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Psychotherapy Works

Adult Psychotherapy

Child Therapy

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Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D.

That Was Then, This Is Now: Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy for the Rest of Us (Jonathan Shedler, 2006)
A jargon-free introduction to contemporary psychodynamic thought.

  • “For too many, the term psychoanalysis conjures up century-old stereotypes that bear little resemblance to what contemporary practitioners think and do…”
  • “It may be easier to explain what psychoanalysis is not than what it is. For starters, contemporary psychoanalysis is not a theory about id, ego, and superego (terms, incidentally, that Freud did not use; they were introduced by a translator). Nor is it a theory about fixations, or sexual and aggressive instincts, or repressed memories, or the Oedipus complex, or penis envy, or castration anxiety.”
  • The following ideas play a central role in the thinking of most psychoanalytic practitioners:” 1) Unconscious mental life (“crucial memory, perceptual, judgmental, affective, and motivational processes are not consciously accessible”);
    2) The mind in conflict (internal contradiction, ambivalence, “complex and contradictory feelings and motives,” especially about intimacy, relationships. and anger); 3) The past lives in the present (“we view the present through the lens of past experience”); 4) Transference (“patterns, scripts, desires, schemas” of past relationships “come active and alive” in therapy, so that we can help the patient “examine, understand, and rework them…” “It is the hallmark of psychoanalytic therapy that we utilize the transference…”); 5) Psychological defense (the act of disavowing knowledge, or responsibility for our experiences, our thoughts, emotions, motivations or intentions); and 6) psychological causation (symptoms have meanings, and serve psychological functions; these functions and meanings may be unconscious and complex; the goal of therapy, in part, is to make the unconscious conscious).