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The benefits of psychodynamic therapy

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  • The benefits of psychodynamic therapy

    I thought it would be interesting to have a thread specifically about the benefits of psychodynamic therapy. I know don't know much about it, so I look forward to learning from the discussion.

    I'll start by asking to what extent this therapy is based on the ideas of Freud.

  • #2
    The last thread ran amuck. I agree. But this is a GTD BB afterall, and a posting about the benefits of therapy, regardless of type, seem ill placed.

    Comment


    • #3
      Let's give it a try anyway. If the moderaters think it's too far off the purpose of the board, they can close the thread. That's their decision and I'll certainly respect that, but let's allow them to make the call.

      I think it is relevant though, as there seemed to agreement in the other thread that GTD (though not therapy) makes assumptions about human beings that are similar to those of CBT. If many of us are accepting cognitive-behavioral principles without being sufficiently aware of alternative perspectives, I think it's worth discussing.

      Comment


      • #4
        To answer your question, Actiongirl, yes. Psychodynamic therapy, simply put, relates everything back to childhood, which is very Freudian. CBT is more Jungian. The two "schools" have been at war since the advent of Jung.

        Cognitive Behavioural Therapy concentrates more on getting a person to recognise how their behaviours contribute to their situation, and to think about changing them.

        I'm not sure why Shtriemel thinks of this as a "quick fix", it isn't. The results can be relatively fast (compared to psychodynamic therapy), but the therapy itself can be ongoing for many years.

        I suffer from depression because of a series of unfortunate events, so to speak. Nothing can change that, psychodynamic therapy cannot help that. What is, is, and I must live with it, but it ain't easy. CBT helped me to learn how to cope, it is, in essence, a therapy of learning strategies. GTD is also about learning strategies, or habits. That is where the similarities arise.

        Shtriemel is right, there are deep seated, underlying causes of problems which GTD will not "cure". In reality, nothing can "cure" the basic structure of our society except the will of the people in a concerted effort. Unless and until that time comes, the only answer is to cope. Looking at your life and recognising the problems/triggers/issues therein (cognition), and then adjusting how you deal with these things (behaviour) is what CBT is all about. It's also what GTD is about.

        Psychodynamic therapy is more about delving deep into your psyche, uncovering the hidden truths there. I'm not really sure what the next step then is, or even if there is one. Maybe Shtriemel will help with that one.

        Comment


        • #5
          Changing the basic structure of the society.

          Originally posted by mackenzie
          Shtriemel is right, there are deep seated, underlying causes of problems which GTD will not "cure".
          I am sure that GTD is not the cure for a deep depression since it is meant for people who want to improve their productivity.
          Originally posted by mackenzie
          In reality, nothing can "cure" the basic structure of our society except the will of the people in a concerted effort.
          Even for this effort (to change the basic structure of the society) the GTD approach is suitable. First we should determine the successful outcome (the desired society structure) and then the first action to do.

          Comment


          • #6
            alrighty then

            you are absolutely right TesTeq, I stand corrected.

            This seems like a suitable project for this BB. Lets have at it! Anybody have any suggestions what the first next action should be?

            Comment


            • #7
              When I think of Jung, I think archetypes. I'd imagine CBT is probably at odds with both Freud and Jung, but I couldn't give you a source offhand for that.

              I don't think GTD is suited for solving big structural problems in society because a next action is something an individual can figure out and do him or herself. I haven't a clue what MY next action would be for getting "society" to agree about what a successful outcome looks like. It sounds so hopeless that I choose to focus on things I think I have some degree of control over, like my own thoughts and behavior.

              But what about the benefits of psychodynamic therapy?

