An overview of Psychoanalytic Theory

Psychoanalytic theory was first developed by Sigmund Freud. It refers to both the definition of and the dynamics involved with personality development which are the underlying elements of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theories. Since Freud initially developed this theory, it has evolved and undergone many refinements. It came into prominence in the latter part of the 20th century. Freud’s work in this area was considered shocking during his time and still creates controversy in certain circles.

However, his work has profoundly influenced a number of specific disciplines which include anthropology, art, literature, psychology, and sociology. Psychoanalysis refers to the numerous aspects of Freud’s research and work as well as the methodology he employed to develop his different theories. According to Freud, where psychoanalytic theory is concerned, he divided the mind into two distinct parts:

  • The conscious mind – applies to everything that the human being is aware of
  • The unconscious mind – the reservoir of human feelings, memories, thoughts, and urges that exist outside of conscious awareness

It is important to understand the above before you can understand how psychoanalytic theory works and is applied to addiction treatment and recovery.

Psychodynamics of Drug Addiction and Dependency

Until recent decades, there have been limitations placed on how psychoanalytic theory was applied to the addiction treatment and recovery process. When it was used in the past in different drug rehab programs, the results were inconsequential at best. This was probably due to the fact that psychoanalysis was not recognized as a viable option for drug addiction treatment and recovery programs. During the 1960’s, the primary methodology for treating chronic and compulsive drug abuse was methadone and self-help therapies.

During the late 1970’s a group of psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and psychologists assembled and showed a significant interest in demonstrating how psychoanalytic theory could be applied to substance abuse and dependency. Their conviction was that drug addiction was a human process which cried out for psychoanalysis as a method for enabling the individual to overcome their addiction and remain substance-free once they had fully recovered from their dependency.

These professionals were convinced that psychoanalytic theory was the most useful and enabling psychological therapy that could be employed in order to understand the behavior and the mind of the addicted individual which included their addictive behavior. Conversely, they did not invalidate other psychological methods that could be applied to the addiction treatment and recovery process. Instead, they attempted to use psychoanalytic theory to account for certain complexities of human life such as adaptational, developmental, dynamic, economic, and structural elements.

Delray Recovery Center Can Help

Today, psychoanalytic theory plays a significant role in many of the programs offered in the various addiction treatment and recovery centers throughout the US. If you would like more information on how the Delray Recovery Center uses this in their programs, please contact us today so that we can be of further assistance. We are always available to answer your questions and provide further assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.