Three Basic Theoretical Models

ThreeBasic Theoretical Models

ThreeBasic Theoretical Models

Thethree basic theoretical models (including psychoanalysis theory,reality therapy, and behavioral learning theory) provide significantframeworks used in psychotherapy. These models have two majorsimilarities. First, they aim at empowering the client to takecontrol over the psychological issues disturbing them. This impliesthat the role of the psychotherapist is to give guidance to clientsto solve their own problems and not solving problems on behalf ofclients. Secondly, an effective implementation of these modelsrequire the psychotherapist to avoid being judgmental or blaming theclient. This prevents the problem of making the client feel guilty.

Althoughthe three models have several similarities, they have some points ofdivergence. The psychoanalytic theory focuses on unconsciousmotivations and thoughts (McLeod, 2007). Treatment underpsychoanalysis is achieved by bringing unconscious conflict toconsciousness in order to help the client deal with historicalconflicts that might have subjected them to the risk of engaging indelinquency. For example, the therapist can help the client identifythe origin of their present depression and give them guidance on howto deal with these conflicts.

Thereality therapy focuses on the current experiences and avoids thatpast (Grant, 2007). This is because the theory is based on the notionthat the present human problems results from a failure to satisfy thepresent relationships. For example, some people try to findmeaningful relationships through other means, such as the use ofdrugs and abuse and this subjects them to the risk of conflictingwith the judicial system. The reality therapy can be used to helpthese people go back to pleasurable relationships and avoid engagingin criminal activities as a way of finding satisfaction.

Behaviorlearning theory focuses on measurable behavior instead of dealingwith the mind. The theory is based on the notion that learning isachieved through conditioning (Abadinsky,2012).For example, rewarding a drug addict for every day he spends withoutusing drugs can lead to successful recovery, thus reducing thechances for their conflict with the judicial system.


Abadinsky,H. (2012). Probationand parole: Theory and practice (11th ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Grant,K. (2007). Realitytherapy.Long Beach, CA: California State University.

McLeod,C. (2007). Psychoanalysis. SimplyPsychology.Retrieved August 15, 2014, from