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Chapter 11 - Psychodynamic Approaches to Anxiety

from Applications of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with Accompanying Case Study Description for Each Presentation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 August 2023

Adam Polnay
The State Hospital, Carstairs and Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh
Victoria Barker
East London NHS Foundation Trust, London
David Bell
British Psychoanalytic Society
Allan Beveridge
Royal College of Psychiatrists, London
Adam Burley
Rivers Centre, Edinburgh
Allyson Lumsden
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
C. Susan Mizen
Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter
Lauren Wilson
Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh
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A psychodynamic approach to anxiety is not disorder specific; anxiety can and usually is present to varying degrees in all patients that are seen for psychodynamic psychotherapy. This chapter aims to shed some light on some psychodynamic approaches to thinking about anxieties. Using theory and clinical examples we think about how difficulties in containing processes between caregiver and infant early in the infant’s life may predispose to the persistence of archaic anxieties. We go on to explore the nature of separation and loss in relation to anxiety and finally, we reflect on how internal conflict and the role of a critical internal object can bring about anxiety. The clinical examples illustrate how wider variation in anxieties may present in therapy and the last section focuses on how the therapist may experience and respond to these different anxieties.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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