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Outline and Evaluate Psychodynamic Therapies to Treat Abnormality

Autor:   •  November 19, 2015  •  Essay  •  1,569 Words (7 Pages)  •  606 Views

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Outline and evaluate psychodynamic therapies to treat abnormality

The aim of psychoanalytic therapy is to uncover repressed memories to help the client come to an understanding of the origins of their problems. There are several techniques consisting of: free association, dream analysis and projective tests. Free association is a technique that is used to try and encourage the client to express anything that may come into their mind. Things they mention through free association may lead to other thoughts and memories being discovered that were repressed previously.  It is important that the client does not censor the material at all, as this allows the ego defences to be lowered and repressed material to be accessed. The therapist may intervene occasionally to encourage things such as further reflection on certain points. They are also present to identify key themes throughout the technique. Dream analysis is a technique that is used to try and retrieve information and wishes from the id that are too threatening to be consciously acknowledged. However, these wishes were usually distorted within a dream, meaning assumptions would have to be made. Dreams have an obvious content that can be recalled which is called manifest content. Beneath this is actual meaning of the dream, which can only be revealed through the therapist’s interpretation. This is the main role of the therapist along with trying to understand how the dream operates and therefore the symbolism of the dream. After putting together the themes that may emerge, anxieties and conflicts become clear for the therapist to interpret. These issues can then be worked through with the therapist. Projected tests is a technique consisting of showing the client a series of shapes and ink blots. The ink blot itself doesn’t mean anything, it’s ambiguous and there is room for interpretation. How the client reads into it is how the therapist will see patterns emerge such as different anxieties.

One drawback of these therapies is that people must be prepared to invest a lot of time and money into the therapy; they must be motivated. When compared to other therapies such as biological therapies which involve drugs, psychoanalysis takes a lot longer to take effect and the client takes a lot longer to shows signs of improvement, where as drug treatments are almost immediate. This could lead to less people choosing this option as not everyone has the time to go to weekly sessions with a therapist. In addition, due to people’s situations they may not have the money to pay to see a therapist every week.

Another drawback is that the therapy does not work with all types of disorders. In terms of effectiveness, psychodynamic therapies have said to be mainly only appropriate for neurotic disorders such as anxiety and eating disorders. They have proven to be ineffective in more severe cases like schizophrenia and depression as psychodynamic therapies look at what’s caused the illness rather on reducing symptoms. 

Another weakness of this therapy would be some ethical issues. This includes things such as the fact that the therapist takes an expert role. This may seem normal but due to the client having no insight into their own unconscious, they rely on the therapist wholly for feedback about their progress. This can create an imbalance of power between therapist and client.


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