For Those Seeking Treatment
Can I benefit from psychoanalytic treatment?
While numerous studies show that psychoanalysis can provide deeper and longer-lasting results than other forms of therapy, symptom relief is often not as immediate. Those patients who seem to most benefit from psychoanalytic treatment are those who are curious about the underlying sources of their symptoms or distress, are able to set aside sufficient time in their schedules to consistently participate in treatment, feel a sense of urgency regarding the need to change, and are able to be patient in achieving long-term and significant results (Source: PINC).
Psychoanalysis is often indicated as a treatment of choice when less intensive therapies have failed to achieve lasting results. Psychoanalysts are trained to treat severe and long-standing symptoms and distress; however, your problems need not be severe in order to seek help from a psychoanalyst. In fact, some choose to begin psychoanalytic treatment because they are curious about themselves and wish to learn more about their inner-worlds.
Is there a difference between psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy?
Psychoanalytic (sometimes called psychodynamic) psychotherapy is based on the theory and techniques of psychoanalysis. The primary differences between psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis are frequency of sessions and use of the couch. In psychoanalysis, patient and analyst often meet four or five times a week. While more frequent sessions typically deepen the treatment, frequency is worked out between patient and analyst. In psychoanalytic therapy, patient and therapist meet less frequently, sometimes only once a week. Those in psychoanalysis often recline on a couch, with the analyst out of view, while those in psychoanalytic psychotherapy usually sit upright and facing the therapist. While the couch is intimately intertwined with the history of psychoanalysis and its public image, it is no longer a necessity. Many patients find the couch useful in helping them to relax and speak freely, while others prefer face-to-face sessions. Read this article for information about the history, benefits, as well as disadvantages of the couch in psychoanalytic treatment.
(information adapted from the American Psychoanalytic Association)
What differentiates psychoanalytic treatment from other forms of therapy?
(excerpt taken from Jonathan Shedler’s article: The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy)
Empirical evidence supports the efficacy of psychodynamic therapy. Effect sizes for psychodynamic therapy are as large as those reported for other therapies that have been actively promoted as “empirically supported” and “evidence based.” In addition, patients who receive psychodynamic therapy maintain therapeutic gains and appear to continue to improve after treatment ends. Finally, non-psychodynamic therapies may be effective in part because the more skilled practitioners utilize techniques that have long been central to psychodynamic theory and practice.
© 2010 American Psychological Association 0003-066X/10/12.00 Vol. 65, No. 2, 98–109 DOI: 10.1037/a0018378