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?  

Insight Therapy Insight Therapy

Create learning materials about Insight Therapy with our free learning app!

  • Instand access to millions of learning materials
  • Flashcards, notes, mock-exams and more
  • Everything you need to ace your exams
Create a free account
Contents
Table of contents
    • 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

    What is insight therapy in psychology?

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

    What is the goal of insight therapy?

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

    What is the difference between psychodynamic and humanistic therapy?

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

    How are the three insight therapies different?

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

    Is insight therapy effective?

    Yes, insight therapy is generally effective for most clients.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Who created client-centered therapy?

    Who began psychoanalysis therapy?

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

    Next
    1
    About StudySmarter

    StudySmarter is a globally recognized educational technology company, offering a holistic learning platform designed for students of all ages and educational levels. Our platform provides learning support for a wide range of subjects, including STEM, Social Sciences, and Languages and also helps students to successfully master various tests and exams worldwide, such as GCSE, A Level, SAT, ACT, Abitur, and more. We offer an extensive library of learning materials, including interactive flashcards, comprehensive textbook solutions, and detailed explanations. The cutting-edge technology and tools we provide help students create their own learning materials. StudySmarter’s content is not only expert-verified but also regularly updated to ensure accuracy and relevance.

    Learn more
    StudySmarter Editorial Team

    Team Insight Therapy Teachers

    • 8 minutes reading time
    • Checked by StudySmarter Editorial Team
    Save Explanation

    Study anywhere. Anytime.Across all devices.

    Sign-up for free

    Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.

    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

    The first learning app that truly has everything you need to ace your exams in one place

    • Flashcards & Quizzes
    • AI Study Assistant
    • Study Planner
    • Mock-Exams
    • Smart Note-Taking
    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App