Psychotherapy refers to a change in a patient through positive interaction with a counselor. Counselors are highly trained to enable patients to work through negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors so they are able to change their lives for the better. The changes that occur in a patient only occur when the patient is ready, willing and able to work towards positive changes in their life. A psychotherapist cannot make changes happen for patients. Instead, they act as guides to show patients a path to travel that will help them make changes for themselves.
Behavior therapy is a common theory practiced among psychotherapists. Behavior therapy is similar to Pavlov’s idea of classical conditioning in that a patient gradually works towards changing the behaviors that are causing problems. An analysis of cognitive behavior therapy as it relates to depression will be offered through an in depth study of John Lennon. It includes demographic information; Lennon’s presenting behaviors, an explanation of these behaviors as they relate to behavior therapy, an analysis of Lennon’s functioning and a discussion of specific interventions that would be employed over the course of treatment.
John Lennon was born on October 9, 1940 during the Nazi bombing of Britain and was given the middle name Winston after Prime Minister Churchill (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2007). John Lennon went to live with his Aunt Mimi when he was five years old because his parents had decided to separate. It was during this time that Lennon’s mother sent him his first guitar. Aunt Mimi warned him that it was fine as a hobby but not to expect to make a living from it. In 1956, Lennon formed his first band called the Quarreymen which later evolved into the Beatles (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2007).
Many of John Lennon’s songs display the underlying depression that was largely hidden from the public until after his death. Songs such as “Help” show the startling reality in which John Lennon lived his private life. Lennon wrote this song in April of 1965 and the lyrics are a cry for help and a clue to the despondency and confusion he felt (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2007). John Lennon married his first wife, Cynthia Powell, on August 23, 1962. He remained married to her for six years. They had their first child, John Charles Julian Lennon on April 8, 1963.
A few months later in February of 1964, the Beatles began their first U. S. tour. John Lennon met his second wife, Yoko Ono, on November 9, 1966. During the summer of 1968, Lennon moved out of the home he shared with Cynthia and moved in with Yoko Ono. They spent a great deal of time collaborating on art and music together. They were even arrested together in October of 1968 and charged with possession of cannabis. The Beatles gave their last performance on January 30, 1969 and a few months later Lennon married Ono on March 20, 1969. Lennon and Ono continued to write and record music together.
In 1972, Lennon began a battle with the United States government to avoid being deported back to Britain because of his “radical” ideas and opinions. He remained in the United States and he and Ono purchased their New York apartment in April of 1973. Shortly thereafter, Lennon and Ono began what would become an eighteen month separation. The reunited on January 2, 1975 and Sean Taro Ono Lennon was born on Lennon’s 35th birthday, October 9, 1975. On July 26, 1976, Lennon’s application to stay in the United States was approved and he became a househusband to Sean.
After a recording session on December 8, 1980, John Lennon was shot outside his New York City apartment and was pronounced dead (at age 40) at Roosevelt Hospital a short time later (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2007). John Lennon suffered from conflicting feelings regarding the war and his desire for peace as well as his personal political and religious views. In addition, many of the symptoms of depression were as a result of his parent’s separation and his upbringing by his aunt rather than his mother and father.
The turmoil he felt as a result led to depression which then led to the abuse of drugs and alcohol. In addition, Lennon is well known for many of the stunts he pulled in order to get his message of peace out to the public. The music that John Lennon wrote also provided evidence of his depression. In particular, Lennon’s song “Help” includes lyrics that show just how depressed he was. “Help, I need somebody,” is the opening line and is repeated twice. In this four word opening, Lennon is displaying symptoms of depression and he realizes he needs help to calm the turmoil inside of him.
He is calling out for help. Symptoms of depression are often hard to see physically as they most often occur within a person. John Lennon was ultimately able to keep his depression out of the public eye and it was only after he died that it came into the light. The fact that he wanted help is also evident in the third line, “Help, you know I need someone, help. ” Other lines in the song give even more evidence that he was indeed depressed. These include, “Help me if you can, I’m feeling down,” “Help me, get my feet back on the ground,” and “Won’t you please, please help me, help me, help me.
