Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Valandra

Abstract

The goal of this research study is to provide knowledge of therapists’ perspectives of the effects of psychodynamic psychotherapy on problem-drinking behavior. Understanding the effects of psychodynamic psychotherapy on problem-drinking behavior increases clinical social workers’ success in facilitating long-term change for clients with problem-drinking behavior. This study gathered qualitative information using a twelve-question interview with six psychodynamic psychotherapists. The results were compared with a literature review of the effects of psychodynamic psychotherapy on problem-drinking behavior. Three main themes emerged from this study. First, through the development of transference, the psychodynamic therapeutic relationship helps problem drinkers work toward resolving the internal conflicts underlying their problem-drinking behavior. The second theme that became apparent is the importance of using psychodynamic therapeutic skills to build clients’ ego strength, which facilitates transformation. The third theme identified is how consistent and responsive psychodynamic interaction leads to more positive, authentic relationships with others. The implications of this study suggest that by providing psychodynamic psychotherapy, social work clinicians can facilitate long-lasting change in problem-drinking behavior through the development of transference, the building of ego strength, and increasing the ability to form positive relationships. Further implications for social work clinicians indicate psychodynamic psychotherapy can provide a framework for intervention for clients with problem-drinking behavior, along with other forms of behavioral therapy.

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