Psychodynamic Frame of Reference (psychodynamic FOR) is based on Dr. Sigmund Freud’s idea that human has the initiative to invest emotions and psychic energy to achieve basic needs and maintain relationship. When an individual fails to maintain healthy relationships due to the conflicts or insufficient ego defense mechanism, dysfunction will occur. Occupational therapists can base this psychodynamic FOR to help treat the dysfunction using two main approaches including explorative and supportive approach. Explorative approach is to bring the conflicts in the unconscious mind to the conscious level, and so potential ways can be found to resolve the conflicts and the feelings can be expressed. On the other hand, supportive approach is to keep the conflicts hidden. It tries to resolve the conflict by strengthening the ego defense mechanism of the clients to prevent the conflicts from going up to the conscious level. Both the explorative and supportive approaches under this psychodynamic FOR aim to help clients satisfy the needs and to enhance healthy and normal psychosocial development. It should be noted that there may not be a clear division between the assessment and intervention by using the two approaches. Therapists can implement the assessment and treatment by selecting activities that provide appropriate level of social interaction, and by using activity analysis to analyze the activities before the implementation. Individual- and group-based activities can be used. However, individual-based activities may be easier to create the client’s active engagement, whereas supportive group-based activities can be further used to provide chances for mutual support, exchanging information, and figuring out the ways to solve the problems together.
- Louise Pang
- Frame of reference
- Psychological disorder
Domain of occupation
This FOR may be more difficult to be applied in severely handicapped clients, and group size at eight to ten people is optimal.
Creek, J. (2014). Approaches to practice. In W. Bryant, J. Fieldhouse, & K. Bannigan (Eds.), Creek's occupational therapy and mental health (5th ed., pp. 50-71). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.