” These lyrics were written by a man who was suffering from depression and was searching for a way to eliminate those feelings from his life. The premise behind cognitive behavior therapy is that the depressed individual can change his or her behaviors to improve his or her life. Supportive cognitive behavior therapy can help ease the pain associated with depression as well as address the negative feelings associated with depression. Cognitive behavior therapy enables the patient to address which issues causing depression are important and which are not.
In this way, a depressed individual can begin focusing on treatment surrounding specific issues they wish to change. Cognitive behavior therapy further equips a depressed patient with the tools to develop positive life goals and the motivation to pursue those goals. Depressed people are often quick to point out the negative events in their lives. John Lennon focused much of his negative energy on the fact that his parents basically abandoned him when he was a child because they sent him to live with his aunt rather than raise him themselves.
A large part of Lennon’s depression stemmed from this abandonment. However, rather than focusing on the loving aunt who did raise him and the family and friends he gathered throughout his life, he instead chose to focus on this one issue from his past. Lennon spent a great deal of his older years recalling the negative events of his life rather than focusing on all the good things that had happened to him as he grew up, formed a band, became famous, married his soul mate and had two children.
He wasn’t able to enjoy these aspects of his life as much as was possible because his depression caused him to only recall negative memories. As evident in the lyrics of “Help,” John Lennon suffered from a low self esteem which contributed to his feelings of depression. He wasn’t able to fully participate in the greatness that the world viewed him with. Instead, he focused on his shortcomings and the aspects of his personality that he wished to change. Further, he felt hopeless to make changes he felt were necessary to feel better about the person that he was.
The world viewed John Lennon as similar to a god while he never quite understood why everyone was so fascinated with him. Again, this belief was kept private from the general public as shown in the famous interview where he claims that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Underneath this bravado was a man torn between his fame and his desire to work towards ending the war and establishing peace. He knew that the world loved him and the Beatles but underneath his famous exterior was an insecure and confused man.
Another contributing factor to John Lennon’s depression was the irrational thoughts and ideas he embodied. His stance against war and certain aspects of his political ideas were criticized so strongly that he was even threatened with deportation. Lennon believed so strongly in the idea of peace that he engaged in some highly criticized behavior as a way to get his message across. For example, he and Ono hosted bed ins as a way to protest war and promote peace. He also created eleven billboards claiming that the Vietnam War was over and presented them as a Christmas gift to those who saw them.
When these stunts were unsuccessful in reaching Lennon’s objectives he sunk further into his private depression as he realized that his ideas were not supported the way he wished them to be. The use of drugs and alcohol led to cognitive distortions that further fueled the depression John Lennon felt. The use of PCP led to even more radical and extreme political and social ideas that further caused depression when unsuccessful. John Lennon was largely a pessimistic person. Abandonment by his parents at an early age led to a lifetime of feelings of inadequacy and confusion.
He was unsure what real love was because the primary source of love (parental love) was missing in his life. He wasn’t able to view the fantastic successes in his life as positive because he instead focused on all the personal, political and social problems he experienced. Lennon viewed the world as having extreme problems and the lack of success in fixing those problems led to a great deal of hopelessness for the future. Lennon’s pessimistic nature didn’t allow him to get past his inner turmoil and confusion because he wasn’t able to shift his focus off his negative feelings towards more positive life goals.
Despite intense inner depression, John Lennon was largely able to function normally. His interactions with people weren’t as positive as they could have been but he was able to form lasting bonds with many people over his life. Perhaps this was because he learned at a very young age not to count on other people to survive. Lennon was able to form a working relationship with Paul McCartney, Ringo Star and George Harrison. These relationships led to some of the best known and best loved songs of all time.
