When is Psychoanalysis Indicated?
Psychoanalysis rather than psychotherapy may be the treatment choice when patients are highly motivated to address painful or confusing aspects of their lives or behaviour, when psychological suffering is particularly intense or when (unknown) resistances to exploring the mind are particularly strong and inhibit the progress of once or twice weekly psychotherapy. Meeting frequently may help contain difficult feelings that lead to unproductive behaviours or it may help when unwanted, or intense new feelings emerge, not to have to wait long for the next visit.
Psychodynamic treatment does not offer a “quick fix”. People who benefit from psychodynamic work – either psychotherapy or psychoanalysis – are those willing to put considerable effort into resolving issues and have an inclination towards thinking psychologically. Change occurs over time and these changes, although dependable and permanent, take psychological work. Those who can maintain a certain level of perseverance are good candidates.
Whatever the problem, a thorough evaluation is required to determine whether a psychodynamic approach is properly indicated. During this assessment phase, the patient has an opportunity to form an opinion about whether he or she feels that there is a good fit with the therapist. If psychodynamic treatment is warranted, the therapist outlines a treatment plan discussing possible problems that can occur, thereby ensuring the patient is able to give informed consent before treatment begins.