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Psychodynamic Treatments

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Psychodynamic Treatments

Several psychodynamic therapy techniques have applied these theories to create treatments. For example, psychoanalysis, an intervention sometimes used to uncover hidden memories, may be used as a psychodynamic treatment for depression. Although research has found these treatments to effectively treat some mental illnesses, there are still disadvantages of psychodynamic therapy.

The psychodynamic approach to psychology states that instincts, drives, and thoughts determine human functioning and behaviour. The word psychodynamic literally means mind (psyche) and motives and energy (dynamics). Childhood development and personality development are considered important factors contributing to the behaviour.

Psychodynamic treatments in psychology aim to uncover unconscious conflicts that repressed motivations, desires, thoughts, and feelings may trigger. This approach suggests that resolving these internal, unconscious conflicts will resolve mental health and dysfunctional behaviours.

Psychodynamic Treatments, Psychodynamic Treatment meaning dreaming, StudySmarterDreaming, flaticon.com/MaximBasinskiPremium

Psychodynamic Treatment Meaning

The principles of psychodynamic treatments are as follows.

Unconscious and conscious mind

The unconscious and the conscious mind are two entities linked by processes we are not fully aware of.

The unconscious is all the memories of which we are unaware. We may repress or hide these memories.

A person may repress and not remember being abused in childhood, a defence mechanism.

Conversely:

The conscious mind includes all the memories we are aware of and which are easily accessible.

Freud used the analogy of an iceberg. The unconscious is the part of the hidden iceberg, and the tip is the conscious mind.

The unconscious mind consists of thoughts, desires, and impulses that govern our behaviour, even if we do not know they exist. According to the psychodynamic approach, these are the cause of the onset of mental illness.

Psychodynamic Treatments, Iceberg Unconscious mind, StudySmarterIceberg, flaticon.com/Freepik

Tripartite model (Freud)

  • The tripartite model suggests that personality (also called psyche) consists of three parts:

    1. The id – primitive instincts, the pleasure principle

    2. The ego – reality-based principles. It is responsible for maintaining a healthy balance between the id and the superego (through defence mechanisms).

    3. The superego – the moral principle, the conscience.

      If the ego does not keep the id in check, the individual may begin to fixate on aggressive and sexual urges, leading to the onset of mental illnesses characterised by anger, such as intermittent explosive disorder.

Psychosexual stages

  • This theory suggests children must gradually pass through the five psychosexual stages. Pleasurable behaviour that differs between the stages controls the personality. The theory states that skipping a stage or becoming fixated on one stage can cause the onset of a mental illness.

    The first stage is the oral stage. According to this theory, children are fixated on receiving pleasure in their mouths. When children are fixated in this stage, they are more likely to develop food, alcohol, and drugs disorders, such as addiction/dependence.

Psychodynamic Treatment Examples

The psychodynamic treatment examples are:

  • Psychoanalysis (sometimes called group analysis psychotherapy)

    • It originated by using psychodynamic explanations to create an intervention. It is a long-term treatment (it can last longer than a year).

    • It aims to uncover and resolve hidden memories and thoughts that have been repressed in the unconscious mind.

    • Usually, talk therapy serves as a psychodynamic therapy technique. The client determines the conversation, and the therapist tries to help the client understand the repressed memories and resolve them. It can be done alone or in groups.

  • Dream analysis

    • Dream analysis is a form of intervention in which the meaning of dreams is uncovered to reveal unconscious memories, conflicts, and desires. It is conducted by associating symbolic images or occurrences in dreams with unconscious drives.

    • An inner conflict may have caused these dreams to manifest.

    • The theory does not state that these dreams cause dysfunctional behaviour or mental illness. Instead, the dreams are a result of.

    • Dream analysis is a method typically used to determine the causes of behaviour and mental illness. And not as a method of treatment.

Psychodynamic therapy techniques

Some examples of psychodynamic therapy techniques are:

  1. Talk therapy – the goal of talk therapy is to:
    1. Identify patterns of behaviour
    2. Understand the reasons behind the behaviour patterns that may be causing dysfunctional behaviour or symptoms.
    3. Improve interpersonal relationships
    4. Talk therapy works to improve relationships through transference and counter-transference. Both help the client recognise the patterns being transferred to the therapist. The therapist tries to guide the client to change the negative feelings into positive ones through counter-transference.

