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Söka sig vidare i livet: litteratur-, metod- och fallstudier kring människors objektrelationer, existentiella/religiösa orienteringar och sökande av psykoterapi
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
2004 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The focus of this dissertation is a group of individuals applying for psychotherapy. They have attended an office that offers psychodynamic psychotherapy, based on a Christian outlook on mankind. My research questions dealt with why they did apply for psychotherapy and what their goals were. I had planned the study and selected my data collection methods considering three domains of hypothetical reasons for their decisions to apply for psychotherapy. These grounds were their object relations, existential/religious orientations, and psychological problems and goals for the treatment.

The first part of the dissertation is a survey of concepts, theories and former studies in the mentioned domains. Concerning the object-relations I make use of psychoanalytical thinking on the importance of early experiences in relation to parents and other persons but also its application to a “religious relation”, namely to the relation of the individual to her/his socalled God-representation. Concerning the existential/religious orientations I make use of existential-analytical thinking on satisfaction and meaning of life and death as an existential problem. I also make use of research from the psychology of religion on different dimensions of religiosity and its correlations to mental health. In the second part of the dissertation there is an account of my development of methods to be used in data collection. In this part of the book one can also find data from a reference group of people not applying for psychotherapy.

The main part of the dissertation is the third part, describing the data of eight persons applying for psychotherapy. The information, from interviews, projective methods and scales, from each of the study subjects is put together, analysed and interpreted as intensive case studies. Questions in the interview covered religious and existential matters, relations to important persons during childhood and later, the persons’ descriptions of themselves, and the reasons for applying for psychotherapy and their goals for the treatment. Their answers were analysed using a hermeneutic method. The projective methods covered a picture and unfinished sentences. The psychological scales covered religious beliefs and satisfaction and meaning of life and a semantic differential the symbolic meaning of the words Mother, Father and GOD.

According to the results the influence of the object-relations on the decision to apply for psychotherapy was sometimes direct. But on the whole the most obvious reason was the persons’ experiences and descriptions of themselves as filled with conflicting feelings and lack of or difficulties in controlling them. The influence of existential themes was not so obvious and the effects of the religious orientations were sometimes direct and sometimes only indirect. Peoples’ mental problems and goals of the psychotherapy influenced directly their decisions to apply. Most individuals had been in therapy before. There was some difference in the description of goals between those individuals who finished recently and those applying for the first time or long time after an earlier therapy. The latter having more well-defined goals. Theoretically it is possible to classify goals into treatment and life goals, but in real life they often stick together. One important conclusion was that, when the persons experience themselves as filled with contradictory feelings or conflicting strivings and having lack of feelings or difficulties in controlling them, they also experience themselves as responsible to this and as a consequence they also apply for psychotherapy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet. Institutionen för klinisk vetenskap , 2004. , 298 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 873
Keyword [en]
applying for psychotherapy, mental problems, goals, object-relations, selfdescriptions, death, meaning, religiosity, existential/religious orientations
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-247ISBN: 91-7305-586-7OAI: diva2:142804
Public defence
2004-05-24, Psykiatriska Klinikens föreläsningssal A, sv-planet, by 23, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus i Umeå, Umeå, 10:00
Available from: 2004-04-26 Created: 2004-04-26 Last updated: 2010-10-11Bibliographically approved

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