Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Anxiety
by Dr. Carlo Carandang, MD
Does Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Work to Clear Anxiety?
What Is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy?
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is an insight-oriented, depth psychotherapy. Psychodynamic psychotherapy examines the root causes of your anxiety, and tries to connect your current anxiety symptoms to previous traumas and disappointments. To do this, psychodynamic psychotherapy analyzes a patient’s unconscious content which contributes to anxiety. As such, psychodynamic psychotherapy requires intensive and frequent sessions, some seeing their therapist multiple times per week. This is in contrast to CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on the here and now, and doesn’t care about the causes of the anxiety…CBT just wants to fix your faulty solutions now. Another big difference is that psychodynamic psychotherapy requires intense treatment and connection with your therapist, while the goal for CBT is to learn self-help skills as fast as possible so that the patient is the one delivering the treatment, not the therapist. Indeed, CBT treatments have recently evolved and have skipped the therapist entirely and rely solely on the person with anxiety following step-by-step self-help instruction, which is the goal of CBT in the first place.1
Does Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Work?
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is recommended as second-line treatment for anxiety disorders, while CBT is first line treatment for anxiety.1 Of all the psychotherapies, CBT has the most studies showing effectiveness for anxiety2, and that is why psychodynamic psychotherapy is regulated to second-line treatment for anxiety disorders.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy can cause worsen anxiety symptoms when first starting it, as the therapist will be analyzing your dreams, thoughts, and behaviors which give clues and are symbolic of your unconscious content.
If you want to find the root causes of your anxiety, and have plenty of time (and money) to engage with a psychodynamic therapist, then psychodynamic therapy may be for you. However, there are other less expensive and less intensive psychotherapies that are effective for anxiety, such as CBT.
If you prefer a more private, more convenient, self-reliant, and less expensive treatment for anxiety, you should consider self-help treatment with Anxiety Protocol, based on CBT. You can also consider adjunctive treatment with Kalmpro, which is a natural supplement for anxiety.
- “Chapter 11 – Psychotherapy for Anxiety Disorders.” Anxiety Protocol. Carandang C. 2014. Healthy Mind Research Corporation.
- The diagnosis of and treatment recommendations for anxiety disorders. Bandelow B, Lichte T, Rudolf S, Wiltink J, E Beutel M. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2014 Jul 7;111(27-28):473-80.