The Case for Psychodynamic Therapy

Posted by

The Case for Psychodynamic Therapy - Mark Ettensohn, Psy.D. Sacramento Therapist

There is a common misconception that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the best and only scientifically sound treatment approach for emotional suffering. This idea is being taught in both undergraduate and graduate training programs, and increasingly CBT treatments are becoming the only ones available at clinics and hospitals.

Much of the push behind this trend is coming from a movement within clinical psychology favoring treatments that are “empirically supported.” Supporters and practitioners of these treatments increasingly exhibit bias against psychodynamic and psychoanalytic therapies, claiming that they have no scientific support. Such bias is also becoming entrenched in the mind of the public, thanks to the popularization of CBT treatments and portrayals of psychoanalysis as not having changed much since the early 20th Century.

In fact, psychoanalytic therapies (which include psychodynamic therapy approaches) have changed dramatically since the days of Freud and have robust evidence supporting their effectiveness.

Here is an excellent video review of the scientific evidence. The main point: while CBT may be short and inexpensive, psychodynamic and psychoanalytic therapies actually show comparable short-term effectiveness and superior long-term effectiveness. What’s more, they work on complex issues that regularly foil CBT treatments.

It’s well worth a watch if you are interested in these issues and have some free time.

To learn more about Psychodynamic Treatments and the evidence supporting them, see these excellent articles:

A jargon-free introduction to contemporary Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

A Scientific American article on the benefits of Psychodynamic Therapy

An American Psychologist article on the efficacy of Psychodynamic Therapy


…the evidence indicates that the benefits of psychodynamic treatments are lasting…and appear to extend well beyond symptom remission.”

– Jonathan Shedler, MD – The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Leave a Reply