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Does neurodynamics have any relation to psychodynamics?

Does neurodynamics have any relation to psychodynamics?


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From Neural oscillation - Wikipedia:

Neural oscillations are commonly studied from a mathematical framework and belong to the field of "neurodynamics", an area of research in the cognitive sciences that places a strong focus upon the dynamic character of neural activity in describing brain function.

From Psychodynamics - Wikipedia:

Psychodynamics, also known as psychodynamic psychology, in its broadest sense, is an approach to psychology that emphasizes systematic study of the psychological forces that underlie human behavior, feelings, and emotions and how they might relate to early experience. It is especially interested in the dynamic relations between conscious motivation and unconscious motivation.

When I was watching this artwork, I didn't know about neurodynamics and thought that it was completely about psychodynamics, because I thought the emergence and dissipation of the waves in the artwork were about consciousness and subconsciousness. This thought is strengthened in this letter:

Mental awareness and 'I' emerge as a secondary phenomenon from the primary stream of thinking-in-movement.

I know psychodynamics is regarded as pseudoscience for the lack of evidence, but it's still useful enough for some specific psychological disorders. And as neurodynamics is about oscillation and psychodynamics was inspired from thermodynamics, if we can find the link between the two in physics (which they should), then we will see the link between the two.

So does neurodynamics have any relation to psychodynamics?

Related: Is there a difference between physiological stimulations and psychological stimulations?


I believe I can see where the confusion lies when comparing the interesting artwork with psychodynamic theory. The artwork you linked uses Neurological data to form images, whereas you may be getting confused with the famous Rorschach test otherwise known as the Inkblot test, and how the inkblot images are interpreted by the viewer.

Many psychologists in the United Kingdom do not trust its efficacy and it is rarely used, however, it is used by some mental health organisations such as the Tavistock Clinic (BBC, 2012).

The artwork with the "emergence and dissipation of waves" is using neurodynamic data and the Rorschach test is a psychodynamic test.

Neurodynamics relates to, or involves the dynamics of communication between different parts of the nervous system (Source) and the earliest document I can find relating to it is an unclassified document held by the DTIC (US Defence Technical Information Center) (Rosenblatt, 1961). Shacklock (1995) also talks about neurodynamics in the realm of physiotherapy.

Psychodynamics, as stated in the Wikipedia article you linked, is about the dynamic relations between conscious motivation and unconscious motivation that underlie human behavior, feelings, and emotions and how they might relate to early experience.

So the two are not related, and in fact are very different.

A combination of the 2 sets of theories can be seen to be Neuropsychodynamics as in Miller (1990).

References

BBC (2012). Dr Inkblot BBC Radio 4
Review available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01l0kch

Miller, L. (1990). Neuropsychodynamics of alcoholism and addiction: Personality, psychopathology, and cognitive style. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 7(1), 31-49.
DOI: 10.1016/0740-5472(90)90034-N PMID: 2179572

Rosenblatt, F. (1961). Principles of neurodynamics. perceptrons and the theory of brain mechanisms (No. VG-1196-G-8) DTIC [Unclassified PDF]
Available from: http://www.dtic.mil/docs/citations/AD0256582

Shacklock, M. (1995). Neurodynamics. Physiotherapy, 81(1), 9-16.
DOI: 10.1016/S0031-9406(05)67024-1


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder in which individuals suffer from invasive and unwanted thoughts and behaviors that drive them to repetitive actions to ease anxiety (“ADAA”, 2010-2016). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition, an individual diagnosed with OCD must present with obsessions, compulsions, or both in a time-consuming manner or cause impairment in some area of effective functioning (“Beyond OCD, 2016). Additionally, the DSM mandates the condition cannot be attributed to any other medical condition or physiological effects of substances such as drugs or alcohol (“Beyond OCD,” 2016).

Obsessions are recurrent intrusive and unwanted thoughts or impulses experienced by an individual that lead to distress or anxiety. The individual attempts to ignore the thoughts or subside the thoughts through the use of compulsory actions (“Beyond OCD” 2016). Compulsions are ritualistic or repetitive behaviors the individual indulges in according to specific rules to subside obsessive thoughts. The behaviors aim to reduce anxiety or distress, but disconnect from the reality of the obsession or occur in an excessive manner (“Beyond OCD”, 2016).

The symptoms of OCD include obsessions and compulsions that may or may not be recognizable by others. For instance, the compulsions are behaviors utilized to subside the obsessive thoughts. The obsessive thoughts are triggered by stimuli from a direct obsession or fear or the through certain sensory stimuli. Sensory stimulation of obsession may cause one to search for something that looks or feels right rather than diminishing a direct fear (“Beyond OCD,” 2016).

Effective treatment of OCD consists of Cognitive Behavior Therapy can reduce symptoms in conjunction with medication to treat underlying causes such as depression which often accompanies OCD (“Beyond OCD”, 2016). CBT utilizes exposure therapy to break the cycle of compulsions as the gradual introduction to the obsession occurs. For instance, one may present with excessive handwashing. The therapist may have the individual hold something and not wash their hands after. It is essential for the individual to continue exposures after therapy to maintain remission of symptoms (“Beyond OCD,” 2016).

The psychodynamic approach began with Freud and maintained human behavior is motivated by unconscious drives the ego contains defense mechanisms used to deal with unresolved conflicts that contribute to behavior, and early experience impacts adulthood (Plante, 2011). Freud’s perspective anticipated that insight in combination with working through the unconscious motivators help improve psychological health and behavior, as well as analyzing the transferential relationship between therapist and patient improves mental health and behavior (Plante, 2011). Additionally, analyzing defensiveness and resistance to treatment allows insight into the behaviors being triggered (Plante, 2011). Techniques such as dream analysis and interpretation, free association, and transference analysis make it possible for the therapist to gain insight and understanding and work through unconscious impulses, wishes, drives, and conflicts the individual deals with on a daily basis (Plante, 2011).

OCD, initially termed by Sigmund Freud as “obsessional neurosis” fell under the umbrella of neurasthenia (Kempke & Luyten, 2007). Freud conceptualized the disorder as a conflict between the ego and superego, or aggressive and sexual impulses emerging from the id manifesting symptoms of obsessions as a punishment sent by the superego (Kempke & Luyten, 2007). According to Freud, an individual with OCD has actively repressed aggressive impulses which manifest through uncontrollable maladaptive behaviors, whereas an individual perceived as “normal” deals with the impulses in a more positive manner (Kempke & Luyten, 2007).

Treatment focuses on early childhood experiences, personality structure, and influences of the unconscious through analysis of past experience and dream relationships to the individual (Plante, 2011). The effectiveness of the psychodynamic theory holds the potential for a positive outcome. The theory dictates that past experience shapes individual behavior. A patient develops disorders such as OCD due to something in their past, learning, acknowledging, and dealing with the experiences that built the behaviors aids the patient in finding acceptance and leading the way to break the undesired cycle (Plante, 2011).

The cognitive-behavior approach focuses on thoughts and beliefs in conjunction with reinforcements to control undesirable behavior to control and manipulate behavior however it draws more on behaviorism than cognitive psychology (Plante, 2011). Cognitive-behavior therapy derives from the research performed by psychologists such as Skinner, Watson, and Hull in regards to the principles of learning and conditioning (Plante, 2011). Both overt and covert behaviors acquired through learning and conditioning in the social environment (Plante, 2011). Primarily focused on current experience, Cognitive-behavior therapy applies emphasis on observable and measurable behavior, environmental influences on behavior, and empirical research on assessment, treatment, and intervention through the use of perspectives such as operant and classical conditioning, social learning, and attribution theories (Plante, 2011).

Classical conditioning, such as exposure can be used to overcome fears and anxieties (Plante, 2011). Gradually introducing the stimulus that causes the fear or anxiety allows an individual to overcome slowly the fear or anxiousness that arises when exposed to the stimulus (Plante, 2011). Thought-stopping techniques interrupt the negative thought patterns that lead to anxious behaviors and reinforce positivism, as in obsessive thoughts (Plante, 2011). Developing a behavior contract with a therapist may help patients stay focused, stick to the intervention plan and behavior rehearsal can prepare the patient for unexpected exposure and aid in breaking the cycle of as in compulsions (Plante, 2011).

The humanistic approach rejects the perspectives of behavior and psychodynamic theories and assumes a phenomenological approach that encompasses the individual’s perception of experience in the world (Plante, 2011). The underlying basis of the humanist perspective is that people are active, creative and strive for growth and love as they aim for the goal of self-actualization, or the greater love, peace, and acceptance from others and the self (Plante, 2011). To help individuals achieve the goal of self-actualization, humanists exhibit active listening, empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence with patients (Plante, 2011) allowing the patient to feel he or she is in control of their destiny and their thoughts and feelings are accepted no matter what they are.

Rogers developed the client-centered approach that emphasizes the importance of emotional honesty and a non-judgmental therapeutic environment (Plante, 2011). He emphasized people have an innate drive for growth. However that drive may be hindered by the social environment as pressure is placed on the individual to follow a path he or she is not truly passionate about resulting in a deficit of reaching self-actualization (Plante, 2011). Maslow developed the hierarchy of needs which is a ladder an individual must climb to reach their full potential and achieve peace and acceptance of themselves and within the world. He emphasized failing to complete all steps would result in the individual not fulfilling the peak experience of self-actualization (Plante, 2011). Perls Gestalt perspective assumes that problems occur due to the individual’s inability to be aware of their current self-status causing their focus to lay in the past rather than the present (Plante, 2011). Self-determination theory emphasizes the importance of the three fundamental psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness, which, when nurtured, lead one toward self-actualization allowing the client to feel respect from the therapist and in control of their services. The therapist goal is to see the world through the eyes of the client and not tell the patient what to do, but encourage positive choices in the direction of self-actualization (Plante, 2011).

The Humanist approach to dealing with OCD allows the patient to feel as if they are in full control of what is taking place as they experience empathy and respect from the treating therapist. The patient is encouraged to choose their destiny: to eliminate the obsession and compulsive behaviors caused by the obsession and not feel as if their disorder is being judged and scrutinized, rather accepted, but changeable.

