Psychosynthesis – the style of therapy that I practise – is known worldwide as the psychology with a soul. Roberto Assagioli, the founder, was trained in neurology and psychiatry – he was part of the early psychoanalytic movement with Freud and Jung. His style of psychotherapy was deeply influenced by eastern and western spirituality – psychosynthesis – is therefore an integration of the best that western psychology has to offer, along with the philosophies, beliefs and techniques of eastern and western spiritual disciplines. Psychosynthesis was not meant to replace psychoanalysis; rather, Assagioli wished to enhance it.
In the therapy room, we use the latest in evidence based practice alongside our self, soul and spiritual work. One of the core methods of working is via a psychodynamic approach – a school of thought and practice that has a considerable amount of research to prove its long-term effectiveness.
Through my own recovery and from having the privilege of watching people blossom and grow for nearly 15 years in my private counselling and psychotherapy practice – I know therapy works! I love it when I find solid research to back it up.
In The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D. reviews over 160 studies of psychodynamic psychotherapy. He provides a considerable amount evidence to show that not only does therapy provide symptom improvement but through developing inner resources, self-knowledge and awareness, you can continue to improve long after your therapy ends – in fact – the tools and awareness you develop will last you a lifetime.
Comparable to psychosynthesis, psychodynamic psychotherapy is not a sticky plaster fix – it offers depth, understanding, meaning and long-term change from whatever it is that is causing you distress.
Shedler’s paper highlights the following features of psychodynamic psychotherapy:
– For optimal results, psychotherapy takes place once a week and it can be short-term or long-term and open ended.
– The essence of psychodynamic therapy is exploring those aspects of self that are not fully known.
– Psychodynamic therapy encourages exploration and discussion of the full range of emotions. The therapist helps you to describe and put words to feelings, including contradictory feelings, feelings that are troubling or threatening, and feelings that you may not initially be able to recognize or acknowledge.
– Psychodynamic therapists actively focus on and explore avoidances and other defence mechanisms.
– Psychodynamic therapists work to identify and explore recurring themes and patterns in your thoughts, feelings, self-concept, relationships, and life experiences.
– Psychodynamic therapists explore early experiences, the relation between past and present, and the ways in which the past tends to “live on” in the present. The focus is not on the past for its own sake, but rather on how the past sheds light on current psychological difficulties. The goal is to help you to free yourself from the bonds of past experience in order to live more fully in the present.
– Psychodynamic psychotherapy places emphasis on your relationships and interpersonal experiences.
– The relationship between you and the therapist is itself an important interpersonal relationship, one that can become deeply meaningful. Because our original wounding often happened in our early attachment relationships – it is through the loving, empathic therapeutic relationship that reparation, healing and change can take place.
– Therapy encourages you to speak freely about whatever is on your mind. Everything you bring (thoughts, fears, desires, dreams etc) are considered a rich source of information and can help you to find value, meaning and purpose in life.
This blog is part of my Therapy Rocks! series.
PHOTO CREDIT: CANSTOCK
Sydney counsellor, soul-centred life-coach and psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She has a private counselling, soul-centred life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches.