Psychodynamic Therapy Addiction Treatment

Your illness may have deep-rooted causes that you are not even aware of. This is why psychodynamic therapy might form a part of your treatment programme. If you want to know more about this type of therapy and how it could help you to get better, there is help.

What Is Psychodynamic Therapy?

Psychodynamic therapy is used to help connect your unconscious mind to the present in order to uncover the root cause of your illness. When it comes to treating conditions such as addiction, mental health problems, and behavioural disorders, it is important to get to the underlying issues that caused these to occur in the first place. Failure to do this could mean a return of the symptoms at a later date.

Unfortunately, when it comes to mental health problems, the causes are often buried quite deep. You may have spent a long time trying to forget about your problems or you might have started abusing mood-altering chemicals to help you forget; doing this can often lead to emotions and feelings being buried deep in your unconscious mind.

The only way to resolve the issues that caused your current situation is to bring them to the fore and learn more about them. With psychodynamic therapy, you will work with a counsellor who will help you to bring painful memories and feelings to the surface so that you can learn to deal with them, to move on and regain control of your life.

Psychodynamic therapy is designed to provide an immediate solution to your problems and it is far less intensive than psychoanalysis, for example. By providing you with the tools required to increase awareness and probe your unconscious mind, you will find it easier to identify and understand your problems and how these have affected your life and relationships with others. You will be asked to examine past relationships with others to explore any hidden conflicts

To be able to move forward and find relief, you must get to the root cause of your problems; psychodynamic therapy has proven to be an effective tool.

How Does Psychodynamic Therapy Work?

Psychodynamic therapy is based on the principles of psychoanalysis and analytical psychology. It looks to help you make positive changes to your personality and lifestyle to encourage your emotional development. Psychodynamic therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions including addiction, behavioural disorders, and psychological disorders.

The idea that unconscious memories and feelings can affect behaviour is the core principle of psychodynamic therapy. Your therapist will work to create a trusting relationship with you in an effort to help you become more open to discussing your feelings. If you trust your therapist or counsellor, you are more likely to be ready to explore the hidden conflict and unresolved issues that could be contributing to your addictive behaviour or mental health problems.

Recognising the issues that are at the core of your illness is the first part of the process. An experienced therapist will help you to delve deep into your unconscious to identify the issues that have led you to this point. Once you have identified the causes of your illness, you can then work together on challenging and overcoming the repressed emotions and negative feelings that have been influencing your behaviour.

Even if you are already aware of the reasons for your current situation, you may not be in a position to do anything about them on your own. If this is the case, psychodynamic therapy can prove to be beneficial in terms of helping you to change your behaviours and improve your overall wellbeing. As mentioned above, a big part of this type of therapy is learning how to resolve your issues and change the way you behave within your relationships.

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Understanding Psychodynamic Therapy

The principles of psychodynamic therapy are rooted in modern psychology and in Freud’s approach to psychoanalysis. However, the concept of psychodynamics was further developed by the likes of Alfred Adler, Melanie Klein, Carl Jung, and Otto Rank.

Freud proposed that the mind is split into three parts: the unconscious mind, the ego, and the moral component. He believed that each part grew at a specific stage of childhood development and that family relationships and environment could influence this. It was his theory that these factors could influence positive or negative thoughts and beliefs.

Freud also thought that human behaviour is driven by what is buried deep in the unconscious mind and that to resolve issues and problems, it would be necessary to delve deep into this part of the mind. This formed the basis of psychodynamic therapy, although it has evolved greatly since Freud’s time.

Psychodynamic therapy sessions tend to last for about one hour each week and during this time, you and your therapist will talk about issues that are bothering you. As you talk, your therapist will probe and ask questions to establish any recurring patterns that could be buried in your unconscious mind.

Psychodynamic therapy is commonly used to treat conditions where the main symptom is depression or anxiety.

What Abuse/Addictions Is Psychodynamic Therapy Used to Treat?

  • Drug Addiction
  • Alcohol Addiction
  • Sex and Love Addiction
  • Gambling Addiction
  • Shopping Addiction
  • Gaming Addiction

How Does Psychodynamic Therapy Help in Addiction Recovery?

