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11 Strengths of Psychoanalysis
1)Offers an in-depth perspective (i.e., transference, countertransference) that emphasizes exploring the origins of psychopathology 2)The focus on developmental considerations 3)Most of the models address sexuality (except self psychology, which sees sexuality as a drive derivative—secondary to narcissistic concerns). 4)Freud brought gender issues to the fore with notion of “penis envy”. 5) The notion of “repetition compulsion” transcends theory, often drawn by several models as a central concept. 6)Gabbard—Many people do not respond to medications or brief therapy—Some people want to derive deeper meaning about themselves beyond symptom reduction.
7) The notion of “unconscious” begins to explain behavior that we are unaware of. 8) There is biological research that supports some of Freud’s claims (“divided brain” studies). 9)The focus on relationship (particularly by object relations) 10)Self psychology understands psychopathology in terms of “dysregulation states”, which has been confirmed through neurobiological literature. 11)The universality of defense mechanisms and their use across theories.
6 Weaknesses of psychoanalysis:
1)Psychoanalytic jargon serves to confuse rather than clarify concepts.
2)Some of the ideas (penis envy, Oedipus) are outdated in terms of our contemporary world, and it is questioned by some theorists/practitioners whether these concepts are clinically useful. 3) The approach lacks a theory of intervention—not enough focus on technique. 4)The exclusive focus on the past can lead to “analysis paralysis” 5)The theory only provides a piece of the pie—often neglecting biological, cultural, and social considerations 6)Too many patients (perhaps psychotic, borderline) are not considered appropriate for psychoanalysis.
Some writers would contend that because behaviorism focuses on these things, there are irreconcilable points of divergence between psychoanalytic and behavioral therapy:
1) objective reality (what is observable and measurable) 2)emphasizes the conscious processes, and 3)mainly focuses on the present, here-and-now experience of the client
Most of the differences in philosophy apply to
classical psychoanalysis and radical behaviorism.
Dynamic psychotherapists have increasingly recognized that
conscious thoughts and environmental factors are important
behaviorists have adopted a position that accepts
a person’s explicit and implicit thoughts as useful data.
Beck acknowledges that “automatic thoughts” are
latent and/or unobserved and may be considered “cognitive schemas”.
We can broaden our view of transference by including any systematic misrepresentation of a significant other, whereby individuals learn
a tacit set of rules or interpersonal schemas earlier in life about what to expect in interpersonal relationships (Norcross & Goldfried).
Others understand that a dynamic approach attempts to modify personality, but sees it as inextricably tied to
the modification of the person’s overt behaviors.