Course Number: 
41100

This course provides an opportunity for continued exploration of psychodynamic practice begun in the earlier methods class. This practice has a rich history and tradition, extending back to the pioneering groundwork of Sigmund Freud. However, practice literature and the helping professions in general have paid little attention to developments in psychodynamic treatment since Freud's era, failing to acknowledge more contemporary challenges to and elaborations on classical psychoanalysis. These developments include the emergence of attachment theory and related research, advancements in understanding of the role of neuroscience, and socio-cultural-political forces reshaping notions of hierarchy, power and authority. A particularly pernicious and recurring criticism of psychodynamic therapy it that is pays limited attention to issues of race, ethnicity and culture. In addition, psychodynamic therapy is widely—and erroneously--characterized as heterosexist, homophobic and anti-feminist. This course will identify key developments in the evolution of psychodynamic theory from Freud's time until the present, reviewing representative traditions which moved further away from drive theory toward more relational ways of organizing our understanding human behavior. Among these developments are a new emphasis on social constructivism, the idea of “self” as fluid and shaped by changing influences, a new appreciation for the role of culture, race, gender, religion and sexuality, as well as the introduction of ‘relationality' and ‘intersubjectivity' into the treatment paradigm—including the function of self-disclosure on the part of the therapist. Therefore, contemporary psychodynamic therapy has shifted its focus from untying intrapsychic “knots” to examining the centrality of relationships. In other words, it has shifted away from “one-person” to “two-person” psychology. Prerequisite: SSAD 41000.