Conditions and treatments
About the treatment and how it works
There are many different varieties of psychotherapy. Historically the term was used to apply to therapies based on the ideas of Freud and psychoanalysis. In its modern form this type of therapy is referred to as psychodynamic. This involves examining the persons past and unconscious feelings. Typically it would involve analysing dreams and looking at what’s referred to as the transference or, in everyday language how relationships with parental figures influences the ongoing relationship with therapist. The idea is that when a person understands these influences they can make decisions based on what serves them best in their current situation rather than being driven by unconscious motivations from the past. The therapist will help the client to make connections between the past and present. Psychodynamic psychotherapy usually involves regular 50 minute sessions. These can be once a week but may be more frequent.
Symptoms that can be treated:
Psychodyanamic therapy has been used to treat the full range of psychological disorders from anxiety disorders through to depressive conditions. It is often recommended to help with relationship issues. Conditions in which it may have limited effectiveness include psychosis and bipolar disorder although some practitioners would see a role for helping clients adjust to these conditions.
A modern variant of psychodynamic therapy is known as cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) which incorporates some elements of cognitive behavioural therapy such shorter and more focused treatments. Treatments typically last for about 16 sessions. Sessions usually involve; describing how issues have developed in the context of life events and personal experiences, looking at methods of coping which have evolved over time to deal with issues and considering ways of modifying coping strategies so that the client feels better and has improved.
Psychodynamic therapy can also be very effective when applied in groups. In this modality regular meetings are set up with a group of people who share similar issues and a psychotherapist. Sessions are usually longer than individual psychotherapy and will typically last 90 minutes. It has been found to be particularly helpful for people who experience repeated problems in relationships. It can be very powerful for people to discover from other group members that they are not alone with their difficulties. The group can provide a powerful source of social support and connection.