The family systems approach aims to reduce limitations from the other perspectives caused by intercommunication problems with the patient (Plante, 2011). This approach incorporates family members as well as others intimately related to the patient into therapy. Family systems therapist emphasize any change in a member’s behavior affects the family unit as a whole not just the individual experiencing the behavior change (Plante, 2011). Satir’s communication approach assumes family dysfunction attributed to ineffective communication. Promoting congruent communication encourages the member to speak only true feelings and break down any blocks in the communication line, to achieve understanding among all involved (Plante, 2011). Minuchin’s structural approach focuses on breaking patterns of enmeshment, differentiation, and disengagement by promoting a more balanced and functional family unit (Plante, 2011). The Milan approach focuses on the incorporating the therapist as a part of the family unit, not an outsider. Through the use of hypothesizing and positive, logical connotation positivity among the familial unit holds the potential to create solidarity among all members. Since the goal is to alter behavior, the assumption that resilience will be met is probable but repairable with certain techniques. Paradoxical techniques, or “reverse psychology” are effective when attempting to alter familial behaviors and faced with member resistance (Plante, 2011). Reframing holds promise in that it causes the family to see a negative behavior as a positive signal for something (Plante, 2011). For instance, an individual obsessed with hand washing can be perceived as an individual who is modeling the behavior of cleanliness and not spreading germs.

Effectiveness of Treatments

OCD is a disorder that cannot cure itself. It develops from some experience that leaves an impressive mark on the individual. All four perspectives, when incorporated together will hold the highest potential for breaking OCD cycles. Psychodynamic therapists force the individual to face past experiences and analyze them to get to the cause of the fear or anxiety that causes the compulsive behaviors and then guides the individual into acceptance enabling them to grow from the experience rather than dwell and become locked down. Cognitive behavior therapy utilizes conditioning techniques that produce reinforcement schedules that deter the compulsory negative behaviors and redirect the individual to more positive behavior. Additionally, exposure therapy has proven beneficial when attempting to break a fear and alter reactions to the fear. Humanistic therapy promotes a positive, accepting environment void of judgment that allows the individual to feel accepted rather than rejected adding promise to the acceptance of the modified behaviors. Family systems therapy incorporates all persons into therapy teaching the family and supportive individuals how to deal with the patient as well as how to be supportive and communicate effectively to achieve a more balanced and peaceful environment. Combining all four approaches would be beneficial to an individual living with OCD.


Definition:

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on how a person’s past and unconscious thoughts can impact present day behaviors. It can be confused with cognitive behavioral therapy, but it does not focus on behavior as much, but rather on emotions. The foundations for psychodynamic therapy are found in psychoanalytic theory, and are related to Freudian ideas and the ego.

Method:

The idea behind this type of therapy is to focus on issues during development, and to examine a patient’s emotions and the unconscious mind. Past relationships and events also provide insight into current issues a patient may be having. The therapy involves talking and it relies on a close relationship being established between the patient and therapist. Psychodynamic therapy can be a short-term process or a long-term form of therapy. Short-term therapy lasts a maximum of 8 months and is about 25 sessions, while long-term therapy lasts longer than 8 months.

Psychodynamic therapy can be used to help patients who have struggles with substance abuse, and it is also a common way to treat patients with mental illnesses. People with depression, anxiety, and personality disorders also often benefit from this type of therapy.

Advantages:

Psychodynamic therapy helps patients to better understand their own feelings and why they may act the way they do. The patient is able to gain more confidence and learn a better way to relate to other people, and thus, improve relationships.

Disadvantages:

A drawback of psychodynamic therapy is that it can make a patient feel worse initially, because it explores a patient’s past history and traumas.


Contents

While object relations theory is based on psychodynamic theory, it modified it so that the role of biological drives in the formation of adult personality received less emphasis. [3] The theory suggests that the way people relate to others and situations in their adult lives is shaped by family experiences during infancy. For example, an adult who experienced neglect or abuse in infancy would expect similar behavior from others who remind them of the neglectful or abusive parent from their past. These images of people and events turn into objects in the unconscious that the "self" carries into adulthood, and they are used by the unconscious to predict people's behavior in their social relationships and interactions.

The first "object" in someone is usually an internalized image of one's mother. Internal objects are formed by the patterns in one's experience of being taken care of as a baby, which may or may not be accurate representations of the actual, external caretakers. Objects are usually internalized images of one's mother, father, or primary caregiver, although they could also consist of parts of a person such as an infant relating to the breast or things in one's inner world (one's internalized image of others). [4] Later experiences can reshape these early patterns, but objects often continue to exert a strong influence throughout life. [5] Objects are initially comprehended in the infant mind by their functions and are termed part objects. [5] The breast that feeds the hungry infant is the "good breast", while a hungry infant that finds no breast is in relation to the "bad breast". [5] With a "good enough" facilitating environment, part object functions eventually transform into a comprehension of whole objects. This corresponds with the ability to tolerate ambiguity, to see that both the "good" and the "bad" breast are a part of the same mother figure. [5]

The initial line of thought emerged in 1917 with Ferenczi and, early in the 1930s, Sullivan, coiner of the term "interpersonal". [6] British psychologists Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott, Harry Guntrip, Scott Stuart, and others extended object relations theory during the 1940s and 1950s. Ronald Fairbairn in 1952 independently formulated his theory of object relations. [7]

The term has been used in many different contexts, which led to different connotations and denotations. [1] While Fairbairn popularized the term "object relations", Melanie Klein's work tends to be most commonly identified with the terms "object relations theory" and "British object relations", at least in contemporary North America, though the influence of 'what is known as the British independent perspective, which argued that the primary motivation of the child is object seeking rather than drive gratification', [8] is becoming increasingly recognized. Klein felt that the psychodynamic battleground that Freud proposed occurs very early in life, during infancy. Furthermore, its origins are different from those that Freud proposed. The interactions between infant and mother are so deep and intense that they form the focus of the infant's structure of drives. Some of these interactions provoke anger and frustration others provoke strong emotions of dependence as the child begins to recognize the mother is more than a breast from which to feed. These reactions threaten to overwhelm the individuality of the infant. The way in which the infant resolves the conflict, Klein believed, is reflected in the adult's personality. [9]

Freud originally identified people in a subject's environment with the term "object" to identify people as the object of drives. Fairbairn took a radical departure from Freud by positing that humans were not seeking satisfaction of the drive, but actually seek the satisfaction that comes in being in relation to real others. Klein and Fairbairn were working along similar lines, but unlike Fairbairn, Klein always held that she was not departing from Freudian theory, but simply elaborating early developmental phenomena consistent with Freudian theory.

Within the London psychoanalytic community, a conflict of loyalties took place between Klein and object relations theory (sometimes referred to as "id psychology"), [10] and Anna Freud and ego psychology. In America, Anna Freud heavily influenced American psychoanalysis in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. American ego psychology was furthered in the works of Hartmann, Kris, Loewenstein, Rapaport, Erikson, Jacobson, and Mahler. In London, those who refused to choose sides were termed the "middle school," whose members included Michael Balint and D.W. Winnicott. A certain division developed in England between the school of Anna Freud and that of Melanie Klein, [11] [12] which later influenced psychoanalytic politics worldwide. [13] Klein was popularized in South America while A. Freud garnered an American allegiance. [14]

Fairbairn revised much of Freud's model of the mind. He identified how people who were abused as children internalize that experience. Fairbairn's "moral defense" is the tendency seen in survivors of abuse to take all the bad upon themselves, each believing he is morally bad so his caretaker object can be regarded as good. This is a use of splitting as a defense to maintain an attachment relationship in an unsafe world. Fairbairn introduced a four-year-old girl with a broken arm to a doctor friend of his. He told the little girl that they were going to find her a new mommy. "Oh no!" the girl cried. "I want my real mommy." "You mean the mommy that broke your arm?" Fairbairn asked. "I was bad," the girl replied. [15] She needed to believe that her love object (mother) was all good, so that she could believe she would one day receive the love and nurturing she needed. If she accepted her mother was bad, then she would be bereft and alone in the world, an intolerable state. She used the Moral Defense to make herself bad, but preserve her mother's goodness.

Unconscious phantasy Edit

Klein termed the psychological aspect of instinct unconscious phantasy (deliberately spelled with 'ph' to distinguish it from the word 'fantasy'). Phantasy is a given of psychic life which moves outward towards the world. These image-potentials are given a priority with the drives and eventually allow the development of more complex states of mental life. Unconscious phantasy in the infant's emerging mental life is modified by the environment as the infant has contact with reality. [16]

From the moment the infant starts interacting with the outer world, he is engaged in testing his phantasies in a reality setting. I want to suggest that the origin of thought lies in this process of testing phantasy against reality that is, that thought is not only contrasted with phantasy, but based on it and derived from it. [16] : 45

The role of unconscious phantasy is essential in the development of a capacity for thinking. In Bion's terms, the phantasy image is a preconception that will not be a thought until experience combines with a realization in the world of experience. The preconception and realization combine to take form as a concept that can be thought. [17] [18] [19] The classic example of this is the infant's observed rooting for the nipple in the first hours of life. The instinctual rooting is the preconception. The provision of the nipple provides the realization in the world of experience, and through time, with repeated experience, the preconception and realization combined to create the concept. Mental capacity builds upon previous experience as the environment and infant interact.

The first bodily experiences begin to build up the first memories, and external realities are progressively woven into the texture of phantasy. Before long, the child's phantasies are able to draw upon plastic images as well as sensations—visual, auditory, kinæsthetic, touch, taste, smell images, etc. And these plastic images and dramatic representations of phantasy are progressively elaborated along with articulated perceptions of the external world. [20]

With adequate care, the infant is able to tolerate increasing awareness of experience which is underlain by unconscious phantasy and leads to attainment of consecutive developmental achievements, "the positions" in Kleinian theory.

