The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

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The age old competition between Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Psychodynamic Therapy has been ongoing for the past thirty years in America. From all across the universities, psychologists have announced the good news of CBT and preached the death of Freud. Again and again they have made sure to broadcast the research that indicates dynamic therapy is inefficacious, costly, and unnecessarily long. Instead, practitioners have turned to CBT for empirically-supported treatments. I know my presentation of Freud in my psychopathology class was caricatured, disrespectful, and dismissive. These days Freud is more likely to be studied in English departments than in Psychology departments (a strange fate Marx and Derrida also share in America).

However, let it be known that this is utter horseshit. Not only does data not support these rash conclusions, but furthermore it has been demonstrated that dynamic therapy not only is as effective at symptom remission (something CBT is great at) but that those who undergo it show marked improvements years after therapy has been terminated. If Freud was wrong, then why is more and more cognitive neuroscience research substantiating his metapsychology? If Freud was wrong, then why is the active ingredient that makes other therapies effective ultimately stem from psychoanalysis? As analysts have finally responded to the call of empiricism, research has supported our contention that dynamic therapy is as (if not more) effective than any other therapeutic approaches. It’s about damn time the insurance companies stop penalizing people and cover a longer-term dynamic therapy treatment. Not only might it be more effective, but it’s proven to be better at improving over all level of functioning and personality structure.

This was a long and winded introduction to encourage to read this latest meta-analysis of the utility of psychodynamic therapy by Dr Shedler:

https://portfolio.du.edu/pc/port?portfolio=jshedler
The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Therapy

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