Using psychodynamic therapy to treat depression

Mental health can be significantly stunned or stunted when affected by unfortunate circumstances such as a mental health disorder. Depression, for example, is a long lasting illness that can affect a person’s physical, mental and emotional state of being. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is defined as severe symptoms that interfere with one’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat and enjoy life. A depressive episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person will endure several depressive episodes throughout their life.

People that battle with depression tend to act impulsively, as their judgement can be hindered by the disorder. According to Dr. Laura J. Martin of Emory University, people who suffer from depression pose greater chances of participating in risky behaviors such as excessive drinking, drug abuse, unsafe sex and cutting. Other symptoms may include a lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating or remember details, irritability, restlessness, persistent sadness, anhedonia and more.

Psychodynamic therapy for depression

Psychodynamic therapists treat depression by exploring root causes of unresolved, subconscious conflicts or issues. When utilizing this therapeutic approach, the therapist attempts to delve into the patient’s’ psyche by analyzing where their aggression could be stemming from, how they perceive themselves in relation to others and how patients attempt to feel accepted in their environments. With these key factors in mind, a therapist is able to work with the patients in order to help them understand who they are and why they feel the way they feel.

Psychodynamic therapy is derived from psychoanalytic theory, and was originally based off Freud’s psychoanalysis. It is one of the oldest known therapies used. Within psychodynamic therapy, there are four major schools of psychoanalytic theory: Freudian, Ego Psychology, Object Relations and Self Psychology.

  • Freudian Psychology: holds that aggressive energies are sexual energies that are originating in the “id” or unconscious and are controlled by the ego.
  • Ego Psychology: stresses the individual’s capacity for defense, adaptation and reality testing.
  • Object Relations: states that an individual’s struggles and goals in life are represented by the relationships they have with others. Their internal sense of self and of others around them were acquired in childhood and are later played out in adult relationships. According to this theory, people repeat object relationships in an effort to master them, so as to be free from them.
  • Self Psychology: developed by Heinz Kohut, M.D. in the 1950s, it refers to how a person experiences and perceives themselves in contrast to others. This theory holds that psychological motivation comes from the human need to be a part of a group and have close relationships with others. There are three self-objects in self-psychology: mirroring, idealizing and twinship.
  • Mirroring: a sense of self-admiration and recognition. When a child doesn’t get positive reinforcement, love or admiration at a young age, later on in life, they may develop a “false-self”, which is a persona of who they perceive others will accept and love. This “false-self” confirms a sense of worth and self-esteem, as individuals are then able to recognize the approval of this persona from others which they didn’t receive as a child.
  • Idealizing: a way for a person or child to reaffirm a sense of safety. When people aren’t sure about their surroundings, or the people around them, they may put certain people up on a pedestal and accept the false notion that a particular person is completely good, having no bad qualities. This is a false reality in which they create what they believe is a safe person that they can trust, when in actuality, that person may not be safe or trustworthy.
  • Twinship: a basic need for all human beings is to feel a kinship with those around them. It is how the alter-ego sets up a false reality of trust among others. This can seem useful to the person who may have grown up in a violent or unpredictable home situation. Twinship allows a person or child to think that they are socially accepted.

The psychodynamic therapeutic approach is based off of what Freud called psychic determinism. Psychic determinism speculates that a person’s thought processes and word choice aren’t spontaneous or random, but are instead governed by unconscious rules or patterns of memories, emotions and perceptions; otherwise known as complexes.

Find help now

Whatever the method used to treat depression, it’s extremely important it is treated as soon as issues arise. There are many different evidence-based therapeutic approaches to depression, as well as alternative therapies such as mindfulness, exercise, breathing techniques and yoga. Having a daily routine is also highly suggested to help people who are prone to depression.

To learn more about treatment, call us today and speak with a treatment specialist at 855-653-8178.