Treatment Approaches- Traditional

Psychoanalytic Therapy

Psychoanalytic theory rests on the concepts of differing levels of conscious awareness (conscious, preconscious, and unconscious), and motivational drives within an individual (id, ego, superego). The interaction among these forces influences the individual’s perception of reality and their place within it. When earth shattering events occur one’s internal equilibrium becomes disturbed or even shattered. In response, mental defense mechanisms activate in order to help the individual cope with the experience (blunted affect, repression of memories, denial, avoidance, etc.). Defense mechanisms are adaptive, natural reactions to trauma that only become dysfunctional when they become habitual reactions that prevent the individual from accepting reality and adapting to their experience.

The purpose of psychoanalytic therapy is to help the individual cope with their experience, rediscover meaning for their lives, and reconnect with reality in the context of a therapeutic working alliance between the client and the counselor. This process may involve exploring past relationships, utilizing free association, exploring dreams, and recognizing transference issues in the therapeutic relationship. Ultimately, the belief is that insight (self-understanding) combined with the development/refinement of coping and problem-solving skills leads to psychological and social health. (Note: All information came from Chapter 9 of Effective Treatments for PTSD by Foa, Keane, and Friedman)

Traditional Psychotherapy

Alternative Approaches

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Psychoanalytic Therapy Energy Therapy
Pharmacological Therapy Critical Incident Stress Management


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Regent University
School of Psychology & Counseling
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800.373.5504 or 757.352.4000

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