Psychodynamic signposts in therapeutic work: How theory and practice converge

The following section will summarise the essential elements of psychodynamic understanding that underpin the assessment and treatment process in time-limited psychotherapy with children, young people and their parents. Whilst reference is made to several important theorists and clinicians, the framework below is not intended to reflect a particular psychodynamic approach or theory. The assumption is made that by the 21st century, we have reached a point of understanding and integration of the various clinical and theoretical foundations of the psychodynamic approach. Therefore a presentation on the efficacy of time-limited psychotherapy does not have to declare its allegiance for example, as Kleinian or Freudian, or following exclusively any other theory or theoretical position. This would be rather like scientists having to reiterate their allegiance to Darwin or Newton each time they present a new finding in their work. A further assumption made, is that readers will come to the practice of time-limited psychotherapy with children, young people and parents with some background both in theoretical understanding and clinical practice.

In re-calibrating the psychodynamic enterprise, the following conceptual and therapeutic frameworks are viewed as central to time- limited psychotherapeutic practice with children, parents and families:

  • • Understanding the impact of attachment;
  • • Understanding family dynamics;
  • • Attending to the making of meaning and the unity of brain and mind;
  • • Acknowledging the capacity for health and growth in children and young people;
  • • Understanding group and organisation dynamics in creating a network and professional links.
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