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Who Benefits From Therapy?

There are currently many schools of psychology - such as psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), humanistic and existential therapies, etc. - that are based on divergent theoretical foundations, and offer different treatment modalities. Although historically each one of these schools has claimed, or sometimes still claims in certain cases, that it is valid for all those who seek psychological help, empirical evidence and the combined years of experience of many practitioners show us that this is not a verified fact. In addition to the specific expectations of the people looking for assistance, their individual personalities will lead them to be more receptive to one kind of help than to another. The most noteworthy differences between people when it comes to choosing a therapy treatment will manifest through their tolerance to frustration, where they locate their problems, and their degree of autonomy. When it comes to psychoanalytic therapy, there are certain personality dispositions - that do not necessarily express themselves in all situations, but are nevertheless central to the person’s psychological makeup - without which it is difficult for someone to be able to benefit greatly from this type of therapy treatment. What are they? Let’s begin with the fact that psychoanalytic therapy rests on some fundamental principals, mainly that:

  1. the origin of emotional difficulties is primarily internal and unconscious;

  2. their treatment is based on an unwavering commitment to the search of inner truth, whatever it may be;

  3. the immense complexity of the psyche requires time in order to allow real structural change to take place.

Experience shows us that patients who are able to benefit the most from psychoanalytic therapy are individuals who:

  1. consider themselves mainly responsible for their lives, and are willing to contemplate the possibility that they may not know certain aspects of themselves;

  2. are essentially honest with themselves and with others, and have the tendency and basic courage to face the truth, even if it isn’t always pleasant, because they understand that it is only through knowing it that one can effectively act on oneself and the world;

  3. know that – despite the fact that we live in a world that tends to make us think that all satisfactions can be immediately obtained - the deep things in life, that are really worth something, take time.

Having said this, it is also true that, sometimes, a person for who psychoanalytic therapy did not seem to be the treatments of choice, discovers unsuspected capacities as he/she progresses in a therapy adapted to his/her needs, and is able to go much deeper than what would have been initially anticipated. In general, most patients who undertake a form of psychoanalytic treatment progressively develop a deeper sense of personal responsibility, honesty and meaning.

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