John Lennon is one of the best known musicians of all time as well and this success speaks to his ability to keep his depression private. He was also able to form a strong bond with Yoko Ono who he regarded as his soul mate. His music caused some martial problems over the course of their relationship but their bond was so strong that it overrode any misgivings Ono had about Lennon’s music. However, Lennon came into conflict with many government officials over his radical political ideas. These interactions only fueled his desire to work towards attaining peace.
At the same time, the lack of support from the government and others in politics only added to the hopelessness Lennon felt at his failure to promote peace. John Lennon chose to write music as another way to function in spite of his inner turmoil and confusion. The song “Help” is the best known testament to his depression but many other songs include lyrics that speak to his feelings. In “Strawberry Fields Forever” Lennon writes, “it’s getting hard to be someone,” which speaks to his inability to use his celebrity status to end the war and bring peace.
His song “Come Together” seems like a random group of made up words and sentences but if each line is analyzed one can see the conflicting feelings that Lennon was suffering from. For example, “hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease” can be interpreted to show that if one really got to know Lennon his depression would be easy to see. These songs (and others) were a way for Lennon to function in everyday life apart from his depression. He used his songs as a clever way to cry out for help and to release the negative feelings that were taking over his life.
John Lennon, like many other people suffering from depression, also turned to drug use to ease his symptoms of depression for a little while. Lennon’s PCP use is a widely known fact. There are many critics who say that many of Lennon’s songs were written under the influence of illicit substances. Regardless of when John Lennon used drugs, the use of drugs by depressed individuals is another coping mechanism that is used to attempt to function normally. Additionally, many depressed drug users report short term feelings of happiness and the ability to forget all the things that are causing the depression to begin with.
It is largely unknown specific reasons why Lennon engaged in drug use but it can be deduced from his history of depression that they were used both as a coping mechanism as well as a way to escape his daily troubles. The first goal of cognitive behavior therapy for John Lennon would need to focus on enabling him to move past his focus on childhood experiences and begin to focus on his feelings in the present. During the initial assessment with John Lennon a complete and in depth analysis of current feelings will be explored.
Lennon will be responsible for focusing only on how he feels right now and refrain from bringing up childhood memories and other negative events in his life. Lennon will also work with the counselor to describe his perceived problems with personality, self-esteem, relationship issues, social issues and substance abuse problems that are occurring in the present. Again, Lennon will need to refrain from bringing up the past. This initial assessment will allow both the counselor and Lennon to see progress as treatment continues. It will also provide a starting point for positive behavior intervention to happen.
The next intervention method will be to provide John Lennon with an education about depression, what causes it and how it can be treated. This will give Lennon a better understanding of his feelings and give him increased hope and power to make changes in his own life. Lennon will also gain an understanding of his different treatment options. To this end, an analysis of how cognitive behavior therapy will help will be offered to Lennon. He will begin to realize that only he has the power to make positive changes in his life under the guidance of a trained counselor.
The main goal of cognitive behavior therapy is to prompt an individual to take control and move towards making changes. This desire must come from within and John Lennon must realize the benefits of treatment and be offered compelling reasons why he should continue treatment. Ultimately, the decision to pursue a course of treatment will be up to Lennon and the counselor will need to convince him that treatment is the only way to move towards finding a cure for his depression. John Lennon will then work with the counselor to come up with his list of behaviors he would like to change.
Lennon will need to work on focusing on positive aspects of his life rather than dwelling on the negative ones. In order to do this, the counselor will enable Lennon to recall all of the successes in his life and describe them in detail. He will be encouraged to recall these happy memories in order to replace negative memories that come to mind. In addition, Lennon will be encouraged to keep a written account of what he is grateful for. The act of writing in itself is often therapeutic and when Lennon can spend some time writing about what things in his life bring him joy, he may begin to focus more on the positive and less on the negative.
This will also help him with his self-esteem issues because he will begin to see what the rest of the world sees – a talented musician, a good friend and someone who is passionate about bringing peace to the world. Self-help is another powerful tool in treating depression. A counselor would be responsible for showing John Lennon ways to deal with his symptoms of depression on his own. Specific self-help techniques include meditation and distraction techniques. Lennon has power over his own emotions and when he realizes this he will be taking the necessary first step to overcoming his depression.
