Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy : The Most Misunderstood Of All Therapies

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“Psychoanalytic psychotherapy may be the most misunderstood of all therapies.” It is the oldest form of therapy in existence which consists of a diverse collection of theories that were developed outside the world of academics (Shedler, 2010). The term psychoanalysis originated from a Viennese neurologist by the name of Sigmund Freud. It was the “first modern Western system of psychotherapy” that dominated the United States as well as other countries. It was originally developed for educated, middle-class Western Europeans. Other forms of therapy that evolved were influenced or developed in response to it (Safran, 2012). World War I and World War II played a significant role in psychoanalysis. The military used those trained in psychoanalysis to assess and treat soldiers that were traumatized in the war (Hale, 1995).
An ironic process took place in the health care system in the United States as psychoanalysis became the dominant influence after World War II. Those influenced by psychoanalytical thinking were placed in a position to treat a broad range of clients from different cultures and social classes. Following World War II, the term psychodynamic became synonymous with psychoanalysis. “Unfortunately many people in the broader mental health field and the general public are unaware of these changes within psychoanalysis and are responding to a partial or caricatured understanding of the tradition on the basis of aspects of psychoanalytic theory, practice, and…

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