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312 Research in Psychoanalysis – 2 seminars

Seminar Leaders: S. Thomson and T. Toneatto

Course Description

This class addresses the significance of empirical research for psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy—how crucial is it to its future, and what are its limits- at a time when there is growing public interest in the scientific evidence for psychotherapy. Contrary to a common misconception that there is little empirical evidence for psychoanalytic psychotherapies, we will survey the strong evidence supporting psychoanalytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. In addition, a brief introduction to the variables associated with outcomes of psychoanalytic psychotherapy will be presented highlighting some of the more reliable findings about the treatment process.

Course Objectives

  1. To discuss the importance of empirical research in psychoanalysis (5.1)
  2. To describe the results of important outcome studies in psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis (5.1)
  3. To survey relevant psychoanalytic and psychodynamic process studies (5.1)

Seminar 1

The Empirical Evidence for Psychoanalysis

Required Readings

BMJ debate: Fonagy & Lemma ( 2012). Does psychoanalysis have a valuable place in modern mental health services? Yes. British Medical Journal, 344, 1211.

Shedler, J. (2010). The efficacy of psychodynamic psychotherapy. American Psychologist, 65(2), 98-109.

De Maat et al (2009). The effectiveness of long-term psychoanalytic therapy: A systematic review of empirical studies. Harvard Review of Psychiatry 17(1), 1 -23.

YouTube video:

Seminar 2

Psychodynamic Process Research: Explaining Therapeutic Change

Required Readings

Barber, J.P., Muran, J.C., McCarthy, K.S., & Keefe, J.R. (2013). Research on dynamic therapies. In M.J. Lambert (Ed.) Bergin and Garfield’s Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change (6th ed.) (pp.473-480). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Ablon, Levy & Katzenstein (2006). Beyond brand names of psychotherapy: Identifying empirically supported change processes. Psychotherapy, Research, Practice, Training, 43(2), 216- 231.

Supplementary Readings

Fonagy ( 2010). The changing shape of clinical practice: Driven by science or bypragmatics? Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy 24(1), 22-43.

Leichsenring & Rabung. (2011). Long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy in complex mental disorders: Update of a meta-analysis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 199, 15-22.

Leuzinger-Bohleber, M, & Kachele, H. (2015). An Open Door Review of Outcomes and Process Studies in Psychoanalysis. Third Edition: London (publisher unknown).

Westen, D., Novtny, C.M. & Thompson-Brenner, H. (2004). The empirical status of empirically supported psychotherapies: Assumptions, findings, and reporting on controlled clinical trials. Psychological Bulletin 130(4), 631-663.

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