      Transference is a psychodynamic term that assumes clients unconsciously transfer their feelings (positive or negative) to their therapists.

      Counter-transference refers to how a therapist naturally responds and reacts to their clients.

Psychodynamic treatments, Psychodynamic therapy for depression, StudySmarterTwo people talking in a therapy session, flaticon.com/free-icon

  • Free association: the patient can talk freely about his problems without being guided beyond a specific stimulus.

    Free association is typically used in dream analysis.

    Dream analysis is a psychodynamic therapy technique in which the therapist identifies a theme in the patient's dream. The therapist then says words associated with the theme. Clients are then asked to say the first word that comes to mind.

    Free association aims to identify hidden meanings or feelings the client may have repressed.

Psychodynamic Therapy for Depression Example

A therapist may use psychodynamic treatments on a person with depression.

Examples of psychotherapy for depression include:

  • Psychoanalytic therapy – the client and therapist explore past experiences and repressed feelings, desires, and conflicts that may lead to dysfunctional behaviour. The therapist attempts to resolve these conflicts in collaboration with the client. The psychodynamic approach assumes resolution of disputes should lead to the treatment of mental illness.
  • Free association – the therapist may say random words to identify repressed feelings or causes of depression. For example, if the associative words describe victimisation, the client may have been abused in the past, which could have caused depression.

Research has shown patients with unipolar depression who received psychoanalytic therapy compared to cognitive behavioural therapy had longer-lasting results (Huber, Zimmermann, Henrich & Klug, 2012).

Evaluation of Psychodynamic Treatments

Let us discuss the advantages and disadvantages of psychodynamic therapy.

Advantages of psychodynamic therapy

The advantages of psychodynamic therapy are:

  • It seeks to uncover and address the root of the problem rather than ignoring it. It is more likely to produce lasting results.

  • There is scientific evidence that psychodynamic treatments are effective and durable (Huber, Zimmermann, Henrich & Klug, 2012).

    When this intervention is used, relapse is less likely.

Disadvantages of Psychodynamic Therapy

The disadvantages of psychodynamic therapy are:

  • It is reductionist in that it ignores other factors, such as biological or sociocultural factors, that have been shown to play an essential role in mental health. Mental health interventions such as the psychodynamic approach are oversimplified. The intervention may not be able to stand alone in overcoming mental health problems.

  • Psychodynamic treatments in psychology take longer than alternatives such as cognitive behavioural therapy and, therefore, may not be appropriate for people who need immediate help.


Psychodynamic Treatments - Key Takeaways

  • The psychodynamic approach to psychology states that instincts, drives, and thoughts determine human functioning and behaviour.
  • The psychodynamic principles that guide psychodynamic treatments in psychology are the conscious and unconscious mind, the tripartite model, and the psychosexual stages of development.
  • Examples of psychodynamic treatments include psychoanalysis and dream analysis.
  • Psychodynamic therapy techniques commonly used in interventions are talk therapy and free association.
  • The advantages of psychodynamic therapy are that it attempts to uncover the cause of problems rather than masking them and is likely to have long-lasting effects.
  • The disadvantages of psychodynamic therapy are that it is reductionistic and takes a lot of time.

Frequently Asked Questions about Psychodynamic Treatments

Psychodynamic therapy attempts to uncover and resolve hidden memories and thoughts that have been repressed in the unconscious mind. 

The psychodynamic approach to psychology states that human functioning and behaviour is governed by internal instincts, drives and thoughts. Childhood development and personality development is argued to be important factors that contribute to behaviour. 

Some examples of psychodynamic treatment are:

  • Psychoanalysis 
  • Dream analysis

Psychodynamic therapy uses principles of the psychodynamic approach when treating patients. Typically, it is a talking therapy, using elements of free association.

The advantages of psychodynamic therapy are:

  • It tries to uncover the root cause of problems rather than masking them, so it is likely to have long-lasting effects.

The disadvantages of psychodynamic therapy are:

  • It is reductionist and time-consuming.

Final Psychodynamic Treatments Quiz

Question

What is dream analysis? 

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Answer

Dream analysis is a type of intervention that is used to uncover the meaning of dreams to uncover unconscious memories, conflicts and desires. 

