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Is There Scientific Evidence to Support the Underlying Principles That Guide Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Used at Austen Riggs?

Psychodynamic therapy is designed to assist an individual to develop a comprehensive understanding of him/herself in context. Underlying this understanding is a basic belief that people have the potential to make important and fundamental changes in their lives when meaning can be linked to experiences.

The principles of psychodynamic therapy include a focus on emotions and an exploration of people’s attempts to avoid topics or engage in activities that hinder the progress of therapy (Blagys and Hilsenroth 2000).

For many individuals, psychodynamic therapy supports the development of internal resources and abilities that can lead to deeper, satisfying, and more autonomous lives (Shedler et al. 2010). The goal of psychodynamic psychotherapy extends beyond symptom remission into enhancing a patient’s ability to more fully access their internal resources.

This translates to

  • being able to take life’s challenges in stride;
  • having more freedom to express oneself;
  • tolerating a broader range of feelings;
  • engaging in satisfying sexual experiences; and
  • understanding the world in more individualized and complex ways. 

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