Projective identification Edit

As a specific term, projective identification is introduced by Klein in “Notes on some schizoid mechanisms.” [21]

[Projection] helps the ego to overcome anxiety by ridding it of danger and badness. Introjection of the good object is also used by the ego as a defense against anxiety. . . .The processes of splitting off parts of the self and projecting them into objects are thus of vital importance for normal development as well as for abnormal object-relation. The effect of introjection on object relations is equally important. The introjection of the good object, first of all the mother’s breast, is a precondition for normal development . . . It comes to form a focal point in the ego and makes for cohesiveness of the ego. . . . I suggest for these processes the term ‘projective identification’. [21] : 6–9

Klein imagined this function as a defense which contributes to the normal development of the infant, including ego structure and the development of object relations. The introjection of the good breast provides a location where one can hide from persecution, an early step in developing a capacity to self-soothe.

Ogden [22] identifies four functions that projective identification may serve. As in the traditional Kleinian model, it serves as a defense. Projective identification serves as a mode of communication. It is a form of object relations, and “a pathway for psychological change.” [22] : 21 As a form of object relationship, projective identification is a way of relating with others who are not seen as entirely separate from the individual. Instead, this relating takes place “between the stage of the subjective object and that of true object relatedness”. [22] : 23

The paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions Edit

The positions of Kleinian theory, underlain by unconscious phantasy, are stages in the normal development of ego and object relationships, each with its own characteristic defenses and organizational structure. The paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions occur in the pre-oedipal, oral phase of development.

In contrast to Fairbairn and later Guntrip, [23] Klein believed that both good and bad objects are introjected by the infant, the internalization of good objects being essential to the development of healthy ego function. [21] : 4 Klein conceptualized the depressive position as “the most mature form of psychological organization”, which continues to develop throughout the life span. [24] : 11

The depressive position occurs during the second quarter of the first year. [21] : 14 Prior to that the infant is in the paranoid-schizoid position, which is characterized by persecutory anxieties and the mechanisms of splitting, projection, introjection, and omnipotence—which includes idealizing and denial—to defend against these anxieties. [21] : 7 Depressive and paranoid-schizoid modes of experience continue to intermingle throughout the first few years of childhood.

Paranoid-schizoid position Edit

The paranoid-schizoid position is characterized by part object relationships. Part objects are a function of splitting, which takes place in phantasy. At this developmental stage, experience can only be perceived as all good or all bad. As part objects, it is the function that is identified by the experiencing self, rather than whole and autonomous others. The hungry infant desires the good breast who feeds it. Should that breast appear, it is the good breast. If the breast does not appear, the hungry and now frustrated infant, in its distress, has destructive phantasies dominated by oral aggression towards the bad, hallucinated breast. [21] : 5

Klein notes that in splitting the object, the ego is also split. [21] : 6 The infant who phantasies destruction of the bad breast is not the same infant that takes in the good breast, at least not until obtaining the depressive position, at which point good and bad can be tolerated simultaneously in the same person and the capacity for remorse and reparation ensue.

The anxieties of the paranoid schizoid position are of a persecutory nature, fear of the ego's annihilation. [21] : 33 Splitting allows good to stay separate from bad. Projection is an attempt to eject the bad in order to control through omnipotent mastery. Splitting is never fully effective, according to Klein, as the ego tends towards integration. [21] : 34

Depressive position Edit

Klein saw the depressive position as an important developmental milestone that continues to mature throughout the life span. The splitting and part object relations that characterize the earlier phase are succeeded by the capacity to perceive that the other who frustrates is also the one who gratifies. Schizoid defenses are still in evidence, but feelings of guilt, grief, and the desire for reparation gain dominance in the developing mind.

In the depressive position, the infant is able to experience others as whole, which radically alters object relationships from the earlier phase. [21] : 3 “Before the depressive position, a good object is not in any way the same thing as a bad object. It is only in the depressive position that polar qualities can be seen as different aspects of the same object.” [25] : 37 Increasing nearness of good and bad brings a corresponding integration of ego.

In a development which Grotstein terms the "primal split", [25] : 39 the infant becomes aware of separateness from the mother. This awareness allows guilt to arise in response to the infant's previous aggressive phantasies when bad was split from good. The mother's temporary absences allow for continuous restoration of her “as an image of representation” in the infant mind. [25] : 39 Symbolic thought may now arise, and can only emerge once access to the depressive position has been obtained. With the awareness of the primal split, a space is created in which the symbol, the symbolized, and the experiencing subject coexist. History, subjectivity, interiority, and empathy all become possible. [24] : 14

The anxieties characteristic of the depressive position shift from a fear of being destroyed to a fear of destroying others. In fact or phantasy, one now realizes the capacity to harm or drive away a person who one ambivalently loves. The defenses characteristic of the depressive position include the manic defenses, repression and reparation. The manic defenses are the same defenses evidenced in the paranoid-schizoid position, but now mobilized to protect the mind from depressive anxiety. As the depressive position brings about an increasing integration in the ego, earlier defenses change in character, becoming less intense and allowing for in increased awareness of psychic reality. [26] : 73

In working through depressive anxiety, projections are withdrawn, allowing the other more autonomy, reality, and a separate existence. [16] : 16 The infant, whose destructive phantasies were directed towards the bad mother who frustrated, now begins to realize that bad and good, frustrating and satiating, it is always the same mother. Unconscious guilt for destructive phantasies arises in response to the continuing love and attention provided by caretakers.

[As] fears of losing the loved one become active, a very important step is made in the development. These feelings of guilt and distress now enter as a new element into the emotion of love. They become an inherent part of love, and influence it profoundly both in quality and quantity. [27] : 65

From this developmental milestone come a capacity for sympathy, responsibility to and concern for others, and an ability to identify with the subjective experience of people one cares about. [27] : 65–66 With the withdrawal of the destructive projections, repression of the aggressive impulses takes place. [26] : 72–73 The child allows caretakers a more separate existence, which facilitates increasing differentiation of inner and outer reality. Omnipotence is lessened, which corresponds to a decrease in guilt and the fear of loss. [16] : 16

When all goes well, the developing child is able to comprehend that external others are autonomous people with their own needs and subjectivity.

Previously, extended absences of the object (the good breast, the mother) was experienced as persecutory, and, according to the theory of unconscious phantasy, the persecuted infant phantisizes destruction of the bad object. The good object who then arrives is not the object which did not arrive. Likewise, the infant who destroyed the bad object is not the infant who loves the good object.

In phantasy, the good internal mother can be psychically destroyed by the aggressive impulses. It is crucial that the real parental figures are around to demonstrate the continuity of their love. In this way, the child perceives that what happens to good objects in phantasy does not happen to them in reality. Psychic reality is allowed to evolve as a place separate from the literalness of the physical world.

Through repeated experience with good enough parenting, the internal image that the child has of external others, that is the child's internal object, is modified by experience and the image transforms, merging experiences of good and bad which becomes more similar to the real object (e.g. the mother, who can be both good and bad). In Freudian terms, the pleasure principle is modified by the reality principle.

Melanie Klein saw this surfacing from the depressive position as a prerequisite for social life. Moreover, she viewed the establishment of an inside and an outside world as the start of interpersonal relationships.

Klein argued that people who never succeed in working through the depressive position in their childhood will, as a result, continue to struggle with this problem in adult life. For example: the cause that a person may maintain suffering from intense guilt feelings over the death of a loved one, may be found in the unworked- through depressive position. The guilt is there because of a lack of differentiation between phantasy and reality. It also functions as a defense mechanism to defend the self against unbearable feelings of sadness and sorrow, and the internal object of the loved one against the unbearable rage of the self, which, it is feared, could destroy the internal object forever.

Further thinking regarding the positions Edit

Wilfred Bion articulates the dynamic nature of the positions, a point emphasised by Thomas Ogden, and expanded by John Steiner in terms of '"The equilibrium between the paranoid-schizoid and the depressive positions"'. [28] Ogden and James Grotstein have continued to explore early infantile states of mind, and incorporating the work of Donald Meltzer, Ester Bick and others, postulate a position preceding the paranoid-schizoid. Grotstein, following Bion, also hypothesizes a transcendent position which emerges following attainment of the depressive position. This aspect of both Ogden and Grotstein's work remains controversial for many within classical object relations theory.

Death drive Edit

Sigmund Freud developed the concept object relation to describe or emphasize that bodily drives satisfy their need through a medium, an object, on a specific focus. The central thesis in Melanie Klein's object relations theory was that objects play a decisive role in the development of a subject and can be either part-objects or whole-objects, i.e. a single organ (a mother's breast) or a whole person (a mother). Consequently, both a mother or just the mother's breast can be the focus of satisfaction for a drive. Furthermore, according to traditional psychoanalysis, there are at least two types of drives, the libido (mythical counterpart: Eros), and the death drive, mortido (mythical counterpart: Thanatos). Thus, the objects can be receivers of both love and hate, the affective effects of the libido and the death drive.

Fairbairn was impressed with the work of Klein, particularly in her emphasis on internalized objects, but he objected to the notion that internalization of external objects was based on death instinct. The death instinct is a remnant of the Freudian model that was emphasized in Klein's model, and her model assumes that human behavior is motivated by a struggle between the instinctual forces of love and hate. Klein believed that each human being was born with a inborn death instinct which motivated the child to imagine hurting their mother during the schizoid period of development. The child attempts to protect themselves from becoming overwhelmed by hate by internalizing, or taking into themselves, memories of the loving aspects of their parents to counteract the hateful components. Fairbairn's model also emphasized the internalization of external objects, but his view of internalization was not based on instinctual drive, but rather the child's normal desire to understand the world around him.

Fairbairn began his theory with is observation of the child's absolute dependency on the good will of its mother. The infant, Fairbairn noted was dependent on its maternal object (or caretaker) for providing him with all of his physical and psychological needs as noted in the following passage.

