Psychodynamic Theory

Kathleen Holtz Deal

Abstract


Psychodynamic theory, a theory of personality originated by Sigmund Freud, has a long and complex history within social work and continues to be utilized by social workers. This article traces the theory’s development and explains key concepts with an emphasis on its current relational focus within object relations
theory and self-psychology. Empirical support for theoretical concepts and the effectiveness of psychodynamic therapies is reviewed and critiqued. Future directions are discussed, including addressing cultural considerations, increasing research, and
emphasizing a relational paradigm

Keywords


Psychodynamic theory; empirical support; social work practice

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