Treatment offered by the psychodynamic approach is known as psychotherapy and the three main treatments are: dream analysis, free association and transference.

Dream Analysis

This is based on the idea that the unconsciousĀ is revealed in dreams.

  • The patient would tell the therapist about their dreams and the therapist would then interpret the meaning behind the dreams.
  • Weakness- the dreams could beĀ misinterpreted by the therapist.
  • Weakness- we do not remember all our dreams so they can’t all be analysed.

Free Association

This is where the patient is encouraged to “let their mind wander” and just say whatever comes into their head.

  • The therapist faces away from the client and will not take notes during the session in order to make the client feel comfortable.
  • Once the client feels comfortable they will reveal underlying conflicts.
  • The therapist will look for patterns of association and interpret them.
  • Weakness- people may lie or their memory may be inaccurate.


Where the therapist will stand in for an important person in the patient’s life.

  • The patient is then able to project their feelings about this person onto the therapist without harming the real person.
  • The therapist must be neutral and cannot allow their thoughts or emotions to be shown.

Overall Evaluation

  • The therapy is only as good as the therapist.
  • Weakness- the therapies have no scientific evidence and are expensive and time consuming.
  • Weakness- the therapies will only deal with neuroses (depression, phobias, OCD, eating disorders) and will not deal with psychoses (schizophrenia, manic depression).
  • Strength- before Freud treatment was barbaric.
  • Strength- these therapies were the forerunner of counselling which is widely used today.