The outstanding feature of infantile dependence is its unconditional character. The infant is completely dependent upon its object not only for his object not only for his existence and physical well being, but also for the satisfaction of his psychological needs. In contrast, the very helplessness of the child is sufficient to render him dependent in an unconditional sense. He has no alternative but to accept or reject his object- an alternative that is liable to present itself to him as a choice between life and death (Fairbairn, 1952, 47) [29]

When the maternal object provides a sense of safety and warmth the child's innate "central ego" is able to take in new experiences which allows him to expand his contact with the environment beyond the tight orbit of his mother. This is the beginning of the process of differentiation, or separation from the parent, which eventuates into a new and unique individual. As long as the maternal object continues to provide emotional warmth, support and a sense of safety, the child will continue to develop throughout childhood. However, if the parent fails to consistently provide these factors, the child's development stops and he regresses and remains undifferentiated from his mother, as the following quote illustrates.

The greatest need of a child is to obtain conclusive assurance (a) that he is genuinely loved as a person by his parents, and (b) that his parents genuinely accept his love. It is only in so far as such assurance is forthcoming in a form sufficiently convincing to enable him to depend safely upon his real objects that he is able to gradually renounce infantile dependence without misgiving. In the absence of such assurance his relationship with his objects is fraught with too much anxiety over separation to enable him to renounce the attitude of infantile dependence: for such a renunciation would be equivalent in his eyes to forfeiting all hope of ever obtaining the satisfaction of his unsatisfied emotional needs. Frustration of his desire to be loved as a person and have his love accepted is the greatest trauma that a child can experience (Fairbairn, 1952:39-40). [7]

This quote illustrates the basis of Fairbairn's model. It is completely interpersonal in that there are no biological drives of inherited instincts. The child is born with a need for love and safety, and when his interpersonal environment fails him, he stops developing psychologically and emotionally. The counterintitutive result of maternal (or paternal, if the father is the primary caregiver) failure is that the child becomes more, rather than less, dependent upon her, because by failing to meet her child's needs the child has to remain dependent in the hope that love and support will be forthcoming in the future. Over time, the failed support of the child's developmental needs leaves him farther and farther behind his similarly aged peers. The emotionally abandoned child must turn to his own resources for comfort, and turns to his inner world with its readily available fantasies, in an attempt to partially meet his needs for comfort, love and later, for success. Often these fantasies involve others figures who have been self-created. Fairbairn noted that the child's turn toward his inner world, protected him from the harsh reality of his family environment, but turned him away from external reality "All represent relationships with internalized objects, to which the individual is compelled to turn in default of satisfactory relationships in the outer world (Fairbairn, 1952, 40 italics in the original). [7]

Fairbairn's Structural Theory Edit

Fairbairn realized that the child's absolute dependence on the good will of his mother made him intolerant of accepting or even acknowledging that he is being abused because that would weaken his necessary attachment to his parent. The child creates a delusion that he lives warm cocoon of love, and any information that interferes with this delusion is forcibly expelled from his consciousness, as he cannot face the terror of rejection or abandonment at three, four or five years of age. The defense that children use to maintain their sense of security is dissociation, and they force all memories of parental failures (neglect, indifference or emotional abandonments) into their unconscious. Over time the neglected child develops an ever expanding memory bank of event after event in which he was neglected. These dissociated interpersonal events are always in pairs, a self in relationship to an object. For example, a child who is neglected dissociates a memory of himself as a frightened confused self who has been neglected by a remote and indifferent parent. If these events are repeated again and again, the child's unconscious groups the memories into a view of the self and a view of the parent, both which are too toxic and upsetting to be allow into consciousness. The paired dissociations of self and object that accrued from rejections were called the antilibidinal ego (the child's frightened self) and the rejecting object (the indifferent or absent parent). Thus, in addition to the conscious central ego, which relates to the nurturing and supportive parts of the parent (called the ideal object), the child has a second view of self and object in his unconscious: the antilibidinal ego and the rejecting object.

No child can live in a world devoid of hope for the future. Fairbairn had a part time position in an orphanage, where he saw neglected and abused children. He noticed that they created fantasies about the "goodness" of their parents and eagerly looked forward to being reunited with them. He realized that these children had dissociated and repressed the many physical and emotional outrages that they had been subjected to in the family. Once in the orphanage, these same children lived in a fantasy world of hope and expectation, which prevented them from psychological collapse. The fantasy self that the child develops was called the libidinal self (or libidinal ego) and it related to the very best parts of the parents, who may have shown interest or tenderness toward their child at one time or another, which the needy child then enhances with fantasy. The fantasy enhanced view of the parent was called the exciting object by Fairbairn, which was based on the excitement of the child as he spun his fantasy of a reunion with his loving parents. This pair of self and objects is also contained in the child's unconscious, but he may call them into awareness when he desperate for comfort and support (Fairbairn, 1952, 102-119) [7]

Fairbairn structural model contains three selves that relate to three aspects of the object. The selves do not know or relate to each other, and the process of dissociation and the development of these structures is called the splitting defense, or splitting.

The child's central ego relates to the Ideal object when the parent is supportive and nurturant.

The antilibidinal ego relates only to the rejecting object, and these structures contain the child's fear and anger as well as the parent's indifference, neglect or outright abuse.

The libidinal ego relates only to the exciting object, and these structures contain the overly hopeful child who relates to the exciting over-promising parent.

The Fairbairnian object relations therapist imagines that all interactions between the client and the therapist are occurring in the client's inner object relations world, in one of the three dyads. The Fairbairnian object relations therapist also uses his/her own emotional reactions as therapeutic cues. If the therapist is feeling irritated at the client, or bored, he/she might interpret that as a re-enactment of the Antilibidinal Ego and the Bad Object, with the therapist cast in the role of Bad Object. If the therapist can patiently be an empathic therapist through the client's re-enactment, then the client has a new experience to incorporate into their inner object world, hopefully expanding their inner picture of their Good Object. Cure is seen as the client being able to receive from their inner Good Object often enough to have a more stable peaceful life. [15]

Numerous research studies have found that most all models of psychotherapy are equally helpful, the difference mainly being the quality of the individual therapist, not the theory the therapist subscribes to. Object Relations Theory attempts to explain this phenomenon via the theory of the Good Object. If a therapist can be patient and empathic, most clients improve their functioning in their world. The client carries with them a picture of the empathic therapist that helps them cope with the stressors of daily life, regardless of what theory of psychology they subscribe to.

Attachment theory, researched by John Bowlby and others, has continued to deepen our understanding of early object relationships. While a different strain of psychoanalytic theory and research, the findings in attachment studies have continued to support the validity of the developmental progressions described in object relations. Recent decades in developmental psychological research, for example on the onset of a "theory of mind" in children, has suggested that the formation of the mental world is enabled by the infant-parent interpersonal interaction which was the main thesis of British object-relations tradition (e.g. Fairbairn, 1952).

While object relations theory grew out of psychoanalysis, it has been applied to the general fields of psychiatry and psychotherapy by such authors as N. Gregory Hamilton [30] [31] and Glen O. Gabbard. In making object relations theory more useful as a general psychology N. Gregory Hamilton added the specific ego functions to Otto F. Kernberg's concept of object relations units. [32]


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder in which individuals suffer from invasive and unwanted thoughts and behaviors that drive them to repetitive actions to ease anxiety (“ADAA”, 2010-2016). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition, an individual diagnosed with OCD must present with obsessions, compulsions, or both in a time-consuming manner or cause impairment in some area of effective functioning (“Beyond OCD, 2016). Additionally, the DSM mandates the condition cannot be attributed to any other medical condition or physiological effects of substances such as drugs or alcohol (“Beyond OCD,” 2016).

Obsessions are recurrent intrusive and unwanted thoughts or impulses experienced by an individual that lead to distress or anxiety. The individual attempts to ignore the thoughts or subside the thoughts through the use of compulsory actions (“Beyond OCD” 2016). Compulsions are ritualistic or repetitive behaviors the individual indulges in according to specific rules to subside obsessive thoughts. The behaviors aim to reduce anxiety or distress, but disconnect from the reality of the obsession or occur in an excessive manner (“Beyond OCD”, 2016).

The symptoms of OCD include obsessions and compulsions that may or may not be recognizable by others. For instance, the compulsions are behaviors utilized to subside the obsessive thoughts. The obsessive thoughts are triggered by stimuli from a direct obsession or fear or the through certain sensory stimuli. Sensory stimulation of obsession may cause one to search for something that looks or feels right rather than diminishing a direct fear (“Beyond OCD,” 2016).

Effective treatment of OCD consists of Cognitive Behavior Therapy can reduce symptoms in conjunction with medication to treat underlying causes such as depression which often accompanies OCD (“Beyond OCD”, 2016). CBT utilizes exposure therapy to break the cycle of compulsions as the gradual introduction to the obsession occurs. For instance, one may present with excessive handwashing. The therapist may have the individual hold something and not wash their hands after. It is essential for the individual to continue exposures after therapy to maintain remission of symptoms (“Beyond OCD,” 2016).

The psychodynamic approach began with Freud and maintained human behavior is motivated by unconscious drives the ego contains defense mechanisms used to deal with unresolved conflicts that contribute to behavior, and early experience impacts adulthood (Plante, 2011). Freud’s perspective anticipated that insight in combination with working through the unconscious motivators help improve psychological health and behavior, as well as analyzing the transferential relationship between therapist and patient improves mental health and behavior (Plante, 2011). Additionally, analyzing defensiveness and resistance to treatment allows insight into the behaviors being triggered (Plante, 2011). Techniques such as dream analysis and interpretation, free association, and transference analysis make it possible for the therapist to gain insight and understanding and work through unconscious impulses, wishes, drives, and conflicts the individual deals with on a daily basis (Plante, 2011).

OCD, initially termed by Sigmund Freud as “obsessional neurosis” fell under the umbrella of neurasthenia (Kempke & Luyten, 2007). Freud conceptualized the disorder as a conflict between the ego and superego, or aggressive and sexual impulses emerging from the id manifesting symptoms of obsessions as a punishment sent by the superego (Kempke & Luyten, 2007). According to Freud, an individual with OCD has actively repressed aggressive impulses which manifest through uncontrollable maladaptive behaviors, whereas an individual perceived as “normal” deals with the impulses in a more positive manner (Kempke & Luyten, 2007).

