Psychodynamic interventions and techniques in a therapeutic context.
This article will be longer than the previous one. For your information, the first part of the text is edited to avoid similarity in other texts from the same field. Also, I include a bit from a dream work, personal practice to more understanding and bring you a bit closer to the work of psychotherapists and psychoanalysts.
The therapist uses many methods to help the clients to achieve the aim and see the progress in the therapy. Clinicians believe that correct diagnosis is the key to good therapy. To be more effective the psychotherapist needs to know the diagnosis but is not that simple and does not happen in the first session.
What distinguishes psycho-dynamic theory from other psychology approaches is work on the unknown, on human subconsciousness. Also, ID-EGO & SUPEREGO. The psychotherapy techniques that have valuable work on an unknown side of the human mind were born from the Jungians – like the archetypes, anima and animus, known as the shadows of human beings and Freudians psychoanalytic school.
I will start here from the most common techniques : Transference and Countertransference, and Free Association with Dream analysis.
Transference and Counter transference.
Psychoanalytically oriented clinicians believe that childhood experiences have a huge impact on the current mental state of an adult. The psychoanalyst’s work in this area is directed to the exclusion or separation of childhood experiences. And then again, link the facts of the individual’s early relationship with his adult life. This is how we learn what lies in the past and affect our psyche today.
The task of the psychoanalyst is to make us aware, help us understand existing relationships and re-learn healthy behaviours. Client work has a huge impact on improving mental health and emitting unhealthy thought habits.
The therapist, following the client’s thoughts and statements, uses the “free associations” technique to achieve a greater understanding. During therapy, there may be clients’ anger translated into a psychotherapist, but these are only transfers that serve the therapist to better analyse the events.
The clients learn about themselves and discovering what they feel as this is essential. Their unconscious and conscious fears and defence mechanisms are forced aside with this method. The client can express their unhappiness toward the therapist, for instance, because of the subconscious thoughts about his family members or others. The therapist does not endeavour to answer a question or find out about memory but instead follow the stream of thoughts from the client. While lying on the couch, the unconscious self is opened to the therapist who can use free association to get to the nucleus of the client’s issue. It is not enough that the therapist tells the client what his conclusion is, sometimes it is a long life process of therapy if the client decides on psychoanalytic treatment.
In order to gain knowledge about the client, the psychoanalyst uses interpretation of dream, Freud uses a metaphoric expression. When he says,
“The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind”.
Psychoanalysts would spend long periods of time on a single dream, whereas psychodynamic therapists only employ dream interpretation at the request of the client. Psychodynamic therapists help clients explore their dreams and scrutinise the symbolism within them “Say what comes to your mind”. The client communicates their uncensored and undirected thoughts and associations of ideas in a nonjudgmental arena, which may reveal restrained memories, wishes and dreams.
Free association is also a key element within psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy. It is thought that allowing an individual to speak freely about whatever comes into their mind will prevent defence mechanisms from being used, thus the actual truth within the person has more chance of coming out. A psychoanalytic therapist uses interpretation techniques to help the clients identify the cause of their issues, which will help them increase their control over them.
The best way to check Freud’s theory of dreams is to analyse your own dreams. Through dreams we better understand our personality and we see the difficulty of everyday life. Jung had a different opinion about free association, which lacked any substantial value, and what must be considered are the dream descriptions. When all is revealed, then the client and therapist are ready to see separate images and are ready for understanding and clarification of the dreams.
Dreams and symptoms tell us a similar story. Both are final complementary products for people who are unaware of the implications of their childhood and are looking for a discharge. This example shows how the psychoanalyst can manage the process with a client to evaluate and compare the work with dreams. Free association can also be used with a client to show the therapist and themselves the similarity of the client’s everyday illness and those expressions in dreams.
A dream can not only help in understanding the past, but they also offer propositions as to desirable future activities. For instance, the client who dreamt about a fire engine. The client was on the ladder and was rising at high speed, experiencing a feeling akin to being on a plane while landing. The client stated:
‘The pressure is so big that it created a terrible pain in my ears. Then I woke up with pain in my right ear. Afterwards I visited a doctor. I was told that I have inflammation of the inner ear.’
That unpredictable issue shows that dreams can inform us about approaching situations. To better understand dreams, it’s good to make notes after waking up. Trying to remember details such as objects, feelings, and colours help to analyse the dreams, which bring the client and therapist closer to a good conclusion of the case.
‘An uninterrupted dream is like an unopened letter.’ Carl Gustav Jung
Moreover, dream analysis. (Arlow 2005) writes:
“The idea that dreams could be understood occurred to Freud when he observed how regularly they appeared in the associations of his neurotic patients. Dreams and symptoms had a similar structure. Both were end products of a compromise between two sets of conflicting forces in mind – between unconscious childhood sexual wishes seeking discharge of Id and the repressive activity of the rest of the brain which is ego and superego.”
A bit more about dreams.
The final work of psychoanalysis was not only a Freud work, the idea was implemented from early philosophers like Nietzsche and many others. On the other hand Jung interprets dreams as an aid in the future spiritual activity of the individual. Jung emphasises that he knows what he dreams about without those dreams being interpreted by a psychotherapist who may be wrong. Jung believed that the therapist still needs to learn new interpretations for each dream, thus emphasising the focus on the client’s dreams, not on the content of “free associations”. The images of the dreams of each unique client arise from the archetypes of the collective unconscious, and from the traumatic and distant memories of the dreamer.
I just gave some examples of where psychotherapy may take place. Follow my next articles if you have any interest in this topic or just write to me.
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