Am I Even Doing Psychotherapy?
Battling Internalized “psychodynamic phobia” in training environments promoting evidenced-based treatments
April 23, 2017
Barbara Goldsmith, PsyD; Valeriya Spektor, PhD; & Elena Cucco, MA
Please note: this brunch is open to graduate students and all mentees and mentors who have participated in the mentorship program. This brunch offers 1 CEU.
It is well-known in many graduate clinical psychology programs that myths about psychodynamic treatment continue to prevail despite evidence to the contrary. Some of the erroneous prevailing myths are that psychodynamic therapies are obsolete and antiquated treatments that are “slow” and based only on insight which does not change behavior or really work.
Faculty and students alike continue to believe that psychodynamic treatment is not supported by empirical research and that it has not changed since Freud, and is a treatment only suitable for rich and healthy clients. Students training in this climate can feel criticized and become defensive and phobic about doing psychodynamic therapy. This discussion will focus on the status of psychodynamic psychotherapy in graduate clinical psychology programs by examining it from three perspectives: training, supervision and teaching.
Learning objectives: After attending this program in full, participants will be able to:
1. Identify the negative messages sent from training and professional environments regarding the value of learning about and doing psychodynamic work that contribute to an internalized psychodynamic phobia in trainees.
2. Describe the actual research supporting psychodynamic psychotherapy.
3. Define ways to navigate and challenge unsupportive training and professional climates and identify activities and network with communities that offer support and guidance in face of negativity regarding psychodynamic work in the field.
Barbara L. Goldsmith, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Philadelphia and Rosemont, PA. She is adjunct associate professor at the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology and is on the faculty of the Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis in Philadelphia. She is a training consultant for the University of Pennsylvania's Counseling and Psychological Services, and was founding president of the Philadelphia Center for Psychoanalytic Education. She is the director of the PSPP Mentorship Program.
Valeriya Spektor, PhD, is a post-doctoral fellow at the Counseling and Psychological Services of the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA and her doctoral internship at U Penn's CAPS. Her professional interests center on psychodynamic therapy, training and supervision, and culturally-informed work. She is the Assistant Director of the PSPP Mentorship program this year and is a past participant of the Division 39 Graduate Scholars Program.
Elena Cucco is a 5th year doctoral candidate in Fairleigh Dickinson University's PhD program in clinical psychology. She is currently training at the Drexel University Counseling Center in Philadelphia, PA where she provides individual and group therapy to a diverse group of graduate and undergraduate students. During her graduate studies, she has been trained in assessment and therapy roles with forensic, inpatient, community mental healthcare, and college counseling center populations.