Treatment focuses on early childhood experiences, personality structure, and influences of the unconscious through analysis of past experience and dream relationships to the individual (Plante, 2011). The effectiveness of the psychodynamic theory holds the potential for a positive outcome. The theory dictates that past experience shapes individual behavior. A patient develops disorders such as OCD due to something in their past, learning, acknowledging, and dealing with the experiences that built the behaviors aids the patient in finding acceptance and leading the way to break the undesired cycle (Plante, 2011).

The cognitive-behavior approach focuses on thoughts and beliefs in conjunction with reinforcements to control undesirable behavior to control and manipulate behavior however it draws more on behaviorism than cognitive psychology (Plante, 2011). Cognitive-behavior therapy derives from the research performed by psychologists such as Skinner, Watson, and Hull in regards to the principles of learning and conditioning (Plante, 2011). Both overt and covert behaviors acquired through learning and conditioning in the social environment (Plante, 2011). Primarily focused on current experience, Cognitive-behavior therapy applies emphasis on observable and measurable behavior, environmental influences on behavior, and empirical research on assessment, treatment, and intervention through the use of perspectives such as operant and classical conditioning, social learning, and attribution theories (Plante, 2011).

Classical conditioning, such as exposure can be used to overcome fears and anxieties (Plante, 2011). Gradually introducing the stimulus that causes the fear or anxiety allows an individual to overcome slowly the fear or anxiousness that arises when exposed to the stimulus (Plante, 2011). Thought-stopping techniques interrupt the negative thought patterns that lead to anxious behaviors and reinforce positivism, as in obsessive thoughts (Plante, 2011). Developing a behavior contract with a therapist may help patients stay focused, stick to the intervention plan and behavior rehearsal can prepare the patient for unexpected exposure and aid in breaking the cycle of as in compulsions (Plante, 2011).

The humanistic approach rejects the perspectives of behavior and psychodynamic theories and assumes a phenomenological approach that encompasses the individual’s perception of experience in the world (Plante, 2011). The underlying basis of the humanist perspective is that people are active, creative and strive for growth and love as they aim for the goal of self-actualization, or the greater love, peace, and acceptance from others and the self (Plante, 2011). To help individuals achieve the goal of self-actualization, humanists exhibit active listening, empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence with patients (Plante, 2011) allowing the patient to feel he or she is in control of their destiny and their thoughts and feelings are accepted no matter what they are.

Rogers developed the client-centered approach that emphasizes the importance of emotional honesty and a non-judgmental therapeutic environment (Plante, 2011). He emphasized people have an innate drive for growth. However that drive may be hindered by the social environment as pressure is placed on the individual to follow a path he or she is not truly passionate about resulting in a deficit of reaching self-actualization (Plante, 2011). Maslow developed the hierarchy of needs which is a ladder an individual must climb to reach their full potential and achieve peace and acceptance of themselves and within the world. He emphasized failing to complete all steps would result in the individual not fulfilling the peak experience of self-actualization (Plante, 2011). Perls Gestalt perspective assumes that problems occur due to the individual’s inability to be aware of their current self-status causing their focus to lay in the past rather than the present (Plante, 2011). Self-determination theory emphasizes the importance of the three fundamental psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness, which, when nurtured, lead one toward self-actualization allowing the client to feel respect from the therapist and in control of their services. The therapist goal is to see the world through the eyes of the client and not tell the patient what to do, but encourage positive choices in the direction of self-actualization (Plante, 2011).

The Humanist approach to dealing with OCD allows the patient to feel as if they are in full control of what is taking place as they experience empathy and respect from the treating therapist. The patient is encouraged to choose their destiny: to eliminate the obsession and compulsive behaviors caused by the obsession and not feel as if their disorder is being judged and scrutinized, rather accepted, but changeable.

The family systems approach aims to reduce limitations from the other perspectives caused by intercommunication problems with the patient (Plante, 2011). This approach incorporates family members as well as others intimately related to the patient into therapy. Family systems therapist emphasize any change in a member’s behavior affects the family unit as a whole not just the individual experiencing the behavior change (Plante, 2011). Satir’s communication approach assumes family dysfunction attributed to ineffective communication. Promoting congruent communication encourages the member to speak only true feelings and break down any blocks in the communication line, to achieve understanding among all involved (Plante, 2011). Minuchin’s structural approach focuses on breaking patterns of enmeshment, differentiation, and disengagement by promoting a more balanced and functional family unit (Plante, 2011). The Milan approach focuses on the incorporating the therapist as a part of the family unit, not an outsider. Through the use of hypothesizing and positive, logical connotation positivity among the familial unit holds the potential to create solidarity among all members. Since the goal is to alter behavior, the assumption that resilience will be met is probable but repairable with certain techniques. Paradoxical techniques, or “reverse psychology” are effective when attempting to alter familial behaviors and faced with member resistance (Plante, 2011). Reframing holds promise in that it causes the family to see a negative behavior as a positive signal for something (Plante, 2011). For instance, an individual obsessed with hand washing can be perceived as an individual who is modeling the behavior of cleanliness and not spreading germs.

Effectiveness of Treatments

OCD is a disorder that cannot cure itself. It develops from some experience that leaves an impressive mark on the individual. All four perspectives, when incorporated together will hold the highest potential for breaking OCD cycles. Psychodynamic therapists force the individual to face past experiences and analyze them to get to the cause of the fear or anxiety that causes the compulsive behaviors and then guides the individual into acceptance enabling them to grow from the experience rather than dwell and become locked down. Cognitive behavior therapy utilizes conditioning techniques that produce reinforcement schedules that deter the compulsory negative behaviors and redirect the individual to more positive behavior. Additionally, exposure therapy has proven beneficial when attempting to break a fear and alter reactions to the fear. Humanistic therapy promotes a positive, accepting environment void of judgment that allows the individual to feel accepted rather than rejected adding promise to the acceptance of the modified behaviors. Family systems therapy incorporates all persons into therapy teaching the family and supportive individuals how to deal with the patient as well as how to be supportive and communicate effectively to achieve a more balanced and peaceful environment. Combining all four approaches would be beneficial to an individual living with OCD.


Psychotic symptoms carry meaning

It follows from the above that the psychodynamic view is that the content of psychotic symptoms is meaningful. It is important for all psychiatrists to attempt to elucidate the hidden meanings. This will be especially useful in better identifying stressors and considering interventions to minimise psychotic relapses. However, unravelling the individual's experiences and internal life may not be easy, as the psychotic processes themselves may inhibit the individual's attempts to reflect on the meaning. Nevertheless, hallucinatory experiences and delusional ideas will contain clues to both the defensive processes in play and to the underlying realities being evaded, as in the following example.

N came from a family where achievement was highly valued, but obtained a poor degree and in his first job was made redundant after a few months. When he became psychotic, he heard voices saying that he was useless and incompetent and others reassuring him that he was doing the right thing working on his computer on an important mission for the American government.


How does psychodynamic therapy differ from traditional psychoanalysis?

Remember that Freud's theories were psychoanalytic, whereas the term 'psychodynamic' refers to both his theories and those of his followers. Freud's psychoanalysis is both a theory and therapy. The psychodynamic therapist would usually be treating the patient for depression or anxiety related disorders.

Also, what is psychodynamic and psychoanalysis? Psychoanalytic or psychodynamic psychotherapy draws on theories and practices of analytical psychology and psychoanalysis. It is a therapeutic process which helps patients understand and resolve their problems by increasing awareness of their inner world and its influence over relationships both past and present.

Beside above, how does contemporary psychodynamic therapy differ from classic psychoanalysis?

Behavioral approach&mdashClassical and operant conditioning principles are used to change people's behavior. How does contemporary psychodynamic therapy differ from classic psychoanalysis? Contemporary therapist puts less emphasis on a patient's past history and childhood than classic psychoanalysts.

What is the difference between person Centred and psychodynamic?

In contrast to the psychodynamic approach, the person-centred approach focuses on the conscious mind and what is going on in the here-and-now whereas the psychodynamic approach focuses on the subconscious and looks to early childhood to examine unresolved conflicts.


Does neurodynamics have any relation to psychodynamics? - Psychology

Psychopathic Sexual Sadists
The Psychology and Psychodynamics of Serial Killers

By Vernon J. Geberth, M.S., M.P.S.
Former Commander, Bronx Homicide, NYPD

©1995 Vernon J. Geberth, Practical Homicide Investigation
LAW and Order, Vol. 43, No. 4, April 1995

This article examined serial murderers, who violated their victims sexually, as reported within the journalistic, academic, and law enforcement literatures. The study focused on the practical application of the clinical criteria of Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) and Sexual Sadism as defined in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV .

The goal of this study was locating within clinical literature specific references of behavior which could be utilized in "predicting future dangerousness" of serial killers who were described as "psychopathic sexual sadists."

LITERATURE DEPICTIONS OF SERIAL MURDERERS AS "PSYCHOPATHIC SEXUAL SADISTS"

Among the number of paraphilias discussed in De River's (1958) often cited work "Crime and the Sexual Psychopath," is sexual sadism. De River speaks of sadism as a compelling element in some lust murders in others, arousal is not derived from the infliction of pain and suffering of the victim but rather from the act of killing itself. In this latter case, however, as with necrophiles, De River recognizes that even though the offender may not witness any prolonged degree of suffering on the part of the victim, he is likely to "[call] upon his imagination and fancy to supply him with the necessary engrams to satisfy his craving for his depravity." (p.41) This is not unlike lust murderers who torture victims before killing them, and then recall "an after-image (engram) of the sensation produced by the physical torture and mutilation, extending beyond time and space." (p.276) In each instance, lust murders are viewed as behaviors of sadistic sexual psychopaths.