              Originally posted by mackenzie
              Psychodynamic therapy is more about delving deep into your psyche, uncovering the hidden truths there. I'm not really sure what the next step then is, or even if there is one. Maybe Shtriemel will help with that one.
              Is understanding yourself the whole point, or is there a next step once you uncover the hidden truths?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ActionGirl
                Is understanding yourself the whole point, or is there a next step once you uncover the hidden truths?
                The best book on the market describing:

                a) the very serious problems of SSRI medication for general symptoms
                b) the ineffectiveness of brief therapies i.e. CBT
                c) the unconcious and how it factors into our behaviors, feelings, etc
                d) the way psychodynamic therapy heals

                is....

                http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

                tiny url...

                http://heh.pl/&1jf

                The author is a psychiatrist and analyst. It's a wonderful read, complex at times, but a breath of fresh air. He takes on his own profession (biological oriented psychiatrists), our culture of excess as well as the ineffectiveness of CBT and brief therapies. And he does this with depth and many case illustrations.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ActionGirl
                  When I think of Jung, I think archetypes. I'd imagine CBT is probably at odds with both Freud and Jung, but I couldn't give you a source offhand for that.
                  100% right. Jung and Freud split hairs over the importance of sexuality/aggression impulses during childhood and how they manifest themselves in problems during adulthood. Freud's ego couldn't bear Jungs criticism and ended the relationship. Silly Freud.

                  In general, Jungian therapists choose to work with dream material as the most reliable data from the unconcious.

                  I don't know of a single CBT therapist that:

                  a) would know what to do with a dream
                  b) would spend more than 15 min working with a client's childhood experiences...alas, it's not what they were trained to do.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the book recommendation. My library has it, and I plan to check it out soon.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Scratching head.

                      I am still not understanding the connection between GTD and therapeutic treatment of mental illness and personality disorders. It seems to me something akin to trying to restore a house using the rules of backgammon as practical guidelines. It's a misapplication of a behavioral structure that has a very different objective than does psychoanalysis. GTD can, by mobilizing energy and fostering momentum and achievement, help someone overcome some of the symptoms of depressive behavior. But secondary benefits don't qualify it as a healing tool.

                      I like Adam Phillips's thoughts on analysis, from Promises, Promises:
                      Most psychoanalytic theory now is a contemporary version of the etiquette book; improving our internal manners, advising us on our best sexual behavior (usually called maturity, or mental health, or a decentred self). It is, indeed, dismaying how quickly psychoanalysis has become the science of the sensible passions, as though the aim of psychoanalysis was to make people more intelligible to themselves rather than to realize how strange they are. When psychoanalysis makes too much sense, or makes sense of too much, it turns into exactly the symptom it is trying to cure: defensive knowingness.
                      Whether its supporters will own up to it or not, psychoanalysis supports specific cultural values; compared to which, GTD is value-neutral and provides a structure most specifically geared to improve the activity economy of a certain type of Western lifestyle. IMHO.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        House - backgamon.

                        Originally posted by Arduinna
                        It seems to me something akin to trying to restore a house using the rules of backgammon as practical guidelines.
                        Yes, yes, yes. I like this. This is the best punch line for this thread.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Arduinna
                          I am still not understanding the connection between GTD and therapeutic treatment of mental illness and personality disorders.
                          There is little to no connection. By original point was that GTD, and many time-management style type books, promotes and encourages lifestyles that are inherently flawed and unhealthy...leading to a sick culture...leading to symptoms like anxiety, depression, etc.

                          Originally posted by Arduinna
                          I like Adam Phillips's thoughts on analysis, from Promises, Promises:
                          I just found some of his books...very interesting. Thanks for the reference.


                          Originally posted by Arduinna
                          GTD is value-neutral and provides a structure most specifically geared to improve the activity economy of a certain type of Western lifestyle. IMHO.
                          You must be joking. GTD is "value-neutral"? You're kidding right?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'll take a stab at the benefits of psychodynamic therapy

                            I'm torn about whether to post because I don't want to add to divisiveness in the conversation. On the other hand, I am a therapist (and a psychoanalytically trained one at that!) and I'd like to contribute what I believe. Not every analyst would agree with my view. For those who are familiar with these terms, my orientation is contemporary relational analysis although I have a background in emperical research and I'm probably more of an integrationist than other therapists.

