental assumptions, that are different from many other therapists. I, for instance, have questioned the assumptions of many psychologists, and this has lead me to conclude that most psychological theories are dead wood, or psychological debris that we need to sweep aside, if we want to develop our own theory or assumptions.
People with anxiety disorder are told to do “breathing exercises” which may be a valid “management technique”, but does nothing to “cure” anxieties. Drug addicts, withdrawing from drugs, are advised to exercise strenuously each day to reduce withdrawal symptoms, or to do “meditation” or “yoga” as techniques to “manage” their symptoms. One feature of management techniques is that they need to be repeated periodically. One may have to take AD medication for life. Some management techniques are healthier than others. For instance daily exercises, meditation and taking your dog for a walk, or pursuing a hobby may be healthier than drinking coffee to give you a lift or even smoking pot. Hence managing an illness is not necessarily to cure it and some management techniques may be preferable to others.
I would like to summarise my assumptions that are fundamental to my approach to psychotherapy and that seems to distinguish it or could be in conflict with the majority opinion among
This does not mean that I do not recognize mood disorders (or depression) that are environmental in nature and are not necessarily caused by biochemical disorders. Traumatic events and stressors of life do interfere with the production of feel good neurotransmitters and this could cause a person to feel depressed, as in bereavement or rejection of love. But most people who enjoy good health recover from these events and are able to resume life. This is not the case with endogenous depression when people seek the assistance of psychotherapists.
Major premiss No 2: Most of mood disorders can be treated by nutritional means.
Another vast range of possible illnesses affecting moods are digestive disorders. The simple reason is that these diseases can interfere with the proper absorption of essential nutrients that are forerunners of feel good neurotransmitters.
Major premiss No 3: Psychotherapy is strictly a “here-and-now” kind of therapy.
Thus if we see a young woman, who has an extreme low self-esteem, we may find that she has been sexually abused as a child. We naturally tend to assume that her sexual abuse has something to do or even could be the cause of her present day behaviour. According to some psychological theories, her past history gives us an explanation of her present-day behaviour. Some therapists or parents may – intentionally or unintentionally – even create false memories to explain abnormal mood disorders (Various magazine reports). A person under stress may fall victim to delusions in some circumstances. But by the same token, her present behaviour can also be explained – not by her past – but by her present experiences, if, for instance, she has a metabolic disorder, or if she has a negative self-image. She would lack the social skills to handle people or form any close and loving relationships. All these factors are treatable in the here-and-now without having necessarily to know anything about her social history.
The behaviour of an alcoholic jealous husband who has beaten his wife could easily be explained by his social history. We may find that he was brought up in a family where parents were alcoholic and violent. He reported that his mother had multiple extramarital relationships with other men. This could easily explain why he walked around with an attitude “that women cannot be trusted”. He beat his wife, because according to him she came home late one night and told him “a lie”, claiming that she met some female friends. In fact, she told him the truth, but he simply did not believe her and now his marriage is on the rocks.
Indeed, his social history gives a good explanation for his present behaviour, but has it any therapeutic value? If we assume, as I do, that causes of present day behaviour lie in the here-and-now, and not in the past, his behaviour can also be explained by his present day jealousy stemming from a very low self-esteem – “why would any woman (including my wife) be interested with me”. Other factors are his addiction to alcohol and anger-control issues, all of which are signs of a metabolic disorder. They operate in the here-and-now and can be treated in the here-and-now. There are many other factors that can be treated regardless of any knowledge of a person’s social history. We do not need a social history to treat him now. In fact his social history could stand in the way of immediate treatment!
Social histories provide interesting explanations of behaviour, but they usually have little therapeutic value. My assumption is that the causes of behaviour lie in the “here-and-now”. We cannot change the past, we cannot use our parents as scape goats for present day behaviour, nor blame our peers, or society or whatever else is happening in our present environment. We are the cause of our behaviour. We simply need to to tackle biological aspects first and then learn the social skills, in the here-and-now, to earn our rewards and happiness, regardless and in spite of our past!
It is therapeutically more efficient to assume that all causes of human behaviour occurs in the here-and-now, and that although personality development may have an interesting past history culminating in present behaviour, that behaviour can be radically changed by interventionist therapeutic techniques that ignores the past and looks strictly at present day aspects of personality; such as metabolism, self-image, assertiveness, communication skills, and one’s values system.