23 Things That Define Mental Health
7. The ability to assert yourself effectively and appropriately.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy, also known as psychoanalytic psychotherapy, is enjoying a renaissance. Founded by Sigmund Freud and crew, psychoanalysis was the dominant form of therapy throughout the 20th century. Its popularity waned over the years as new therapies were developed.
But now, younger therapists as well as academics (critical theory, literature departments) are rediscovering the richness and utility of psychoanalytic thinking. Research is catching up to show that it works very well and has enduring benefit that outlasts the period of therapy because it can alter one’s developmental path in life and help to change personality traits and the way an individual approaches and stewards their own life.
What Is Psychoanalysis?
Psychoanalytic therapy is, at heart, simple. Per Freud’s “Fundamental Rule”, the patient (“analysand”) tries to say whatever comes to mind, without editing it-this is called “free association.” The therapist, or analyst, for their part, listens without filtering the data, without imposing a frame for interpretation, trusting unconscious processes and discipline from training and one’s own analysis and supervision.
Therapy doesn’t happen overnight for either party-it takes practice for the patient and years of practice and training for the psychoanalyst-but it creates a nonjudgmental, mindful setting for therapeutic inquiry in which developmental processes can flourish . The term “psychodynamic” refers to unconscious psychological and emotional processes to become aware of and make use of in the service of personal growth and well-being.
Over time, given the simplicity of the framework, patterns emerge in the exchange between analyst and analysand that reflect experiences outside of therapy, past and present, to change the future by increasing awareness and options. This is called “ transference.” Psychodynamic therapy, though there are variations, essentially makes use of the transference phenomenon to catalyze developmental processes.
As problems from outside of therapy get pulled into the therapy, they can be addressed with a spirit of curiosity…