Psychodynamic therapy is originally developed to help people explore unconscious emotions and feelings associated with their past. By helping the person to become aware of their feelings and unconscious motivations, the therapist help the person to integrate their past and present experiences. In this manner, psychodynamic therapy helps people understand how their behavior and mood are influenced by unconscious feelings and unresolved issues.
Psychodynamic Therapy vs. CBT for Depression
Research has found that psychodynamic therapy is one of most effective type of depression therapy. In fact, psychotherapy was found to be as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT and psychodynamic therapy are very different.
CBT focuses on understanding and modifying specific processes and behaviors and the concern is about how a person thinks. The belief is that the person’s thoughts shape what they do and how they feel. CBT’s main goal is to identify and alter dysfunctional patterns of thought.
Psychoanalysis vs. Psychodynamic Therapy
In comparison, psychodynamic therapy, stems from the theories of Freudian psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is grounded on the notion that an individual’s behavior is a result of their unconscious mind and is shaped by past experiences. Psychoanalysis is an on-going therapy with extensive exploration of a patient’s feelings. It is not unusual for therapy sessions to occur several times a week. The sessions include a thorough examination of the feelings the patient is aware of as well as those the patient is unconscious of.
Generally speaking, psychodynamic therapy is less intense version of formal psychoanalysis. Psychodynamic therapy sessions typically are scheduled once a week. Another interesting difference is that with psychoanalysis clients usually recline on a couch, whereas they will sit in a chair for psychodynamic therapy.
Depression and Free Association
Free association is a technique used in psychodynamic therapy and psychoanalysis to help patients explore what they are thinking and feeling. Free association was first developed by Sigmund Freud, a psychologist created psychoanalytic theory. Freud designed free association to assist patients in uncovering unconscious feelings and thoughts that were previously repressed. Freud believed that awareness of unconscious thoughts or feelings enable patients to better manage and change problematic behaviors.
With the use of free association and other therapeutic techniques specific to psychodynamic therapy, the patient can explores the entire range of their thoughts and emotions. With the guidance of the therapist, the patient finds ways to think, feel, and talk about feelings that are troubling or threatening, and resolve unrecognized or acknowledged conflict regarding the past. This exploration takes place in a therapeutic context that recognizes that being able to explain the reason for an emotional difficulty does not mean the person is capable of changing it. The goal then is to develop internal resources needed to deal with and effectively manage those difficulties.