Types of therapies: Psychoanalysis

In the last post I was telling you about the mini series of posts that I am creating. For the first post of the series, I have decided to write about psychoanalysis, as it is probably the oldest theory in psychotherapy, and the most known.

It is, however, very misunderstood by the lay people, because of the multiple references to it in pop culture and movies.

Briefly

Sigmund Freud is known as the founder of this theoretical orientation, and he developed it partly practicing with himself. He is most known for his psychosexual development theories, that were, and still are, controversial for many people. However, he did contribute many things to the field of psychology, creating a shift towards therapy that wasn’t so focused on the brain and the science behind our behavior.

I believe one of the most important contributions of psychoanalytic theories was the introduction of the unconscious. The unconscious would be a part of ourselves that we do not know, but that impacts greatly in the way we feel, think and behave. Through analysis, Freud believed, we can start to unwrap some of the mysteries of the unconscious, and create change by learning the truth of ourselves.

He also created the theory of personality, which you have probably heard or read about: the id, ego and superego (click here for extended info).

He and his followers also believed in the importance of childhood and parents. Thus, analysis would focus most of its time in learning about past experiences that might have created problems for our present self.

From Clínica Picazo

If you are thinking about engaging in this kind of therapy you should know that this is generally a long term therapy, with usual meeting sessions every week or twice weekly.

Therapist

The classical psychoanalytic or psychodynamic therapists are trained to be a blank slate and to not self disclose anything. This might come off as coldness, but they believe that by being completely blank, the client will project their own life’s characteristics and problems into the therapist.

Client

What the therapist wants from the client is for them to talk openly all the time. By talking without any context or questions, the client engages in a process of free association, which psychoanalysts believe is important to obtain the information that the unconscious is trying to hide.

*Modern approaches- psychodynamic orientations

After Freudian psychoanalysis, there were many other theories that evolved from it like attachment theories or object relationship theories. The more modern approaches of the practice are not as orthodox regarding self disclosure or being completely blank. What’s more, many therapists of other orientations use psychodynamic understandings for their practice.

Resources

American Psychoanalytic Association

For more info on the theory: APsA.

To find a therapist: find help.

If you have any questions, as always, contact me.

 

Mini series: types of therapy and therapists

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Hello everyone!

Wow, it’s been a long time! If you are wondering why it took me so long to write more, the reason is, I am in a master’s degree and that is taking so much time! Related to that, now you can check the about page, where you will find general information about this blog and about myself.

That said, today I am bringing some fresh ideas. It occurred to me- better said, to my partner- that there was a real need for people who decide to go to therapy and don’t know what kind of therapist they should search for. Based on that, I would like to create a series of posts that will mainly concentrate in the style of therapy that each theories have. Today I am going to talk about why having this information is important-at least to me.

Why is it important to choose a (good) therapist

The truth is, it might not be so important to you. If you think you could get along with any kind of person, or if you are very open to try different styles, or if you have the security that any person with good will is able to help you, then you don’t need anything else!

However, many people who go to therapy end up not liking their therapist, or the style of therapy, and stop going to therapy and never try again. The reasons can be several, but in many cases I will dare to say that the connection between therapist and client wasn’t working. Therapist and client need to connect, in my opinion, as friends, classmates, partners or coworkers do.

But the truth is, you are not going to know your therapist before the first session. In fact, even after many time you may not know your therapist at all. So how are we suppose to choose with which therapy to go? Here is where knowing his or her theoretical orientation will help. Theoretical orientation is the base in which therapist base our treatments and actions. When we subscribe to a theory, the theory guides us in how to treat the client, the treatments to follow, techniques to use etc.

How the mini series will contribute

I am not going to mention every kind of therapy (there are around 300 different therapies out there) but the most relevant ones or the ones that are gonna make a difference in how the session is held. However, if there is any therapy that you heard about and you would like to learn more about just let me know, I will be glad to help.

My idea is that knowing the theory will let you know a lot about how things might be in session.

What if I don’t know the theoretical orientation?

Many therapists will not disclose this information. Well this might be a bit controversial, but they have to tell you. There is no possible good way of working in therapy without having a theoretical orientation. It is where we base not only treatment but also ethics.

It might happen that the therapist says he is integrative. Many professionals integrate more than one theory to they work, that is usual and completely fine. They will still probably subscribe to one theory, if you have any doubts, just ask them.

Other things to take into consideration

I am not going to be a snob and say that theory is everything and that you should be only guided by that. There are plenty reasons to choose a therapist. For example, she lives near you, she is a woman, he is black, he is older than you are, has cheap sessions or can conduct therapy through Skype. If any of these reasons or others are good enough for you to choose a therapist, just do it!

Before the first session you are going to be able to collect some information. Call this person, take a look at their website if they have one, ask them all the questions you need before the first day. I think that therapist fail to share this information in a way that is understandable and transparent.

After having this information you will be able to know more or less if this is the right therapy for you, or not. The truth is that not every therapy is for everyone, and you don’t have to like every therapist either.

In the next post I will talk about Psychoanalytic therapy, subscribe to receive the post as soon as it’s published!

Thanks for reading!

Psychology for dummies: 10 misconceptions about psychology.

Este post en Español

Although starting the first post of the blog insulting my readers may not sound like a good idea, let’s face it: we don’t know much about psychology!

If you are a psychologist you probably already know the typical sentences with which everyone comes to you after knowing your profession. If you are not here are some examples:

  • I don’t believe in psychology
  • Every psychologist s crazy
  • Are you gonna read my mind?
  • Psychoanalyze me!
  • If the psychiatrist can give you medicine, why go to the psychologist?
  • I dreamt… what does it mean?
  • Psychologist must be rich!
  • Only crazy people go to therapy

After dealing myself with people that don’t know what psychology is, rather than being just mad at them, I thought, “why not explain what it really is?”. So I ended up picking up some of-in my opinion- the worst misconceptions about psychology. of course they are not the only ones, and this is no official parameter, it’s my own opinion. Let’s go step by step. Continue reading

Paradox of choice

Picture by Amnesiac86 from Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever wondered what could you do to take your life easier? Let me give you a small piece of advice: reduce the choices you have to make everyday.

To be honest, this idea is not originally mine. The idea belongs to Barry Schwartz. Barry Schwartz is an American psychologist that has been working and researching in the field of social psychology. He has published some books, among them The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less Continue reading

Psychology in the movies

 

Image by Holger Ellgaard on Wikimedia commons

Movies reflect situations and parts of the human life. Sometimes they reflect our desires and fantasies, others our fears and worst realities. They are not always realistic, and neither their characters should be taken as role models. But I think they have succeeded in this struggle that I have, to bring psychology and therapy closer to everyone.

Therefore, as I am a big movie buff, I could not hesitate to create this post about movies about psychology and therapy. I ordered them alphabetically. You can find the year, director and the theme. Hope you enjoy it and if you want to add any, comment below!

Continue reading