Meditation is a method that would allow Lennon to spend some time connecting to the world around him and what is happening in the present. By putting all events, relationships and feelings that cause confusion and inner turmoil on the back burner, Lennon will instead be able to focus on the present and what about his life brings him joy and refreshes him. These feelings of adequacy will lead to fewer negative feelings. In much the same way, distraction techniques would allow Lennon to focus on ideas, relationships and emotions that are separate from those that contribute to his feelings of depression.
Lennon can be taught that when he begins to feel depressed he can find other things to focus on that will distract him from what causes him pain. Returning to his lists of what he is grateful for will provide a distraction for Lennon when he becomes overwhelmed with negative feelings. Over the course of treatment, it would be expected that John Lennon would have much fewer symptoms and feelings of depression. He would be able to form relationships based on mutual trust and admiration as well as reduce or eliminate his substance abuse problems.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has been widely successful for patients displaying symptoms of depression. Depressed individuals often feel hopeless because they don’t feel as if they have any power over their lives. Cognitive behavior therapy gives that power back. John Lennon felt powerless to end the war and bring about peace even though he went to great lengths trying to reach this goal. A large part of his depression was based on what he considered failure. Giving Lennon the tools to redirect his energy on other pursuits to help work towards his goals would give him a feeling of accomplishment and reduce his feelings of hopelessness.
Additionally, the reduction or elimination of substance abuse would allow him to continue to approach his treatment with a clear head. He will also be able to write and record music that inspires him based on his experiences without having to rely on illicit substances. Finally, Lennon will be able to wake up each morning and realize that he has a reason to live. Lennon, John. (1965). Help. Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://johnlennon. lyrics. info/help. html. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (2007). John Lennon. Retrieved on December 11, 2008 from http://www. rockhall. com/inductee/john-lennon. Name December 11, 2008 Analysis Paper
The nature of psychotherapy is diverse and wide reaching. There are several different theories utilized by counselors when treating clients. Each of these theories is based on ideas that aim to provide the best type of treatment for each individual and his or her specific problems. Theories are created as new ideas present themselves, new knowledge is gained and new problems are discovered. As a result, the nature of theory is a flexible one. It changes as client needs change. Components of different theories can be blended to provide a course of treatment that will benefit each individual patient based on specific needs.
Theories are not written in stone. Instead, they allow for different interpretations and implementations based on the counselor’s knowledge of the client and the outcomes a client wishes to achieve. The major limitation of psychotherapy is that a client must have the desire to make changes in his or her life. Those seeking the guidance of a counselor must realize that the counselor isn’t going to change their life. Each individual is ultimately responsible for making positive changes. The counselor simply acts as a guide to facilitate discussion and ideas that will lead to positive changes.
Effective intervention occurs when a counselor and patient are able to work together to treat a specific problem. The old saying, “the first step is admitting you have a problem” fits here. A patient seeking therapy must be willing to admit that personal improvement is necessary and they must also be willing to listen to suggestions from a counselor with feeling personally attacked. Another limitation to psychotherapy is the theory itself. It is essential that all training psychotherapists become well versed in treatment theories. However, they must also realize that one size does not fit all when it comes to creating treatment plans.
Counselors who are determined to fit patients into preconceived molds according to one specific theory are setting themselves and their clients up for failure. Flexibility is a vital part of being an effective counselor and refusing to seek alternate treatment methods when one doesn’t work is a limitation of effective treatment. Cognitive behavior theory is an important treatment method to consider as a practitioner. This counselor certainly believes in an individual’s ability to change. However, it is also realized that a client must have the desire to change in order for treatment to be successful long term.
