The field of psychodynamic psychotherapies, which refers exclusively to psychoanalysis, also includes “psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy”. The term psychotherapy is used solely for practical reasons. There is a complete palette of types of psychotherapy which extend all the way from only smaller changes made to classic analytic psychotherapy, through shorter, “focal” psychotherapy, to psychoanalytic psychotherapy of psychoses, through child psychoanalytic psychotherapy, to psychoanalytic treatment of families, etc. Group analysis represents its own field.
Today, each of these psychotherapies has its own literature, its own special technique, and the trainings are also starting to differentiate more and more.
Models of psychotherapy and the qualifications of a psychotherapist/analyst
These days, it is difficult to imagine a psychotherapist who engages in all these fields without being frivolous in some of them. Respectively, they need to be properly specialized and qualified in order to perform in more fields. As well as in any profession, there is a lot of researching, various positions and manners in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, but we need to distinctly separate the differences which are a consequence of serious and in-depth research from the varieties which are simply a result of superficiality and ignorance.
Namely, every psychotherapy needs a working model, which needs to have certain consistency and which should explain what its theoretically-technical basis is, which goals it sets and which means it intends to use in order to reach them. Psychotherapy is being dealt with by psychoanalysts as well as psychotherapists, who have undergone proper training, under proper standards in competent institutions. There are sometimes conflicts between psychoanalytic institutions and psychotherapists which occur for different reasons: often based on competitiveness and competence, but there are also many other reasons.
The boundary between psychoanalysis and individual psychoanalytic psychotherapy is anything but strictly defined, which also affects the boundary in the psychotherapist’s and analyst’s work.
While psychoanalysis is unlimited in duration and open to all subjects a patient brings up, psychotherapy is either at the very beginning limited in duration or its goal is a shorter, more direct processing of some, but not all of the patient’s topics, problems, symptoms. In psychotherapy, both parties are perhaps more actively present, which is always a matter of happening during the meeting and not a rule. We could say that in psychotherapy there are different possible and recommended interferences and interventions in the process of therapy and they can vary from those in psychoanalysis. In psychotherapy the relationship is bound to the reality of the situations and solving concrete, already conscious problems and/or symptoms, but it does not so much focus on solicitation and “researching the deeper unconscious content”. In psychotherapy, we try to approach the unconscious emotional happening, but we could say that we are “moving in a psychotherapeutic relationship in less deep layers of the psyche”.
The process and goals of psychotherapy
The goal of psychotherapy is removing the symptoms, especially through the patient’s self-recognition of their own reactions to the outer world and people in the present and past. These assumptions should also be supported by concrete differences in the setting.Psychotherapy should take place once or twice a week vis-a-vis. The setting of psychoanalytic psychotherapy also “sticks” to certain frame which define psychoanalysis and the psychoanalytic process which is described in more detail in the section PSYCHOANALYSIS.
*The description is partially summarized and changed with the author’s permission from the text by dr. Paolo Fonda, a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist from Trieste, titled The Problems with Education in Psychoanalytically Oriented Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (published in Psihološkaobzorja, nr. 1, September 1992, p. 67―72)