It is often the case that underlying issues have led to substance abuse and addiction issues in many people. Sometimes there may appear to be no apparent cause for the addiction and it is only with treatments such as psychodynamic therapy that the reason for the addictive behaviour becomes clear.

Psychodynamic therapy requires you to delve deep into your unconscious mind to recall events and memories that might have contributed to your addictive behaviour. Many people discover that traumatic events that they had forgotten about were to blame for their negative thoughts and actions.

The unconscious mind can hold painful memories that you might have been finding difficult. With psychodynamic therapy, you might discover that these memories are the reason you have been self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, for example.

During a rehabilitation programme, you could have psychodynamic therapy sessions every week in an attempt to help you to get to the root cause of your illness. Your sessions will be led by a therapist who should have plenty of experience of the process. The ultimate aim will always be to try to find out why you have been using certain substances or carrying on specific behaviours as a means of escape.

Through psychodynamic therapy, you can learn more about how your past experiences have shaped your present and why they have caused you to behave the way that you do. As well as providing you with a greater understanding of your current behaviour, this type of therapy can also be used to give you the motivation to change.

Self-awareness and evaluation are key components of the psychodynamic therapy and because of this, the benefits tend to be felt for many years after the conclusion of the actual therapy. You will learn new ways of dealing with certain life situations and, because you will have the skills to determine the reasons for your actions, you can be constantly aware and ready to implement changes when necessary going forward.

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Psychodynamic Therapy Techniques

There are a number of different techniques used during psychodynamic therapy sessions, including:

  • Free Association – Free association is a technique where you will just say the first thing that comes into your head. You are encouraged to talk about issues that might be bothering you and there is no attempt by your therapist to steer you in a particular direction before you start talking. The idea is that you can engage in free thinking in order to get to your true feelings.
  • Interpretation – During interpretation, you will be encouraged to talk about a topic of your choice. For the most part, your therapist will stay quiet and let you talk, but he or she may occasionally provide interpretations of what you are saying.
  • Dream Analysis – Some therapists like to use dream analysis while others do not believe it works effectively. If your therapist uses dream analysis, you will be encouraged to talk about your dreams in detail. Your therapist will ask questions about your dream with the aim of getting you to remember as much as you can. Dream analysis involves distinguishing the ‘manifest’ content that you can clearly remember and the ‘latent’ content that is lying under the surface. It is the job of the therapist to get to the latent content in order to interpret the meaning of your dream.
  • Therapeutic Transference – During therapeutic transference, you will be encouraged to redirect feelings for another person onto your therapist. More often than not this significant person will be someone from your childhood. The goal is to help you explore the relationship and to resolve any conflicts within it.

How Psychodynamic Therapy Differs from Other Psychotherapies?

Psychodynamic therapy is concerned with the mind and how unconscious memories can lead to problematic feelings, emotions, and behaviours. Humanistic therapies, on the other hand, attempt to help you gain an understanding of how you see yourself and how you experience the world.

One of the main differences between psychodynamic therapy and other psychotherapies is the theory that the unconscious mind shapes the way in which people behave. With other psychotherapies, the view is that conscious thoughts and feelings are responsible for actions.

When compared with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy differs in a number of ways. For example, it is far less structured than CBT, and a longer commitment is required.

There is also an emphasis on discussing past events and memories in addition to current circumstances, whereas with CBT, the emphasis is more on the here and now.

Another difference is the fact that with psychodynamic therapy, you will be encouraged to think freely, and you can choose topics that you want to talk about. With CBT, there is more direction from your therapist because of its highly structured nature.

Psychodynamic therapy remains a popular tool in terms of treating a variety of issues, despite having been side-lined by CBT in recent times. The good news is that many therapists train in both types of treatment and therefore use the one that they feel is best suited to your needs and the illness you are recovering from.

Co-Occurring Mental Disorders Psychodynamic Therapy Treats Include:

  • Panic Disorder
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Stress

Other Supplemental Therapies

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
  • Fitness Therapy
  • Individual Counselling
  • Meditation
  • Art Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Yoga
  • Family Therapy
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