According to Vetter (1990), serial murderers are almost routinely characterized in media accounts and much legal documentation as "psychopaths" or "sociopaths," which he notes are terms that were superseded by the diagnostic category "antisocial personality disorder" by the psychiatric community in its 1968 revision of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Cartel (1985) outlines the crime patterns, biographies, detection, and case processing of 21 serial killings. He notes that in addition to the apparent lack of guilt or compassion for their victim, serial murderers claim to experience euphoria during their murders. These observations are consistent with the aforementioned aspects of antisocial personality disorder. The intense arousal derives from the torture and/or killing of victims which Lunde (1976) identifies as sexual sadism, "a deviation characterized by torture and/or killing and mutilation of other persons in order to achieve sexual gratification" ( p.48). A reading of Brittain's (1970) work on the sadistic murderer reveals that such individuals are unconcerned with the moral implications of their brutality. They are excited by the sight of suffering and helplessness of their victims, whom they experience as objects. They usually kill by strangulation, apparently because of the total control over the victim that this method offers them.

Since it appears that a substantial proportion of male serial murderers violate their victims sexually, it is important to examine the role sexual behavior has in the killings. In the broader arena of sexual aggression -- not limited to serial murder -- clinical studies of sexually aggressive men have shown sadism as a dominant feature of their sexual arousal patterns.

Dietz (1986), like Brittain before him, contends that the paraphilia most frequently associated with sex murders is sadism. In fact, of serial killers, Dietz states, "[w]hile every serial killer is mentally disordered, nearly all are psychopathic sexual sadists, and few, if any, are psychotic. Psychotic offenders rarely have the wherewithal repeatedly to escape apprehension." (p.483)

Meloy (1992) describes Theodore Bundy as "a contemporary sexual psychopath" (p.108). Moreover, he speaks of other sexually psychopathic serial murderers and entertains the contention by Lunde (1976), among others, that there is a temporal coupling of erotic stimulation and violence in the childhood histories of what they call sexually psychopathic serial murderers.

THE RESEARCH

Examination of the case studies published on male serial killers reveals that the majority of those known to us violated their victims sexually. It is not uncommon to read of offenders who physically and/or sexually tortured their victims. These killers are often portrayed as "sexual sadists."

The author conducted this study from a clinical perspective utilizing behavioral criteria found in DSM-IV .

The practical application of this study can be found in assessing the future dangerousness of these type of killers who can be diagnosed as suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder and Sexual Sadism. Given the frequent reference in the academic literature as well as the popular media to serial murderers as "psychopathic sexual sadists," the author examined the extent to which clinical criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder and Sexual Sadism were met by a sample of serial murderers whose cases were documented in the journalistic, academic, and law enforcement literatures. This study examined the research on serial murder in an attempt to locate Antisocial Personality Disorder and Sexual Sadism as psychopathologies of serial murderers who had violated their victims sexually.

This study examined the crime scene behaviors and case histories of a sample of serial murderers in an effort to identify commonalties in the psychological makeup and personal background of these offenders that are consistent with clinical criteria. This approach provided the basis for inferences regarding psychodynamic aspects of the offensive behavior. These psychodynamics, which are the conscious and unconscious mental processes and emotive energies that interact and underlie human behavior, may suggest particular psychological traits indicative of specific pscyhopathology.

Criminal investigators will attest that, in general, the greater the psychopathology of the offender, the more distinctive his/her criminal behaviors tend to be. This may be plausible given the repetitive nature of sex-related offenses. Research indicates that a reliable basis from which to predict violent behavior does not exist beyond the increased probability that an individual who has been violent in particular circumstances in the past will be violent in the future given the same conditions. [Monahan, J. 1981).

The repetitive nature of sex-related serial murderers may, as such, render these offenders somewhat more "predictable." Patterned behaviors such as those observed in sadistic encounters can be used to develop investigative profiles of the kind of person most likely to have committed a given series of crimes.

THE SAMPLE

The author compiled the most current listing of serial murderers within the United States using the following operational definition: three or more separate murder events with an emotional cooling-off period between the homicides. The base population was 387 serial murderers, who killed ( under various motivations ), three or more persons over a period of time with cooling-off periods between the events. The author identified 232 male serial murderers who violated their victims sexually. The author employed a case history evaluation protocol based upon the DSM-IV criteria of Antisocial Personality Disorder (301.7) and Sexual Sadism (302.84) to examine the population of 232 serial killers, who had violated their victims sexually.

ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER ( Psychopathy )

According to the DSM-IV, the essential feature of the disorder is to be found in patterns of irresponsible and antisocial behaviors beginning in childhood or early adolescence and continuing into adulthood. Lying, stealing,truancy, vandalism, initiating fights, running away from home, and physical cruelty are typical childhood signs. In adulthood the antisocial pattern continues and may include failure to honor financial obligations, maintain consistent employment, or plan ahead. These individuals fail to conform to social norms and repeatedly engage in antisocial behaviors that are grounds for arrest, such as destroying property, harassing others, and stealing. Often these antisocial acts are committed with no seeming necessity. People with antisocial personality disorder tend toward irritability and aggressivity, and often become involved in physical fights and assaults, including spouse and child beating. Reckless behavior without regard for personal safety is common, as indicated by driving while intoxicated or getting numerous speeding tickets. Frequently these individuals are promiscuous, failing to sustain a monogamous relationship for more than one year. They do not appear to learn from past experiences in that they tend to resume the same kinds of antisocial behaviors they were punishment for. Finally, they seem to lack feelings of remorse about the effects of their behavior on others. On the contrary, they may feel justified in having violated the rights of others.

SEXUAL SADISM

Meloy (1992) defines Sexual Sadism as "the conscious experience of pleasurable sexual arousal through the infliction of physical or emotional pain on the actual object."(p.76)

DSM-IV describes Sexual Sadism as follows: Over a period of at least six months, recurrent intense sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies involving acts ( real, not simulated) in which the psychological or physical suffering (including humiliation) of the victim is sexually exciting to the person. These behaviors are sadistic fantasies or acts that involve activities that indicate the dominance of the person over his victim (e.g. forcing the victim to crawl, or keeping the victim in a cage), or restraint, blindfolding,paddling,spanking, whipping, pinching, beating, burning, electrical shocks, rape, cutting or stabbing, strangulation, torture, mutilation, or killing.

THE ORGANIZED OFFENDER

In the author's experience, most serial killers are classified as "organized offenders." The organized offender is usually above average in intelligence. He is methodical and cunning. His crime is well thought out and carefully planned. He is likely to own a car which is in good condition. The crime is usually committed away from his area of residence or work. He is mobile and travels many more miles than the average person. Fantasy and ritual are important to the organized type offender. He selects a victim, which he considers the "right" type, someone he can control (either through manipulation or strength), usually a stranger. Most of his victims will share specific traits. He is considered socially adept. He uses his verbal skills to manipulate his victims and gain control over them until he has them within his "comfort zone." The organized killer is fully cognizant of the criminality of his act and takes pride in his ability to thwart the police investigation. He is likely to follow news reports of his crimes and will oftentimes take a "souvenir" from his victim as a reminder, that may be used to relive the event or augment the fantasy surrounding the killing. For the organized offender the souvenir constitutes a "trophy." He is excited by the cruelty of the act and may engage in torturing the victim. Sexual control of the victim plays an important part in this scenario.

The organized offender usually brings his own weapon to the crime scene and avoids leaving evidence behind. He is familiar with police procedures. The body is often removed from the crime scene. He may do this to "taunt" the police by leaving the corpse in plain public view, or to prevent its discovery by transporting it to a location where it will be well hidden. (Geberth, 1990)

It should be noted that the disorganized offender evidences the exact opposite characteristics of the above described organized type.

The series of criminal behaviors of this type of offender are suggestive of an individual with an antisocial personality disorder to the extent that repeated behaviors are immoral and marked by pronounced irresponsibility. His essential problem appears characterologic in nature. He appears to lack remorse or shame and is seemingly lacking in empathic response to others. This is the type of offender who was the focus of this research.

CONCLUSION

The offenders in this study displayed aggressive and antisocial behaviors during their childhood which escalated and took on elements of sexual sadism in adulthood. There was also a style and pattern to their killings which involved domination, control, humiliation and sadistic sexual violence. The murders were committed without the least sense of guilt or shame and the killers displayed a total lack of remorse. The victims were chosen at random and the murders carried out in almost an obsessive manner. According to Hare (1993) "If you are dealing with a true psychopath it is important to recognize that the current prognosis for significant improvement in his or her attitudes and behavior is poor." (p. 205) According to Monahan (1981), "The repetitive nature of sex-related serial murderers may, as such, render these offenders somewhat more predictable."

The application of such criteria could allow for the identification of potential serial killers and, hopefully, lead to proper assessment of future dangerousness and treatment strategies.

According to DSM-IV "When Sexual Sadism is severe, and especially when it is associated with Antisocial Personality Disorder, individuals with Sexual Sadism may seriously injure or kill their victims." (p.53 )

The implications of this study were that subjects who are identified as psychopathic sexual sadists , based on the objective criteria of DSM-IV are extremely dangerous to the well being of a civilized society.

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Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Brings Lasting Benefits through Self-Knowledge

WASHINGTON—Psychodynamic psychotherapy is effective for a wide range of mental health symptoms, including depression, anxiety, panic and stress-related physical ailments, and the benefits of the therapy grow after treatment has ended, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on the psychological roots of emotional suffering. Its hallmarks are self-reflection and self-examination, and the use of the relationship between therapist and patient as a window into problematic relationship patterns in the patient’s life. Its goal is not only to alleviate the most obvious symptoms but to help people lead healthier lives.

“The American public has been told that only newer, symptom-focused treatments like cognitive behavior therapy or medication have scientific support,” said study author Jonathan Shedler, PhD, of the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. “The actual scientific evidence shows that psychodynamic therapy is highly effective. The benefits are at least as large as those of other psychotherapies, and they last.”