A personal philosophy includes the idea that human beings are extraordinarily resilient when it comes to negative life experiences and working through feelings that accompany these experiences is ultimately rewarding. Cognitive behavior therapy is particularly effective for patients suffering from depression. John Lennon continues to be a good example of symptoms warranting this type of treatment. It is a personal belief that all people deserve to live a life of happiness. Therefore, it is important for counselors to understand what causes symptoms of depression in people like John Lennon who seem to have it all.
An understanding that all people have negative life experiences will lead to a more empathetic counselor who is able to form a relationship of trust with a patient so that effective treatment can be experienced together. One strength of this practitioner is the strong desire to enable clients to find ways to improve their lives. Feelings of empathy further enable this practitioner to internalize the feelings of clients in order to find the best possible treatment method. A desire to equip clients with the necessary tools to help themselves will also enable this practitioner to put effective cognitive behavior theory into practice.
At the same time, a flexible personality will enable this practitioner to realize when a certain course of treatment is not effective and made modifications as necessary in order to maximize treatment success for all patients. Finally, personal experiences with people suffering from depression allows this practitioner an understanding of the feelings behind depression. Patients like John Lennon deserve every opportunity to overcome their feelings of depression (or any other problem) and a combination of empathy and understanding will serve this practitioner well.
At the same time, all counselors have areas that need improvement. This practitioner tends to spend a great deal of time second guessing treatment methods. A desire to help all clients leads to worries that better methods exist. This is a weakness because when a depressed patient comes for treatment, a counselor must be entirely confident in the chosen course of treatment. This confidence, in turn, gives the client confidence that he or she can make positive changes in life. Focusing on theory without allowing real world experience also gets in the way of effective treatment at times.
Relying solely on past theory doesn’t leave room for individual practitioner growth. In addition, realizing that theories are flexible would allow this practitioner to propose new ways of treating patients that may not have been considered before. Cognitive behavior therapy focuses on individual desire to change so remembering this as the ultimate goal would be more effective than relying on what theory says. Cognitive behavior theory is so widely popular and successful because it leaves change up to the individual.
This approach to therapy is useful because it doesn’t put the responsibility for progress on the practitioner. Expecting a counselor to change a client is an unrealistic goal. Instead approaching therapy from the perspective of making personal changes is much more valuable to both counselors and patients. Again, the desire to make positive changes is the main limitation to therapy so when an individual seeks therapy it is important for them to realize that the power of change lies in their ability to work with a counselor to make changes.
Approaching cognitive behavior therapy this way will allow this practitioner to realize that when treatment is unsuccessful it is not the fault of the practitioner but rather the client. This realization will allow this practitioner to continue to approach behavior therapy with an open mind and an understanding that when a client is willing to make changes, treatment will be successful. In patients like John Lennon who suffer from depression, this is particularly important because symptoms of depression don’t go away simply by visiting a counselor.
Symptoms only disappear when a client is willing to work hard to make positive changes. A blending of different theories is the best way to approach treatment for patients such as John Lennon. Cognitive behavior therapy is an important theory to incorporate because it focuses outcomes on the actions of the client. At the same time, psychodynamic theory would be important to incorporate. Psychodynamic theory focuses on an interactive relationship between a counselor and client where the counselor talks just as much as the client instead of just listening.
Often depressed people work through their inner turmoil through dialogue because they feel as if progress is being made when successes can be celebrated together. In addition, when a counselor engages in dialogue it builds a relationship of trust because the counselor is taking an active role in guiding a patient towards positive changes. Interpersonal theory would be another useful theory to incorporate into treatment for people like John Lennon. This theory focuses on the interactions between the client and other people. In combination with psychodynamic theory, this theory allows a client to work through negative relationships in the past.
In Lennon’s case this type of treatment would enable him to find ways to move past his feelings of abandonment. It would also explore how these feelings of abandonment guide his current relationships. These theories seem to contradict cognitive behavior theory which only focuses on the present. However, in an effort to create a holistic approach to treating John Lennon’s depression this combination would be successful. Time would be spent on allowing Lennon to express the ways in which his parents’ abandonment influenced his life as well as focusing on ways he can make changes in the present.