Lecture 11 on Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
Psychodynamic Approach to Psychotherapy
Goal: Getting access to the unconscious
Psychodynamic treatment is very effective for a range of complicated mental health
conditions and is more effective than short-term treatments
o According to a 2009 publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association
A meta-analysis of multiple studies demonstrating that long-term psychodynamic therapy
works (weekly treatment lasting at least 50 sessions)
What is Psychodynamic Treatment?
Psychodynamic model has 3 aspects:
o It is an approach to therapy/treatment
o A theory of the causes of abnormality
o An approach to understanding personality
o Found by Sigmund Freud
o Freud's version called "psychoanalysis" aka "depth psychology"
Focused on sex instinct and aggression
1885, Freud given grant to study in Paris with Jean Charcot
Charcot was famous for study of hysterics (ex. hysterical blindness, paralysis, and deafness)
psychogenic in origin, not biological
No known neurobiological cause (presumed psychic)
Hypnosis could unearth repressed trauma and "cure" the hysterical symptoms
Memory of trauma is blocked from awareness and stored in the unconscious
First historical "talking cure"
Alleviation of "patients" neurotic problems just by talking
But, talking must lead to "insight" for cure (the talking cures them only if it takes them to
Sometime called "insight therapy"
o Alfred Adler (disagreed with Freud that motivation is the need for power, not sex and
aggression) coined the term inferiority complex
o Carl Jung (we have a shared unconscious collective unconscious aside from
o Horney (one of the first women psychoanalyst; focus on interpersonal relationship)
Goals of Psychodynamic Treatment
To make the unconscious conscious
To help client gain "insight" into thoughts, feelings and mental activity the unconscious
reason of the conscious "why"
Expanding the scope of conscious awareness to aspects of psyche previously outside of
The very presence of the unconscious was a fundamental idea of Sigmund Freud The model assumes we all have an unconscious and that the unconscious is very influential
unknown to us (we are actually puppets by the unconscious)
We think we have free will but we don’t; Freud was against free will
Of all kinds of problems (ex. depressive symptoms, anxiety, eating disorders)
The cause of all problems is unconscious processes but also other forms of causes (ex.
3 part model of the mind Id (the unconscious), Ego (conscious awareness, sense of
personal identity, sense of agency), superego (cultural ideals)
Id is ruled by pleasure principle (satisfied with sexual and aggressive activities)
The ego (the judge)
o The apparent chief executive officer of the mind
o The conscious decision maker (self/identity)
The consciously recognized "authority" is but a mere puppet
o Thus ego is deceived
o Operates in accordance with "the reality principle"
Has "defenses"; ego protects its integrity defends itse