To reach these conclusions, Shedler reviewed eight meta-analyses comprising 160 studies of psychodynamic therapy, plus nine meta-analyses of other psychological treatments and antidepressant medications. Shedler focused on effect size, which measures the amount of change produced by each treatment. An effect size of 0.80 is considered a large effect in psychological and medical research. One major meta-analysis of psychodynamic therapy included 1,431 patients with a range of mental health problems and found an effect size of 0.97 for overall symptom improvement (the therapy was typically once per week and lasted less than a year). The effect size increased by 50 percent, to 1.51, when patients were re-evaluated nine or more months after therapy ended. The effect size for the most widely used antidepressant medications is a more modest 0.31. The findings are published in the February issue of American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association.

The eight meta-analyses, representing the best available scientific evidence on psychodynamic therapy, all showed substantial treatment benefits, according to Shedler. Effect sizes were impressive even for personality disorders—deeply ingrained maladaptive traits that are notoriously difficult to treat, he said. “The consistent trend toward larger effect sizes at follow-up suggests that psychodynamic psychotherapy sets in motion psychological processes that lead to ongoing change, even after therapy has ended,” Shedler said. “In contrast, the benefits of other ‘empirically supported’ therapies tend to diminish over time for the most common conditions, like depression and generalized anxiety.”

“Pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies have a financial incentive to promote the view that mental suffering can be reduced to lists of symptoms, and that treatment means managing those symptoms and little else. For some specific psychiatric conditions, this makes sense,” he added. “But more often, emotional suffering is woven into the fabric of the person’s life and rooted in relationship patterns, inner contradictions and emotional blind spots. This is what psychodynamic therapy is designed to address.”

Shedler acknowledged that there are many more studies of other psychological treatments (other than psychodynamic), and that the developers of other therapies took the lead in recognizing the importance of rigorous scientific evaluation. “Accountability is crucial,” said Shedler. “But now that research is putting psychodynamic therapy to the test, we are not seeing evidence that the newer therapies are more effective.”

Shedler also noted that existing research does not adequately capture the benefits that psychodynamic therapy aims to achieve. “It is easy to measure change in acute symptoms, harder to measure deeper personality changes. But it can be done.”

The research also suggests that when other psychotherapies are effective, it may be because they include unacknowledged psychodynamic elements. “When you look past therapy ‘brand names’ and look at what the effective therapists are actually doing, it turns out they are doing what psychodynamic therapists have always done—facilitating self-exploration, examining emotional blind spots, understanding relationship patterns.” Four studies of therapy for depression used actual recordings of therapy sessions to study what therapists said and did that was effective or ineffective. The more the therapists acted like psychodynamic therapists, the better the outcome, Shedler said. “This was true regardless of the kind of therapy the therapists believed they were providing.”

Article: “The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy,” Jonathan K. Shedler, PhD, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine American Psychologist, Vol. 65. No.2.


Psychodynamic Theory, Perspective, and Key Concepts

To truly understand psychodynamic therapy, you need to go back to its roots. While this type of therapy has changed over the last century, it is still built on the foundations of some of the earliest work in modern psychology.

In the late 19th century, Sigmund Freud was working on his grand idea of the human mind and the theory of human development. His theories laid the foundation for decades of psychological research and practice.

While many of these theories were eventually found to conflict with hard evidence gained through scientific research, they formed the basis for psychodynamic theory and sparked a bold new school of thought that still exists today, in a modified and updated form.

He proposed that the human mind is composed of three parts:

  1. The id, which consists of instinct and forms the basis of the unconscious mind
  2. The superego, or moral component that houses our beliefs of right and wrong
  3. The ego, the mediator between the animal instinct of the id and the enlightened moral thought of the superego (Haggerty, 2016).

Freud hypothesized that these components grew out of certain stages in childhood development. He believed humans are born with the id, develop the ego as a toddler, and add the superego around the age of five. Freud’s hypothesis led him to the logical conclusion (based on his theory) that one’s personality is firmly rooted in their childhood experiences.

While Freud believed that each component formed in each human, the development of each component could be significantly influenced by one’s environment and family relationships. These factors could contribute to the development of a healthy sense of self and effective functioning, or they could trigger the development of neuroses and dysfunctional or distressing patterns of thought.

Whether the development led to positive or negative patterns of thoughts and belief, Freud held that that which truly drives human behavior is buried deep within the human mind, in what he termed the unconscious mind.

Freud theorized three levels of the mind:

  1. The Unconscious: this level is where our instincts, deeply held beliefs, and many patterns of thought and behavior reside we are not consciously aware of anything at this level, but Freud believed the contents of the unconscious mind make up the vast majority of who we are, what we want, and how we behave in order to get what we want.
  2. The Subconscious or Preconscious: this level is between the conscious and unconscious, and can be called up to consciousness with a purposeful effort from the individual the contents of this level are just below the surface of consciousness.
  3. The Conscious: this is the level at which we are fully aware Freud believed this was the level with the least defining content, the level that makes up only a tiny sliver of who we are.

Based on this theory, Freud insisted that to truly address our issues and solve our problems, we must dig deep into the unconscious level. This is where we store our unspoken values, the beliefs we do not even realize we have, and the patterns of thought and behavior developed in our childhood.

Psychodynamic Theory of the Mind. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

While psychodynamic theory has outgrown many of Freud’s simplistic ideas about human nature, many of the assumptions that underlie the psychodynamic approach are reminiscent of Freud’s work:

  • The unconscious mind is one of the most powerful drivers of human behavior and emotion
  • No behavior is without cause—all behavior is determined
  • Childhood experiences exert a significant influence on thoughts, emotions, and behavior as an adult
  • Important conflicts during childhood development shape our overall personality as adults (Freud, 1899).

Freud’s theories directly support the methods of psychoanalysis, but also help form the basis of psychodynamic theory and inform the methods and techniques used in today’s psychodynamic therapy.


Psychodynamic therapy is one of the oldest forms of therapy around. It involves making the client be more aware of themselves, and look at behavior in the past and present that has affected their lives. Psychodynamic therapy can thus make people feel better about themselves because it teaches people how to manage relationships, conquer addiction, and helps with other ailments of the mind.

Psychodynamic Versus Psychoanalysis

Many people can mix up psychodynamic therapy and psychoanalysis. If you or someone you know has, don't feel bad doing so because they are similar, but there are differences.

Psychoanalysis is all about understanding people and clinical presentations. It tends to be much longer than psychodynamic therapy and can last for many sessions, with it sometimes going on for years. The treatment can take place multiple times weekly. It is also heavily focused on the relationship between therapist and client.

Psychodynamics shares elements of psychoanalysis, involving theories on how the mind works, but it involves less interaction. The treatments tend to last once every week, and it may be just 15 sessions. The therapist himself may be trained in psychoanalytic techniques, but may not be certified. Psychodynamics focuses on the relationship between the patient and the world around them, and less on the relationship between client and therapist.

As you can see, there is a difference. Some people can benefit from shorter sessions as opposed to sessions that can last for years.

As mentioned, psychodynamic therapy is quite old, and it's a product before even the Freudian era. It was published in 1874, by a scientist named Ernst Wilhelm von Brücke, who hailed from Germany. His book, Lectures on Psychology, introduced psychodynamics. Von Brücke helped to supervise Freud while he was a student at the University of Vienna, and Freud used psychodynamics for his form of psychology. Other psychologists down the road expanded and developed psychodynamics as well.

So it's one of the oldest forms of therapy in modern history, and it has to do something if it lasts, right?

How It Can Help You

Psychodynamic therapy has plenty of uses, and here are just a few.

  • Many of these therapies are good for depression, and psychodynamics is especially depression friendly, as it requires less of a commitment.
  • Relationship issues. Psychodynamic therapy may help those who have trouble with relationships. Not just romantic, but other personal relationships too.
  • Psychodynamics may help those who don't know what their life means. If you've lost the meaning of your life, try a session.
  • Psychodynamics may be good if you're suffering from any form of addiction, be it drugs or something else.
  • Eating disorders. You may benefit from psychodynamics if you're suffering from anorexia, bulimia, or any other eating disorder.

How It Works

Psychodynamic therapy's basic function involves being more aware of yourself. As humans, we'd like to believe that we know the mind our conscious resides in, but many of us don't. We are always on autopilot, and we don't have time to analyze ourselves, and we may need a second mind to help us out. That's where psychodynamics comes in. Here are some of its principles.

  • Psychodynamic therapy helps people look at the problems they face and the flaws they may have. By speaking to a psychologist about yourself, they can point out the problems you may have.
  • Once you've recognized the problem, you must admit that you have it. For some, that's easy. For others, it requires them to swallow some pride.
  • Psychodynamics wants you to express the problems you're having honestly. No tapdancing around it.
  • Finding the hidden. Psychodynamics also wants you to find what emotions are lying dormant inside you. There are unconscious thoughts inside that can destroy a person, and psychodynamics is there to help you find them.
  • Psychodynamics wants you to overcome emotions that you're feeling and help you live a better life.

So that's the gist of it. To summarize, psychodynamics helps the patient find underlying issues that may be driving their depression, relationship problems, and so on.

Other Beliefs

Psychodynamic therapy does rely on a handful of assumptions. Here are a few.

  • Behavior is mostly unconscious. The unconscious mind influences many of the things we feel, judge, and act upon. It's a trite comparison, but your mind is like an iceberg, where only a little bit of it comes from the surface.
  • The id, ego, and superego are also big elements. Developed by Freud, they're what he thought made up the psyche. Your id is your impulses or desires one may seem as negative. Your superego is your desire for perfection. It believes that you should do good, and instills values typically taught to a person. The ego is what tries to mediate the two.
  • Your childhood widely affects how you behave today. Even if you don't think you've had a bad childhood, there can be events that are responsible for how you behave like an adult.
  • Slips of the tongue are important. This is when you try to say something, and something else comes out. This can be a look into your unconscious mind. This is different than you misspeaking or stuttering on a word. Slips of the

How A Therapy Session Goes

You may wonder what to expect when it comes to a psychodynamic therapy session. Depending on your therapist, it may work differently, but generally, you begin to talk about what's on your mind. Don't feel like you have to censor yourself, either. It's between you and the therapist, and no one else.