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Question

Does dream analysis propose that dreams cause mental illnesses or dysfunctional behaviour? 

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Answer

No 

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Who proposed the theory behind dream analysis? 

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Answer

Freud proposed his theory of dream analysis after observing his clients. 

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Question

What is the name of the following description, what and how the individual remembers their own dream?

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Answer

Manifest content

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Question

What is the name of the following description, the repressed meaning of dreams? 


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Answer

Latent content 

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Question

What is the role of therapists in dream analysis, according to Freud?

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Answer

The dream analysis therapist's role is to take the manifest content that has been described by the client and help guide them to understand the latent content of the dreams. 

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Question

What is the name of the test that Freud proposed? 

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Answer

According to Freud's dream analysis approach, therapists should refrain from telling clients what dreams mean. Instead, he asked clients to say whatever came to their minds when talking about their dreams. This is done by using free association tasks.

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Question

What is the shared principle between dream analysis and the psychodynamic approach to psychology? 

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Answer

Dream analysis tries to uncover repressed memories that are in dreams that may be contributing to mental illnesses. The emphasis on repressed memories causing internal conflict is a key principle in the psychoanalytic approach to explaining behaviour. 

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Question

Which of the following are criticisms of Freud's work? 

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Answer

Over-emphasising sexual desires 

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Question

Which psychodynamic figure described that personality affects the content of dreams? 

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Answer

Adler

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Which stage of sleep has been associated with emotional memories? 

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Answer

REM

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Question

Does the self-organization theory disagree with Freud's theory of dream analysis? 

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Answer

Partially 

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Question

What are the components of dream analysis?

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Answer

The components of dream analysis are: 

  • it takes an individualistic approach 
  • that it focuses on the client's current problems 
  • therapists and clients need to work collaboratively 
  • discuss the manifest content (hidden meaning) of dreams
  • dreamwork and the analysis of dreamwork 
  • free association is the main method used to identify thoughts and feelings

Show question

Question

Why is dream analysis important?


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Answer

Dream analysis attempts to get to the root of an individual's problems that may be causing dysfunctional behaviour or mental illnesses.  This intervention attempts to identify what is causing the behaviour and adapt it to solve the 'problem'. Other interventions such as drug therapy do not do this. Instead, they try to solely get rid of the problem. This highlights the importance of dream analysis.

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Question

What are the weaknesses of dream analysis?

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Answer

The weaknesses of dream analysis are:

  • it can be time consuming and expensive 
  • it is not an independent intervention that can be used to treat mental illnesses 
  • it has limited application in terms of what it can be used to treat

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Question

What are the strengths of dream analysis? 

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Answer

The strengths of dream analysis are:

  • it has been proven to have utility 
    • its principles have been used to create interventions used in CBT 
  • it attempts to deal with the root cause of the problem rather than ignore it 

Show question

Question

What psychodynamic principles guide psychodynamic treatments? 

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Answer

The psychodynamic principles that guide psychodynamic treatments in psychology are:

  1. The conscious and unconscious mind 
  2. Tripartite model 
  3. The psychosexual stages of development

Show question

Question

What is the name of the psychodynamic treatments? 

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Answer

Psychodynamic treatment examples are:

  1. Psychoanalysis 
  2. Dream analysis

Show question

Question

What are psychodynamic therapy techniques are used in interventions? 

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Answer

Psychodynamic therapy techniques commonly used in interventions are:

  1. Talk therapy 
  2. Free association

Show question

Question

Why may psychodynamic treatments not be suitable for everyone? 

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Answer

Psychodynamic treatments may not be appropriate because they take longer than alternatives such as cognitive behavioural therapy. Therefore, it is not an appropriate option for people who need fast results. 

Show question

Question

What are the advantages of psychodynamic treatments in psychology? 

Show answer

Answer

The advantages of psychodynamic therapy are that it tries to uncover the root cause of problems rather than masking them. So it is likely to have long-lasting effects.

Show question

Question

What did Huber, Zimmermann, Henrich, and Kulg (2012) find? 

Show answer

Answer

Research has shown patients with unipolar depression who received psychoanalytic therapy versus cognitive-behavioural therapy had longer-lasting results (Huber, Zimmermann, Henrich & Klug, 2012).

Show question

Question

How is free association used in psychodynamic treatments? 