                            It's easy when articulating what you believe to say what you do not. That makes sense, but it tends to exaggerate small differences between positions, which feeds the considerable animosity between more psychoanalytic and more behavioral camps. I believe that cognitive behavioral therapies and psychoanalytic therapies are more similar in practice than their practitioners often want to admit. (I say that from reading books and journal articles about CBT and from talking to colleagues who practice it – not from personal experience as a CBT client or therapist.) Both types of therapeutic styles are based on the belief that talking to a therapist one trusts and respects can create changes in well-being and behavior over time. That may sound like a minor similarity but research on therapy effectiveness shows that for most problems, different therapeutic styles are equally effective. That is, across most diagnostic categories, talk therapy works for about 80% of those who try it. Further, the most important impact on the outcome of therapy is the working alliance, the sense of a close, productive relationship between the client and therapist.

                            That research has been somewhat humbling for therapists of all stripes. How do you defend the way you've chosen to practice if no one school has a leg up on the others? Instead of ignoring the obvious point that many different styles of therapy can achieve a useful working alliance, the camps quibble about the research. The CBT people say that the research shows that some problems lend themselves to CBT interventions. The analysts say that therapeutic outcomes aren't captured well with quantitative measures of symptom reduction. I think they're both right. Moreover, I believe that the most important factor in choosing a therapist is not that person's orientation but your sense that the person is intelligent, attentive, respectful, and makes you feel as safe as possible in discussing your problems.

                            That said, when I decided to become a therapist I was more compelled by contemporary analytic therapy because I feel the training is more comprehensive and nuanced than many other varieties. I felt that analytic work provided a better base from which to learn other techniques.

                            Contemporary analysis has come a long way from Freudian technique and even theory, although they share the basic principle that there is a large part of our mental life that influences our behavior but is outside of our conscious awareness. An analyst listens for unconscious themes in the client's relationships or beliefs about the self and the way the world operates. The process of therapy involves investigating those beliefs and ways of relating. This is a collaborative process in which client and analyst discuss the nuances of the beliefs and how they arose. Although there is an assumption that the patterns of relating arose largely out of early relationships, one of the elegant aspects of analysis is that the work can shift back and forth from what the client remembers about these early patterns to his or her current relationships. Indeed, another hallmark of analytic therapy is the focus on a client's transference to the therapist. We “transfer” our desires, expectations, fears, and assumptions that were formed in our childhood relationships to the complex, adult relationships we have today. The therapist and client examine the client's experience of this transferential relationship to understand how the client relates to other people and how s/he might do so differently. Of course, the therapist has his/her own transferences, and tries to stay aware of the “countertransference” that s/he experiences for the client, both as a way to learn what the client evokes in others and to understand what the therapist might be bringing from his/her own past to the work.

                            We've all had different experiences of love, joy, sexual desire, loss, rage, jealousy, and sometimes even devastating trauma. Analytic therapy honors the unique ways that people experience these events, and gives the client the opportunity to understand his or her way of seeing the world so that s/he can make conscious decisions about whether to continue with a formerly unconscious way of being. This is what I find most compelling about analytic therapy: the privileging of the client's uniqueness and his or her own responsibility for making choices that are appropriate for him or her.

                            Whew! If you've read this far, thanks for reading!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              GTD is value-neutral?

                              Originally posted by shtriemel

                              You must be joking. GTD is "value-neutral"? You're kidding right?

                              In what specific ways do you see GTD as value-laden? Could you illustrate only with direct references to source material (as in writings by David Allen and company)?

                              I see GTD as simply a set of principles to track and organize all the "stuff" in one's life - if you happen not to like the "stuff" that many people organize in today's world, then those are your values, not those of the GTD principles.

                              Whether it is a white-collar worker applying the principles to become a better "drone", as you would say, or a musician to doing their work and life, or a grandmother keeping her annual gardeing chores and other retirement activities in order, you cannot blame the GTD method if your value-system is offended by any of the above activity.

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