Exploring integrative humanistic approaches to treating generalised anxiety and panic disorder
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BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this study is to explore how integrative humanistic psychotherapists experience treating clients suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Panic Disorder (PD). It seeks to explore the many varied approaches, attitudes, preferences and complicating factors which pertain to the integrative humanistic treatment of these disorders where it is felt there is a general lack of pre-existing research. Using a qualitative approach, the study sets out to explore as many themes as practically possible by interviewing experienced, fully accredited psychotherapists who experience GAD and PD presenting in their practice on a regular basis. For this, a series of four semi-structured depth interviews were undertaken, from which the data was deciphered using the method of thematic analysis. This method was chosen due in particular to the subjective nature of the subject matter. This exploration was then launched from a base of having extensively examined pre-existing research and theory, so as to gain as great an understanding as possible in to the many perspectives of differing disciplines and philosophies alike. The most surprising findings were the sometimes wildly opposing views and styles held by participants – all from very a similar training and background - towards the treatment of GAD and PD. However, it can also be said that equally as many common, very human threads emerged in how humanistic psychotherapists address these disorders. Further issues which emerged through the data related to the impact which psychoactive medication and the introduction of the medical model have on the psychotherapeutic treatment of GAD and PD, as well as attitudes and preferences surrounding complimentary techniques employed by therapists in the therapeutic process. The study further considered recommendations and possible implications for treating GAD and PD from an Integrative and Humanistic approach in the future.