Show answer

Answer

The purpose of free association is to identify hidden meanings or feelings clients may have repressed. During this intervention, patients are encouraged to talk freely without too much guidance from the therapist.

Show question

Question

How may free associations help in sessions with patients with depression? 

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Answer

The free association involves a therapist saying random words to identify repressed feelings or causes of depression. For instance, if the associative words describe victimisation, the client may have been abused in the past, which may have caused depression. 

Show question

Question

According to psychotherapy, what is the cause of dysfunctional behaviour? 

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Answer

According to psychotherapy, past experiences and unconscious repressed feelings, desires, and conflicts cause dysfunctional behaviour.

Show question

Question

How does psychotherapy treat mental illnesses?

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Answer

Making individuals consciously aware of unconscious memories

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Question

What are the stages of talk therapy? 

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Answer

The stages of talk therapy are:

  1. Identify patterns of behaviour
  2. Understand the reasons behind the behaviour patterns that may be causing dysfunctional behaviour or symptoms.
  3. Improve interpersonal relationships

Show question

Question

What is the psychodynamic term for a therapist naturally reacting to and responding to clients?

Show answer

Answer

Counter-transference

Show question

Question

What is the psychodynamic term for clients unconsciously transferring their feelings (positive or negative) onto their therapists? 

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Answer

Transference 

Show question

Question

Which part of the mind did Freud compare to the tip of an iceberg?

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Answer

The conscious part of the mind

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Question

According to the tripartite model, which part of the personality is responsible for maintaining the balance between the other aspects of the personality? 

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Answer

Ego

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Question

Who was the founder of group analytic psychotherapy? 

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Answer

Foulkes founded the group analytic psychotherapy intervention in the 1940s. 

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Question

What is the definition of group analytic psychotherapy is? 

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Answer

The group analytic psychotherapy meaning is an intervention that is a form of personal therapy that attempts to help people identify unconscious memories that may be contributing to dysfunctional behaviour through group effort. 

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Question

Which of the following psychodynamic principles does group analytic psychotherapy emphasise? 

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Answer

Unconscious memories 

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Question

What is the purpose of group analytic psychotherapy? 

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Answer

The purpose of group analytic psychotherapy is to:

  • understand and improve social and interpersonal functioning with group efforts
  • help gain insight of hidden messages in behaviour and develop skills such as relating to others
  • learn interpersonal skills to help clients to easily integrate into family and society 

Show question

Question

What three group analytic psychotherapy principles did Foulkes identify?

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Answer

Foulkes identified the following group analytic psychotherapy principles:

  1. active participation 
  2. communication 
  3. observation in social situations 

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Question

According to the APA which of the following people are likely to use group analysis psychotherapy as an intervention? 

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Answer

People diagnosed with anxiety 

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Question

Which technique matches the following description, when an individual redirects/projects their emotions from their own experiences onto others? 

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Answer

Transference

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Question

Which technique matches the following description, helping clients access unconscious, repressed memories that may be stopping clients from getting to the root of their problem?

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Answer

Resistance analysis 

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Question

Which type of technique is used to help patients identify how others react and respond to stimuli? 

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Answer

Free association 

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Question

Which technique matches the following description, an intervention that is used to uncover the meaning of dreams to uncover unconscious memories, conflicts and desires? 

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Answer

Dream analysis 

Show question

Question

What type of setting do group analytic psychotherapy usually take place in? 

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Answer

Group analytic psychotherapy usually takes place in controlled settings.

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Question

What is the importance of the group analytic psychotherapy intervention? 

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Answer

The group analytic psychotherapy importance is that it attempts to resolve the root cause of dysfunctional behaviour. Additionally, it allows people to develop transferable skills such as developing interpersonal skills that reduce the likelihood of relapse.

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Question

What are the weaknesses of group analytic psychotherapy? 

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Answer

The weaknesses of group analytic psychotherapy are that it cannot be used to treat all mental illnesses such as positive symptoms of schizophrenia. As the therapy takes place in groups the direction that the therapy takes may be more beneficial for some patients. 

Show question

Question

A criticism of group analytic psychotherapy is that it does not take into account all of the factors that contribute to mental illnesses. What is the correct psychological term for this? 

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Answer

Reductionist 

Show question

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