Analysis of Resistance When free associating or describing dreams, patients may resist talking about or thinking about certain topics. Such resistances (blockages in the flow of ideas) reveal particularly important unconscious conflicts. As analysts become aware of resistances, they bring them to the patient’s awareness so the patient can deal with them realistically. Rather than being roadblocks in therapy, resistances can be clues and challenges (Engle & Arkowitz, 2006).
Pioneering psychotherapist Sigmund Freud’s famous couch.
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Analysis of Transference Transference is the tendency to “transfer” feelings to a therapist similar to those the patient had for important persons in his or her past. At times, the patient may act as if the analyst is a rejecting father, an unloving or overprotective mother, or a former lover, for example. As the patient re-experiences repressed emotions, the therapist can help the patient recognize and understand them. Troubled persons often provoke anger, rejection, boredom, criti- cism, and other negative reactions from others. Effective therapists learn to avoid reacting as others do and playing the patient’s habit- ual resistance and transference “games.” This, too, contributes to therapeutic change (Fayek, 2010).
Psychoanalysis Today What is the status of psychoanalysis today? Traditional psychoanalysis was open-ended, calling for three to five therapy sessions a week, often for many years. Today, most patients are seen only once or twice per week, but treatment may still go on for years (Friedman et al., 1998). Because of the huge amounts of time and money this requires, psychoanalysts have become relatively rare. Nevertheless, psycho- analysis made a major contribution to modern therapies by highlight- ing the importance of unconscious conflicts (Friedman, 2006).
Many therapists have switched to doing time-limited brief psy- chodynamic therapy, which uses direct questioning to reveal unconscious conflicts (Binder, 2004). Modern therapists also actively provoke emotional reactions that will lower defenses and provide insights. Interestingly, brief therapy appears to accelerate recovery. Patients seem to realize that they need to get to the heart of their problems quickly (Messer & Kaplan, 2004).
Interpersonal Psychotherapy One example of a brief dynamic therapy is interpersonal psycho- therapy (IPT), which was first developed to help depressed people improve their relationships with others (Teyber & McClure, 2011). Research has confirmed that IPT is effective for depressive disorders, as well as eating disorders, substance abuse, social pho- bias, and personality disorders (Fiore et al., 2008; Hoffart, 2005; Prochaska & Norcross, 2010; Talbot & Gamble, 2008).