12 Jan

Why Psychoanalysis is Making a Comeback

Last month the official monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association, Monitor on Psychology, featured an article on psychoanalysis and its current relevance as a form of treatment.  http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/12/psychoanalysis.aspx  The bottom line is that the psychoanalytic approach, long ignored as behavioral treatments promised quicker fixes, is making a comeback.  And a well-deserved one.  The article cites evidence that psychodynamic and psychoanalytic work is at least as effective as CBT and the effects last much longer.  There is also a nice, brief comparison of psychoanalysis versus psychodynamic therapy.

(As an aside, the psychoanalytic approach is even more popular around the world.  My most recent book has been translated into South Korean, Polish and Farsi.  And psychoanalysis is rapidly becoming the treatment of choice in China, where they now have their own institutes, as well as doing distance learning and even treatment with U.S. psychoanalysts.)

In the thirty-plus years that I have been practicing, I have seen countless people who have tried briefer therapies at least once, if not two or three times.  They experienced symptom relief for a while after their brief behavioral treatments ended.  But eventually their symptoms and problems returned, often in a more severe form.  At this point they started thinking about trying a treatment that goes deeper and lasts longer.

There is no denying that a psychoanalytic approach is more costly in the short term.  It takes more time, energy, and money to achieve the desired results.  And I always tell my patients that they have to be willing to feel intense emotions—mostly painful ones–that are creating their symptoms or conflicts.  Being a psychoanalytic patient takes commitment and courage.  But the psychoanalytic experience can be a life-changing one that will never leave you.

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