Discuss the use of psychoanalysis to treat psychological disorders The aim of psychoanalytic therapy is to uncover the repressed material to help the client come to an understanding of the origins of their problems. There are several techniques available to the therapist: free association, Dream analysis and projective tests.
Within free association the client is encouraged to express anything that comes into their mind. Each incident may then, through free association of ideas, lead to other thoughts and memories that perhaps extend into childhood. The role of the therapist is to intervene occasionally perhaps to encourage reflection into a particular experience. During free association the therapist will be identifying key ideas and themes that can be analysed. Freud introduced free association to try and get round the defence put up by the ego and so brings material from the unconscious.
Freud referred to dreams as the royal road to the unconscious. He felt that during dreams the normal barriers to the unconscious material were lifted and the symbolic imagery of dreams was a reflection of this unconscious material. Therefore by analysing the content of the dreams the therapist might be able to identify significant conflicts repressed into the unconscious. The therapist’s role is to use their understanding of how the dream work operates to interpret the symbolism of the dream. Putting together the themes that emerge through the process are put together. The client can then work through these problems with the therapist identifying and resolving their issues.
Although this is not part of Freud’s original therapeutic techniques projective tests are used in a variety of psychodynamic approaches. In these tests the client is required to project or impose their own thoughts and associations on a particular stimulus material.
* These therapies accept that adult disorders may have their roots in childhood and in repressed material * Psychodynamic therapy can be very long lasting and therefore expensive * The therapies depend upon the clients developing insights into their condition therefore it might not be suitable for those who are not willing to analyse their lives in this way * Psychodynamic therapies are not suitable for all disorders * There are ethical issues in confronting clients with distressing material during the course of the analysis. It is important that such issues are worked through with the client to a satisfactory conclusion.