When you talk, here are some things worth mentioning.

  • It may sound obvious, but plenty of people are afraid of talking about what they fear, and your fears can be connected to an underlying issue without you knowing it. Never be afraid to talk about what scares you right now.
  • Dreams are mysterious. Sometimes they feel like they have no meaning, while other times, they can be a sign of an underlying problem. Talk to your therapist about what dreams you're having. It may be worth it to keep a dream diary, as dreams typically go away the longer you're up.
  • What do you want most right now? To live a better life? To get a promotion? To shut someone up? Don't be afraid to talk about your desires to someone else. Your psychologist needs all the information they can get.
  • Current events. Talk about what's going on with yourself currently, or what's going on in the news. Help your psychologist to develop a well-rounded opinion about you.

Those are just some of the things you need to bring up when talking to your psychologist. This can help them to figure out just the kind of person you are and help them pull out any unconscious feelings you may have. Also, by letting your feelings out, you can improve your self-esteem. You'll soon learn why you have trouble with relationships, what talents you have, and much more.

Is It Effective?

With all these forms of psychotherapy, you may wonder just how effective some of them are. Some therapies are speculation and pseudoscience, while others are backed up by research.

Psychodynamic therapy is old and thus has had many years to research and improve on. Studies have shown that it's an effective form of therapy, with the American Psychological Association finding that it's an effective way to treat many mental conditions.

With that said, one form of therapy won't work for everyone, and sometimes, you may not get many benefits from psychodynamic therapy. However, you should remember that despite its shorter length, you may have to get multiple sessions to get the most out of its effectiveness.

Looking For A Psychodynamic Therapist

When you look for one, do some research on licensed therapists in your area. There are plenty of resources that can let you see someone's credentials, see reviews from other clients, and much more. Do your research and find a therapist that works best for you.

No matter what your mental situation is, you can benefit from therapy. Psychodynamic therapy is a timeless form of therapy designed to let you know more about yourself, and when you find a good therapist, you can be on your way to feeling better. Whether in person or online, some therapists can help you understand yourself much better.

You don't need to do this alone. While talking to a loved one can be beneficial, a trained professional is better at getting the unconscious thoughts to the conscious level. If you haven't tried therapy before, it's worth a shot, and some therapists are affordable and ready to help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are psychodynamic concepts?

According to research, Sigmund Freud had concepts of psychodynamic theory that rely on the use of your past to create solutions to the underlying perceived threats or hindrances.

It integrates childhood experiences in your unconscious mind with your adult personality. This is especially so for the traumatic ones, to develop a coping strategy that is both feasible and effective. Experts involved in psychoanalytic theory, are there to help you feel better after traumatic childhood experiences. It is one of the ancient forms of behavior therapy.

What is psychodynamic therapy good for?

The theory of psychodynamics developed by Sigmund Freud is useful in managing mental health conditions to improve your quality of life through subconscious improvements of your feelings and thinking. The main aim is to enhance your ability to make proper choices and interact with others to live a life free of stress and depression without constant interference by your unconscious mind. A good place to find an American psychologist that can give you an accurate psychodynamic diagnostic is via BetterHelp.

You can read more on qualified therapists on the American Psychological Association and their apa style of documentation really sets this organization apart. Creative commons is another American non profit organization devoted to promoting education.

Can psychodynamic therapy help anxiety?

Just like cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy can be used effectively to manage anxiety, as proven by many types of research. Sigmund Freud amongst other renowned figures, discussed ways in which psychotherapy can alleviate anxiety. It is targeted at exploring human behavior like feelings and distressing thoughts and reflects how your past can inform your present.

It can source information from your fear, feelings, and interpretation of dreams, then analyze and come up with a more favorable solution backed with reliable reasons.

The ego and super ego are two important defense mechanisms used to approach anxiety and attachment therapy delves into how this affects human relationship. In the psychodynamic model, the patient can navigate events that are upsetting to more subtle ones with the ego. Though the two come with some hidden cost, the fact that they assist you in the course of your mental health is appreciated.

It will first identify a problem and device coping mechanisms that can be tackled via cognitive behavioral therapy. The defense strategies are the behaviors and reactions that you used to avoid distressing feelings and thoughts. And this will lead to a more positive view of things reducing anxiety.

How long should you go to therapy?

Typically, therapy for mild cases should last an average of six to eight weeks. The number of times and the duration of therapy sessions depend on the individual situation and the type of therapy selected. Usually, the therapy administered is sectioned into weekly or daily routines targeting at gaining a specific goal at a time.

A comprehensive explanation of this will be given to you by specialists in BetterHelp. Make sure to contact them before taking any decision. Attachment theory is a noteworthy concept that explores the different facets of the interrelationship between humans. Attachment theory thus highlights some factors that can affect how well a patient and therapist communicate and how long therapy might take.

Is it normal to cry after therapy?

Yes, crying in therapy is relatively normal, and after reading this explanation, you will know why. Human behavior and response are affected by lots of environmental factors. Just picturing the therapist's office, self-help bookshelf, tissue, and a couch are some of the reasons you may feel overwhelmed.

Most therapists are experienced in clinical work and attachment theory. Thus they won&rsquot tag your tears as anything aberrant. Alfred Adler is an Australian doctor who discovered individual psychology that highlights the importance of feelings in an individual and how adequate expression can play a major role in development.

However, it is not everyone that cries in counseling sessions, but surely tears are a part of the psychological processes of healing. The three major reasons why people get teary in counseling are discussed below:

Ever since there has never been a relationship like that of a counselor and the client, most people's everyday lives are filled with opinions of other people, which has a significant effect on human behavior. Peer pressure dictates how you feel, behave and think, and attachment theory extensively explores the relationship that exists between people. But the therapeutic safety gives freeness with no expectation or judgment. This sense of freeness in your Unconscious mind that comes as a result of acceptance leads to tears. But more appropriately, it is a tear of joy and happiness.

The fact you have been tensed for a long is enough to make you tired of life. Attachment theory also highlights that lack of a healthy human relationship can also lead to built up tension. But the moment you are approaching the therapist, you start thinking of becoming that perfect spouse, friend, employee, and worker you used to be. You will be sure to conduct and act morally right, preparing to see the relief that will come after therapy. All these get emotional and tend to bring tears.

We often spent the least or very little time reflecting on our lives. The unconscious mind has never thought of such or tries to reflect on everyday life. But the therapeutic relationship is one of those times that you must look at your life in the most honest way since it will be of great help with lots of defense mechanisms. And if you are doing this or about to do this, lots of things will bubble down in your minds, such as guilt, anger, pride, and fear.

Most of the time, the stuff that will finally reach the surface of the unconscious mind will come in the form of tears. The psychoanalytic theory attempts to give an explanation of the interplay of emotions that are dealt with during a therapy psychoanalysis. Object relations theory is another branch of psychoanalytic theory that explores the psychological processes involved in interpersonal relationship especially the one between a mother and child.

How long does psychodynamic therapy take?

Psychodynamic psychotherapy typically takes an average of 25 sessions. The number of days, weeks, months, or even years to spend on therapy depends on the goal of the psychodynamic therapy.

In most cases, on your first day of the therapy, you will be informed of how long it should take. Expect the duration to vary depending on the type of therapy you are to take. Take for instance individual psychology which was founded by Alfred Adler, emphasizes on the importance of feelings. Any therapy that incorporates this psychology may take much longer time as the therapist must dig deep into the patients emotions before making significant progress.

However, BetterHelp is the best to guide you on how long you should go for therapy because they have the trained personnel and the expertise to do so.

What is the difference between CBT and psychodynamic therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy CBP is designed to provide a skilled-based practical solution to solve problems. It focuses on understanding negative thoughts and designs a skill that will replace those thoughts with more positive ones. It makes use of targeted and concrete skills to alter your feelings and often involves action plans or more tailored homework to be implemented after the session.

Psychodynamic model, on the other hand, will have to use your past to understand your present and uncover some things from your unconscious mind. It is based on insight and tends to use your childhood experiences to see how it affects today&rsquos life. The main target of this type of therapy is to heal an emotional wound. From a psychodynamic perspective, your present life is determined mainly by childhood experiences.

What techniques are used in psychodynamic therapy?

Some of the techniques used in psychodynamic therapy are

This technique is a well-known and commonly used technique by psychodynamic therapists. It usually involves the therapist providing a list of unrelated words and have the patient share the first thought that comes to their mind.

This way, they don&rsquot consciously choose what their first thought will be as they have no idea what words their therapist lines up. The therapist can pay close attention to deviant object relations, which can shed light on the patient's ego and super ego.

This psychodynamic model may pose a problem with closed-off patients who detest sharing intimate details or those who find spontaneity distressing.

This technique that Sigmund Freud discovered describes a scenario where we mean to say one thing but allow another set of words &lsquoslip&rsquo out. This accidental outburst helps the therapist uncover some repressed/hidden parts of the patient&rsquos psychology that may go as far as childhood experiences. Sigmund Freud believed that these unintentional &lsquoslip of the tongue&rsquo are not truly accidental and meaningless statements. The Freudian theory emphasizes that no human behavior is random or accidental. These &lsquoslips&rsquo can help therapists explore possible repressed desires or unconscious associations between ordinarily unrelated concepts. This discovery may lead to a broader understanding of a specific human behavior.

This controversial technique is also a part of the Freudian theory. Here Sigmund Freud expresses the importance of a patient&rsquos interpretation of dreams. The therapist normally guides the patient through a process where they narrate their dreams in clear and concise details.

From a psychodynamic perspective, dream analysis is not a formally mandatory technique. Its use will be left at the discretion of the therapist and patient.

There are many other techniques used in psychodynamics to connect the missing dots between the present and the experience. The first of such a psychodynamic approach is to ensure that the patient is triggered to be more aware of their behaviors and thoughts. The avenue for the patient to express and talk about their emotions, thoughts and feelings freely is created. And all these alter the subconscious mind of the clients, which affects their healing processes.


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