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Different schools of psychology have different approaches to the administration of psychotherapy. Despite the difference in approaches, the principle goal behind them is to foster the well of the individual. Some of the techniques that therapists can deploy include establishing experiential relationship, deploying dialogue and two-way communication and attempts to change the behavior of a person, and strategies that are aimed at improving the mental health of the patient (Shedler, 2010). The effectiveness of the psychotherapy techniques normally depends on the nature of the psychological problem at hand. Empirical evidence serves as the only proof that can be used to test the efficiency of a therapeutic technique in helping a client. Psychodynamic treatment is one of the contested therapeutic methods basing on effectiveness and efficacy, and affirming this requires the use of the empirical literature to confirm the presumption.
The psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a technique whose effectiveness bases on free association, interpretations of dream and an analysis of resistance in order to determine cases of repression and unconscious impulses, nervousness and inner conflicts. Freud was the pioneer of psychoanalytic theory, whereby the treatment method is based on encouraging the client to converse about memories, relevant associations, and fantasies interpreted regarding the Freud’s psychoanalytic theory (Shedler, 2010). Psychoanalytic psychotherapy lays more emphasis on repression and unconscious forces; in addition, the psychoanalytic theory embraces concepts associated with infantile sexuality, and the psyche that comprises ego and superego. The main argument under the psychoanalytic theory proposed by Sigmund Freud bases on the proposition that human behavior is subjective to irrational drives, and that the larger part of this drives are not conscious (Aziz, 2007). Therefore, any initiative that aims at bringing the irrational drives into awareness faces a significant resistance in various forms depending on the technique of psychotherapy applied. Another important contribution of the psychoanalytic psychotherapy is that personality is an inherited constitution; as a result, events that take place during the childhood of a person play an integral role in determining personal development (Shedler, 2010). Psychoanalytic psychotherapy also suggests that inner conflicts are always due to differences in the conscious perception of reality and repressed material or unconscious perception, and such differences result in mental disturbances characterized by instances of anxiety, neurosis and intense depression.
Psychoanalytic theory solely depends on the personal unconscious, which is a region of personality that stored materials relating the experiences of a person himself. Underneath the personal unconscious, the psychoanalytic theory argues that there is the collective unconscious used for storing racial memories related to universal experiences; for example, death, parenthood, the sexuality of a person and birth. The racial memories that are subjected to inheritance are known as the archetypes, and they determine the way a person responds to particular situations in a given manner (Aziz, 2007). The difference between the psychoanalytic psychotherapy and other psychotherapy techniques is that the psychoanalytic approach suggests that initial mother-child relationships are influenced by the sexual experiences of the people involved. It is arguably evident that the psychoanalytic psychotherapy is more clinical in comparison to other psychotherapy techniques, whose explanations draw from historical and artistic factors.
From Shedler’s perspective, the distinctive features of psychoanalytic psychotherapy make significant contributions towards its effectiveness when deployed in the contemporary setting (Shedler, 2010). The first notable strength of psychoanalytic psychotherapy is that it lays emphasis on the effect and expression of emotions, which is achieved through exploring and discussing the wide range of the patient’s emotional background. The role of the therapist in this phase is to aid the patient in describing and identifying the feelings that the patient could not initially recognize. The second distinctive characteristic of psychoanalytic psychotherapy is that it aims at exploring the attempts made by the patient to avoid thoughts and feelings that are distressing. In a practical therapeutic session, the avoidance is manifested through missing therapeutic sessions, coming late and sometimes adopting an evasive attitude. The third attribute of psychoanalytic psychotherapy is the focus on identifying the recurring themes and patterns in the thoughts and feelings, interpersonal relationships and real life experiences of the patient. In cases whereby the patient is not aware of the recurrent themes, psychoanalytic therapists should strive at aiding him/her to identify and understand them. Another characteristic of psychoanalytic psychotherapy is that it entails a discussion of the experience, which puts emphasis on early experiences of attachment figures that are likely to affect the present experiences. The emphasis is that the past provides an overview of the patient’s psychological difficulties, with the main purpose of psychoanalytic psychotherapy being to aid the patients to free themselves from the bondage associated with the past experience. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy also focuses on interpersonal relations and experiences; this requires the conceptualizing of adaptive and non-adaptive personality aspects in the contest of the patient’s psychological difficulties and any form of attachment relationships. Therapy relationship is also crucial in ensuring that psychotherapeutic treatment is successful. Therapy relationship should be an establishment in the context of an interpersonal relationship. Shedler’s model of psychoanalytic therapy also encompasses the exploration of the fantasy life, whereby patients are provided with an opportunity to speak freely about their minds. The information gathered from such an approach is that it helps to determine how the patient views oneself and how one interprets his/her own experience.
Despite the slight variation in Shedler’s psychoanalytic psychotherapy approach used in the contemporary therapy session when compared to the early psychoanalytic theories, the ultimate goal is to relieve the patient from the psychological difficulties that one faces.