Psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies
Information about psychoanalytical and psychodynamic therapies:
Freud is widely regarded as being the founder of modern psychology, developing the therapy known as psychoanalysis. This therapy is based on the idea that a great deal of an individual's behaviour and thoughts are not within their conscious control. Psychoanalysis attempts to help clients develop insight into deep-rooted problems that are often thought to stem from childhood.
Psychoanalysis is based on the principle that our childhood experiences have created our current behaviour patterns and thinking process. These thoughts and feelings can become repressed and may manifest themselves as depression or other negative symptoms.
By talking freely about thoughts entering their mind, the client reveals unconscious thoughts and memories that the analyst will seek to interpret and make sense of. Deeply buried memories and experiences are often expressed during this time and the opportunity to share these thoughts and feelings can help clients to work through these problems. These thoughts can be analysed through free associations (the client says whatever comes to mind during the session, without censoring their thoughts), dreams and fantasies, which all allow the analyst to clarify the client's unconscious thoughts.
Clients are encouraged to “transfer” feelings they have toward important people in their life onto the analyst in a process called “transference”. Success of psychoanalysis often depends on both analyst and client and how they work together.
Psychoanalysis is an intensive process and usually clients attend four or five sessions a week for several years. The regular sessions provide a setting to explore these unconscious patterns, and try to make sense of them. Psychoanalysis is mostly used by clients suffering high levels of distress, and can be arduous for both client and analyst. However, if successful, the therapy can be life-changing.
Psychoanalytic therapy is based upon psychoanalysis but is less intensive, with clients only attending between one and three sessions a week. Psychoanalytic therapy is often beneficial for individuals who want to understand more about themselves. It is particularly helpful for those who feel their difficulties have affected them for a long period of time and need relieving of mental and emotional distress.
Together, the therapist and the client try to understand the inner life of the client through deep exploration. Uncovering an individual's unconscious needs and thoughts may help them to understand how past experiences have affected them, and how they can work through these to live a more fulfilling life.
Psychodynamic counselling or psychotherapy evolved from psychoanalytic theory, however it tends to focus on more immediate problems, be more practically based and shorter term than psychoanalytic therapy. Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Otto Rank and Melanie Klein are all widely recognised for further developing the concept and application of psychodynamics.
Psychodynamic therapy focuses on unconscious thought processes which manifest themselves in a client's behaviour. The approach seeks to increase a client's self-awareness and understanding of how the past has influenced present thoughts and behaviours, by exploring their unconscious patterns.
Clients are encouraged to explore unresolved issues and conflicts, and to talk about important people and relationships in their life. Transference (when clients transfer feelings they have toward important people in their life onto the therapist) is encouraged during sessions.
Compared to psychoanalytic therapy, psychodynamic therapy seeks to provide a quicker solution for more immediate problems.
Carl Jung was one of the most influential people in the psychotherapy world. He spent a lot of time working with Sigmund Freud, but the two parted ways due to their differing theories. Nevertheless, the two therapists are considered the forefathers of psychology.
The overall aim of Jungian psychotherapy is to empower the individual for self-care, and Carl Jung believed that through a process of self-awareness, transformation and self-actualization - a meaningful life could be achieved.
A key aspect of Jungian psychotherapy is understanding the relationship between the individual and their psyche, bringing elements of it into consciousness. Jung believed that humans experience the unconscious through symbols that can be experienced in all aspects of our life, including: dreams, religion and art. Part of Jungian Psychotherapy involves analysing these symbols to understand the self better.
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