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​Australian mental health's uptake of a psychoanalytic model

Making the case for psychoanalytic psychotherapy in Australia

  • President of Psychiatry in Australia – Phillip Boyce (2003) “I consider that an understanding of psychodynamic theory and the application of psychodynamic principals are an integral part of psychiatric practice.”

  • Haliburn, J.; Stevenson, J. And Gerull, F. (2009) A University Psychotherapy Training Program in a Psychiatric Hospital: 25 Years of the Conversational Model in the Treatment of Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (see also Parker, S. Bylett, M. and Leggett, A. (2013)

  • Petchovsky, Morris and Rushton (2002) make a compelling case for why a psychoanalytic model ought inform practice in the public sector in Queensland

  • Vance, A. (2003) Three main theoretical influences are evident in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry. Psychodynamic theory and practice is the dominant historical model that arose from the conjecture of Freud and his followers.

  • Galbally,  J. , Lewis,  A., Snellen, M. Paul,  C. Szego, K. And Trauer, T. (2006)  70% of clinicians in this field of psychotherapy who responded to the questionnaire subscribe to a psychodynamic model, although cognitive behavioural models are also used.

  • King, R., Schweitzer, R., Giacomantonio, G and Keogh, T. (2010) Psychodynamic psychotherapy: the evidence is in, InPsych, APS Journal.

  • Compelling new evidence

    • American Psychological Association recently issued a press release - re the effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapy

  • It behoves Uni’s/academics

    • move beyond the convenient but intellectually dishonest position that CBT is the only evidence-based psychotherapy.

    • Undergraduate students should be taught the principles and evidence base for psychodynamic therapy, postgraduate psychology students should have opportunities for training in psychodynamic psychotherapy, and such training should be supplied by psychologists with genuine interest and expertise in the area.

  • the Australian Psychological Society (APS)

    • should encourage the Government to revisit the specified psychological treatments for Medicare rebate. At present there are two specified treatments for which rebates are provided to generalist psychologists: CBT and IPT. Psychodynamic therapy probably has a more substantial claim to an evidence base than IPT, but it may be that specifying treatments by name is inherently unsatisfactory, and it would be better to specify that practice should be evidence-based and to provide guidelines as to what this means

    • When psychoanalytic therapy is the indicated treatment

    • it may be most clearly indicated as a secondary treatment when a brief focal treatment such as CBT has not yielded the expected outcomes (which may be the case for up to one third of all cases). It may also be indicated where problems are clearly complex and involve fundamental rather than transient disturbance of intrapersonal or interpersonal functioning.

Websites of key Australian Psychoanalytical Organisations


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